Are You Really Calling Your Local Door Company?
Garage Door Services Co. was recently featured in an article in Door + Access Systems Magazine. In the article, it was named the WORST garage door company in the nation! How can a company with such a bad reputation operate and still be successful? Not only do they operate here in Cincinnati, but also in other cities here in Ohio; with dozens of names, websites and phone numbers meant to confuse and trick the customer into calling their company. Local businesses are fed up and have had enough! Garage Door Services not only copies the name of local companies (changing the name ever so slightly), but then they outbid local, reputable companies for valuable space in advertising, which drives up prices, making it harder for local companies to compete for advertising space. GDS Garage Door Services Co: The Worst Garage Door Company in the Nation. (Fall 2015). Retrieved from: www.dasma.com/articles/feature/GDS-The%20Worst_Fall2015.pdf
Who is GDS, Garage Door Services Co.? They are in 34 markets nationwide, located in 14 States. In these markets they go by dozens of names with dozens of websites and phone numbers. Their estimated earnings for 2015 is $75 million. They often bill themselves as the largest garage door service provider in the country.
Let’s highlight various tactics of deception that this company will go through to get customers to call their business instead of one like Budget Door. In California, for example, Garage Door Services had their license suspended but they still operated while under suspension. They come up with new phone numbers, names, and webpages. They also “borrow” names of other local and reputable companies in order to confuse the customer into using their company, using well know names like Overhead Door. Changing the name ever so slightly makes their name look just like a trusted company that a customer might be more likely to use. GDS has over 374 registered domain names and over 374 websites and alternative names.
How do you spot if you have called this company? If you hear the message, your call may be recorded, they quickly say the name Garage Door Services or they ask for you zip. When they use a name similar to the name you are used to, you may ask if they are the company you have used in the past, they will often tell you that they bought that company but in all reality they are just using a name that is similar.
The practices of Garage Door Services Co have been exposed by the media multiple times:
2002: Dateline NBC
2014: Dallas Morning News
2015: WBTN, South Carolina
2015: News Team 4, San Diego, CA
2015: Fox 28, Columbus, OH
In 2002, “Dateline NBC” exposed the Dallas branch on national TV. “They vastly overcharged our homeowners three out of four times.” “We heard the manager tell his repairmen, quote, ‘Work those tickets so they stay high.’” GDS Garage Door Services: The Worst Garage Door Company in the Nation. (Fall 2015).
In December 2014, The Dallas Morning News exposed their practice of price gouging and charging customers for parts that didn’t need replaced. That article highlighted the story of Mason Miller. They charged Miller $1700 for a job that should have costed less than $100. All Miller needed was “help programming the garage door opener built into his car.” GDS talked Miller into buying new springs, a new motor adjustment, new rollers and a new center bearing plate with new bearings. Watchdog: Garage Door Repair Company Overcharges Elderly. (2014, December 06). Retrieved from www.dallasnews.com/investigations/watchdog/20141206-watchdog-garage-door-repair-company-overcharges-elderly.ece
In April 2015, WBTN in South Carolina exposed GDS in a hidden camera probe. The WBTV simply removed one of the wires from the opener. Four minutes after the GDS tech arrived, he had a diagnosis. He told the undercover customer that they needed a new opener which would cost $451 and another $200 for labor. When the tech was confronted he denied any wrong doing. Investigates” Hidden Camera Watches Repairman at Work. (2015, April). Retrieved from www.wbtv.com/story/25392337/wbtv-investigates-hidden-camera-watches-repairman-at-work
In May of 2015 News team 4 in San Diego also did a hidden camera prob of GDS. They purposefully tilted down one of the photo eyes. Three local companies came out and diagnosed the problem right away and only charged for a service call. A fourth company diagnosed it from the phone and instructed them on how to fix it saving the team from the charge of a service call. The fifth company was GDS. Their tech stated that the eyes would need to be replaced for $116, that the door also needs new springs and rollers, the total is now $615, and if that didn’t work then they would need to replace the motor which would bring the total up to $1,226. $1,226 for a job that could be fixed over the phone or with a simple service call. That tech also denied any wrong doing and promptly left. Investigation Garage Door Repair Gamble. (2015, May). Retrieved from news4sanantonio.com/m/news/features/top-stories/stories/Investigation-Garage-Door-Repair-Gamble-132008shtml#.VhQa92sYOsQ
One of the last investigations I would like to highlight is the one done right here in Ohio. In May 2015 Fox 28 of Columbus did a hidden camera prob featuring none other than GDS. Fox 28 Created minor problems with the door then call out different affiliates of GDS to three different locations. The first location the tech told the home owner that the door needed new rollers and the motor needed worked on. The only thing the tech really inspected during this time was his IPhone and the door sensor that the investigation team unhooked, which was never mentioned to the home owner. The total for this techs inspection was $564. The second call was just a loose bolt on the stabilizing arm. The tech told the home owner that needed new rollers and a tune-up. Second techs total was $150. The third sting house Fox 28 knocked a sensor out of position. The tech noticed this but never told the home owner, instead he told the home owner that they needed a new motherboard and new springs total $450. Throughout all of the investigations a picture is becoming clear. GDS will charge you for parts that don’t need replaced and try to drive up the bill by any means necessary. Hidden Camera Investigation: Garage Door Techs Called Out. (2015, May). Retrieved from www.myfox28columbus.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/Hidden-Camera-Investigation-Garage-Door-Techs-Called-Out-134206.shtml#.VhQbc2sYOsQ
GDS, Garage Door Services Co. is not accredited by the BBB (Better Business Bureau). They currently have an F rating, with 350 complaints as of October 5, 2015. The BBB has even released a statement regarding GDS. “Consumer complaints allege deceptive service and repair tactics. Consumer complaints allege hiring the company to service their garage doors; however upon the technicians’ arrival, consumers are informed they are in need of costly repairs. Consumer complaints allege the company misdiagnoses the need for repairs in order to increase their sale. Some customer complaints also allege deceptive billing practices. Consumer complaints allege the company does not honor estimated quotes and prices are greatly inflated. The BBB attempted to contact the company regarding this pattern but the company did not respond.” BBB GDS Garage Door Services Co. Retrieved from www.bbb.org/sdoc/business-reviews/garage-doors-and-openers/global-development-strategies-inc-in-san-diego-ca-1063868
The company also has numerous negative many yelp and google reviews. To combat these reviews, the company offers compensation for their employees to give a positive review of the company, “padding” the review average. Every review and complaint tells a story of the company over charging and gauging its customers. The company has also been reported numerous times to Elderly Services for elder fraud. Like the case from June 2, 2015; a 90-year-old woman in the San Diego area was charged $4,274.47, which is double the cost of a high end door and opener, for a hardware overhaul and a new opener. In another situation on May 15, 2015 a 79-year-old man in San Marcos, CA was charged $2595.16 for a screw drive opener, screw rail, three button station, remote, service of the new opener, motor service, garage door motor and accessories installation, remote/keypad reprogramming, emergency diagnostic and safety inspection, lifetime parts warranty (which isn’t really a warranty, they charge you every time they come out), door balance and removal and disposal.
Their advertising practices are also aggressive and dishonest. They spend millions of dollars advertising on Google forcing their affiliate locations to be at the top of the list and bumping off the local companies from the search results. They also advertised on Groupon and Valupak mainly under the name Jimmy’s Garage Door. Because they have such a large budget they often out bid and over take the local advertising market, like through Google or Yellow Pages. They will often lure in customer with a wonderful offer in Groupon or Valupak, like a $39 service call or $200 off a new door. Don’t be fooled by their cheap discounts because they will often add on additional charges to drive the bill up higher.
Budget Door of Cincinnati encourages their clients to use local and reputable companies to avoid getting scammed and losing their hard-earned money. Always do research - check out the company online and call to get information. Get all estimates should in writing! Most reputable companies will do free estimates for any installation, it is only when you agree and sign a contract that you will pay the bill. Talk to your friends and family for recommendations of companies they have used in the past.
Remember - repairs should cost no more than a few hundred dollars (average spring change cost $154.87/single $208.62/double). Be aware as a consumer and don’t let disreputable companies into your home. Don’t waste your hard-earned time and money!
Budget Door of Cincinnati is accredited by the BBB as well as a member of the NFIB and IDA. Budget Door was established in 1988 on the principle of being an honest and affordable company to work with. Budget Door is licensed, bonded and insured to work in the state of Ohio. Visit our website www.budgetdoorofcincinnati.com.
BBB GDS Garage Door Services Co. http://www.bbb.org/sdoc/business-reviews/garage-doors-and-openers/global-development-strategies-inc-in-san-diego-ca-1063868
Dallas Morning News, Watchdog: Garage Door Repair Company Overcharges Elderly, http://www.dallasnews.com/investigations/watchdog/20141206-watchdog-garage-door-repair-company-overcharges-elderly.ece
Door + Access System Magazine, GDS Garage Door Services Co The Worst Garage Door Company in the Nation http://www.dasma.com/articles/feature/GDS-The%20Worst_Fall2015.pdf
GDS Garage Door Services Co, www.garagedoorservice.com
WBTV2 Investigates: Hidden Camera Watches Repairman At Work, http://www.wbtv.com/story/25392337/wbtv-investigates-hidden-camera-watches-repairman-at-work
WOAI News 4: Garage Door Repair Gamble, http://news4sanantonio.com/m/news/features/top-stories/stories/Investigation-Garage-Door-Repair-Gamble-132008.shtml#.VhQa92sYOsQ
WTTE Fox 28: Hidden Camera Investigation: Garage Door Techs Called Out, http://www.myfox28columbus.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/Hidden-Camera-Investigation-Garage-Door-Techs-Called-Out-134206.shtml#.VhQbc2sYOsQ
Yelp GDS Garage Door Services Co. http://www.yelp.com/biz/garage-door-service-company-san-diego-2