Too Good to Be True? These Are the Most Common Garage Door Scams

May is Garage Door Safety Month, and one of the most important things for consumers to remember is that not all garage door installers are legitimate. You may not expect to encounter scammers during routine garage door maintenance or while planning to upgrade your garage door, but like any industry supporting homeowners with urgent repairs or necessary, expensive maintenance, it's an unfortunate reality. The International Door Association (IDA) takes steps to help homeowners combat scams and find qualified installers. We spoke with them to learn more about the most common scams.

They shared that the most common scams consumers encounter are the following:

  • The "You Need a New Door" Rebuild Package Scam: This is when a garage door repair company evaluates your garage door for a repair, and determines that the entire door need to be replaced. Not only do they falsely report that everything needs to be replaced due to an issue with the torsion springs, rollers, cables, or bearing brackets, but you might notice that they'll mark up the estimate significantly and include “installation charges.” If someone's quoting you an entirely new door when all you think you need is a hardware overhaul, get a second opinion.

  • The Lifetime Guarantee Scam: Some garage door repair scams call for the use of new parts, but technicians will knowingly install cheap parts, ensuring they will be called back for more repairs. Though the part has a guarantee (and that's good for the homeowner), the labor and installation fee is not free and the repairs often become costly due to repeated visits. A reputable company will use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) garage door components to make durable repairs — and yes, there is usually still a warranty.

  • Unidentified Technician Scam: Some disreputable companies subcontract the garage door services to an independent contractor after leading the homeowner to believe that in-house, licensed teams will be completing the job. This comes at the risk of the subcontractor having no license, limited knowledge of garage door systems, no tracked history of the job, and no way to get in touch if something goes wrong.

  • 'Claim to Be' Scam: In some instances, unaffiliated individuals will claim to be part of a garage door company. These are actually fake companies using another reliable company's garage door business name to get customers.

Related: Protect Yourself Against These Air Duct Cleaning Scams

How to Avoid Scams

"[IDA] prides itself on garage door safety, ensuring your garage door works properly, but also that you are being served by a qualified professional. Through IDA’s Find a Dealer resource, consumers can search for qualified installers in their area knowing they are reaching out through a source that only hosts legitimate installers – reassuring customers of both quality and trust.”

Here are some tips from IDA to avoid getting scammed this Garage Door Safety Month:

  1. Make sure companies you are finding on the web stay consistent. Any garage door repair service or installer should be listed using a specific company name, physical address, and phone number. These details should be consistent across all websites and service platforms. Scammers often use multiple or ambiguous business names, rarely have a physical or email address, and likely don’t have a company phone number. For certainty and peace of mind when looking for contacts in the garage door industry, use IDA’s Find An Installer tool.

  2. Check the initial price quote. When the price is too good to be true – it probably is. Many scams will lowball the estimate for potential customers but add extra charges later for the service. One way to avoid this is to contact multiple installers. Do research on the one you are planning to work (including looking for legitimate customer reviews) to ensure a fair quote from an established and reputable door dealer.

  3. Know who to expect on the day of the job. Some garage door repair scams rely on a ‘bait and switch’ tactic. You may expect to see the company you contact, but learn day-of that the repair is being done by an independent subcontractor. When you reach out to a dealer, ask for details on who will be completing the work. On the day of repairs, look for identifying markings and credentials: a business card and a company vehicle add credibility.

Related: How to Insulate Your Garage Door With Weather Stripping