You've probably heard about scams like the Nigerian Princess, Overseas Inheritance, and Ebay money order cons, because they're obvious to many people and have been well documented in the news. What you might not know is that there are rip-off artists aplenty when it comes to garage doors as well, and you might be at risk of throwing your money away when you call for a repair. All the wonderful companies in your area want your business and want you to know how to avoid the scams run by those few bad apples.
Deal with Local Companies
Local companies have a lot more to lose from someone calling the Better Business Bureau on them. Losing their local reputation can cost them big time on business opportunities, so they are more likely to give you a fair shake, and you're more likely to be able to get a hold of them after the repair is done, should you need to make good on any service warranties. Some companies located far away are not companies at all, but are scam artists.
Ask for an Estimate
You might not know what a new set of springs runs in your area, but your garage door repair company should. If you call for an estimate with a specific job in mind and they cannot give you a ballpark figure over the phone they might be getting ready to charge you an expensive service fee and give you an astronomical quote for simple repairs.
All you'll need in order to get a reasonable estimate from a reputable company is the size of your door, and what material was used to make it. Measure from top to bottom and side to side, and write down the measurements and what the door is made of, to the best of your knowledge. If the company you call can't give you a rough estimate with that information, hang up and call someone else.
Avoid "Lifetime Springs" Like the Plague
If your door won't open at all, or opens a little and then stops, chances are you've got a broken spring. It might be tempting to install springs that will never trap your car in your garage while you're running late on a freezing morning, but the cold hard fact of garage door springs is that none of them will ever last a lifetime. Springs are parts that, by their very nature, wear out over time. While some springs are rated for longer use than others, none can last forever.
You might find the idea of doing this job yourself to save the whole risk of a scam enticing, but it isn't recommended for inexperienced spring installers to undertake such a task. Installing new garage door springs puts them under pressure, and springs under pressure can be unpredictable and dangerous. Don't be too afraid of scams to call in a qualified professional.
Be Wary of Upsells
Ask your garage door repairman to explain why he or she is making their repair recommendations. For example, garage door scam artists often recommend all the rollers on your garage door be replaced when one breaks, but industry standard recommendations suggest only the broken one needs to be replaced. If you can't see the supposed damage described by the repairman, call for a second opinion before scheduling the work to be done.
Most garage door repair companies are reputable, upstanding businesses. Being a responsible consumer, and doing your part to understand recommended repairs and possible scams can help prevent you falling victim to the few shysters in the bunch. Don't waste your resources on shady businesses that overcharge, make sure to hire the right person for the job!