When you think of fraud, you probably imagine identity theft or hackers. Unfortunately, many scams still occur offline, and one type you may not know of is garage door scams. While most people in the garage door industry are honest, some of them aren’t.
Scammers prey on people’s desire to take care of garage door problems quickly. Having a broken garage door is a hassle, and homeowners understandably want to clear up the issue as soon as possible. Garage door repair scams try to trick the homeowner into paying for services they don’t receive or the technician can’t perform.
How can you tell when someone is trying to scam you? What telltale signs of a scam should you watch out for? Keep an eye out for these common garage door scams.
The Rebuild Package Scam
Asking people to overpay for something or making promises that aren’t delivered on are both common scams in any industry. In the garage door business, rebuild package scams occur when a repair company says you need a “hardware overhaul,” which involves replacing everything from your torsion springs to the bearing brackets.
In reality, nothing is wrong with your equipment — most garage door hardware lasts 10 to 15 years. However, you might not initially realize that. You will get a rude awakening when you receive the bill because dishonest technicians mark up the hardware and the installation costs. Then, you pay an arm and a leg for new hardware you don’t need.
The Lifetime Guarantee Scam
When you hear someone talk about a lifetime guarantee, you probably think you’re set for as long as you own your house. However, that’s rarely the case. A lifetime guarantee often covers parts but not labor. Your technician can charge an exorbitant fee for labor for the simplest task, such as changing a light bulb.
By installing cheap parts, the technician ensures your hardware will break down. Then, you’ll call them to fix it again, enabling them to charge an astronomical labor fee. The cycle repeats when the broken hardware is replaced with another shoddy item, setting you up to need more help shortly down the road. If you consider a lifetime guarantee, ask the technician several essential questions:
- What does the guarantee cover?
- Can you walk me through the contract?
- What brands do you source your parts from?
Your contract only guarantees coverage for the hardware it mentions. Even if you speak to a technician about adding extra coverage, it will only apply if it’s in the contract.
The Unidentified Technician Scam
You only want experienced, certified professionals working on your garage door. While a company may present the impression that its technicians know what they’re doing, they can pull a last-minute switcheroo by contracting the work to a subcontractor. The person may not live up to the high standards set by a legitimate business.
The company you contracted with will pay the subcontractor a low rate, and the original technicians will have no investment in the outcome because you are not their customer. They aren’t counting on you using their services again for a job well done. You have no way of knowing if the person who comes to your door is certified or what their garage door repair history looks like. You also have no one to call if the repair is mishandled. Here are some things to look for to avoid this situation:
- The technician arrives in an unmarked car.
- The technician avoids introducing themselves or saying who they work for.
- The technician shows no signs of direct employment by the company you contracted with.
How to Avoid Garage Door Repair Scams
When you know what to look for, you can avoid garage door repair scams. Here are some questions to ask during the vetting process:
- How do you identify your company?
- What company am I speaking with?
- Can you provide me your business’s address?
- Do you have any recent customers I could talk to about your services?
If you are not satisfied with the answers you receive, play it safe and avoid hiring the contractor. Always trust your gut. If something seems fishy or “off” with the company, it’s better to err on the side of caution than get caught up in a scam.
Instead of relying on a business with shady practices, ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations for garage door repair companies they have used and liked. Getting a testimonial from a trusted source is always better than trying a company you aren’t sure about.
How to Report Garage Door Scams
If a suspected garage door scammer has approached you, or you have fallen victim to a scam, you can report it. Contact the International Door Association (IDA) by emailing [email protected] You can explain the details and include any documentation from your case. The organization may follow up with you for more information.
Scammers may also face criminal charges depending on what they did. You can contact your local police station to report the interaction. At the least, the police may warn others in the neighborhood that a suspicious person is making false claims.
Other Garage Door Safety Resources
- Garage Break-In Prevention Tips
- Garage Maintenance Checklist
- Garage Safety Tips for Kids
- Importance of a Certified Garage Door Technician
Enjoy Quality Garage Door Service With AAA Garage Door
For reputable garage door repairs, contact AAA Garage Door. We have provided many people in the Fremont, Nebraska, area with dependable service at affordable prices.