Back in 2013 I wrote about an experience I had with a dishonest garage door repair company. That post is the most popular on my little blog. Garage door repair scams are a surprisingly popular topic. Last week, “The Watchdog” – Dave Lieber with the Dallas Morning News – wrote an interesting update on the same company I had dealt with. Lieber has been writing about this company for over a decade! Here’s what you’ll learn – about the scam, my experience, five tips to avoid being scammed…
About the Scam
Garage Door Services (GDS), based nearby in Carrolton, Texas, used over 500 websites in major cities across the United States to attract customers. I was ripped off by one of those business entities, Dallas Overhead Doors, back in 2013. According to Lieber, GDS setup websites that used similar names of reputable companies and then paid for Google ads to dominate the market in a region. Lieber wrote, “It’s almost impossible not to find a GDS company with an internet search because it has spent millions of dollars over the years buying search terms you’d type to find a repair company.”
Getting ticked off yet?
In October 2017, Dallas Morning New reporter Marina Trahan Martinez received a list of the top 500 website domains associated with GDS. (You can view the list here.) This information finally got the attention of Google. The search engine began the process of banning the company and all of the identities being used. This was BIG news and the leading publication in the industry wrote a detailed article about it.
GDS still exists today and will most likely find a way to continue wreaking havoc in the industry.
My experience with Dallas Overhead Doors was typical of a company associated with GDS. When I called to make an appointment, my call went to a noisy national call center. (Red flag #1) Even though I knew the dimensions and type of door, the operator would not provide a ballpark quote for repairs over the phone. (Red flag #2) The tech arrived in an unmarked repair truck. (Red flag #3) The lowest repair quote for springs only was $443, anything over $250 is too much. (Red flag #4) A quote was given for “lifetime” springs, the oldest con in the book. (Red flag #5 – and the final straw for me.)
I sent the technician on his way after a bit of arguing to get the service call fee dropped to the $50 that the operator had quoted me.
Sadly, Dallas Overhead Doors was most likely one of the spoof names employed by GDS. It is on the list of domain names and there is a reputable repair business named Overhead Door Company of Dallas.
5 Tips to Avoid Being Scammed
Ask a friend or neighbor – You’re bound to find someone you know who has a great repair company. Make sure to get the contact info for the company directly from your friend since GDS is still actively spoofing the identity of reputable businesses.
If you’re in the DFW area, I use Door Works. Our builder used Door Works 10 years ago when our house was built. The same tech who installed our door has come back twice, about every 4-5 years, to replace a broken spring. I don’t get paid a dime by Door Works and the fact that a repair company can keep a tech for 10+ years says a lot.
Use a local business – If you get transferred to a national call center when setting up a repair, hang up.
Know your door – A reputable company will give you a ballpark quote for the repair if you know the dimensions of your door, what it is made of, and what is broken.
Lifetime springs? – Ask the operator if they offer lifetime springs. If the answer is ‘yes’ hang up.
Know your costs – Springs on most doors cost around $250 installed, rollers run around $80, and pulleys range between $40 and $50.
Lieber has some more great advice in his article….there is also video and links to previous articles.