Have you ever heard of a “Bad Bob”? This is a term that’s becoming more and more common in the industry as it refers to disreputable garage door companies who engage in shady practices. These scammers are a national problem that many garage door organizations, like the International Door Association (IDA), make continuous efforts to counter.
IDA and other reputable industry experts raise public awareness surrounding the existence of Bad Bobs and provide guidance on how to spot and avoid these disreputable companies. In an effort to help you better understand what a garage door scam looks like, we’ll be taking this opportunity to illustrate the misleading tactics commonly used by Bad Bobs and share some insight on what you can do to stay vigilant.
Signs You Are Dealing With a Bad Bob
#1: Surprisingly Low Service Costs.
A Bad Bob’s business model is to deceive the consumer by overcharging and performing unnecessary repairs, but these high dollar signs won’t usually come to you right away. A common ploy among shady garage door companies is to offer an exceedingly low service charge. They use this attractive price tag to lure you in, only to then overcharge you.
#2: Refusal to Provide a Phone Estimate.
Here at Omaha Door & Window, we’ll happily provide an estimate over the phone and will stand by that quote, whereas Bad Bobs will not. Refusing to give an estimate over the phone is another way for a scammer to maneuver their way into your home just to try to convince you your garage door system needs more work than it does.
#3: Claims of Motor Issues Without In-Person Assessment.
There are some occasions where scammers will provide a quote over the phone, but in those instances, they’ll more often than not attribute the issues to your door’s motor. Problems with the motor is the one area that is nearly impossible to diagnose over the phone; one must examine the motor in-person to properly evaluate its condition. Bad Bobs love to blame any and all door malfunctions on the motor because it can result in a much more costly repair or replacement than a broken spring or roller would.
#4: Questionable Location.
Any reputable company wants to be known to its customers. That’s why we at Omaha Door & Window, and other honest garage door companies like us, share our location and encourage customers to come by our showroom to speak to us and see our products in-person. When asked where they are located, Bad Bobs will often refuse to disclose their address, offer a cryptic explanation for why their facilities are not open to the public, or even provide a misleading address like a PO Box or shopping mall. Bad Bobs do not want you to know where to find them because if you had their address, you could track them down after they scam you, which would disrupt their operation.
#5: Withholding of Company Name.
When answering the phone, scammers will often use a generic greeting, such as “door service,” instead of the company name, which is a tactic to hide their identity. This may also indicate that your call has been routed through a call center, meaning you could get placed with any number of Bad Bob companies located in your area. Be alert for any company that refuses to tell you who they are or claims to have recently acquired the company you were trying to get in touch with in the first place.
#6: Unbelievable Positives.
If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Bad Bobs aim to deceive potential customers in any way possible, starting with their online reviews and carrying through to long-term promises that they do not intend to keep. If a company has a sudden influx of a mass amount of unbelievable online reviews, it should be a red flag. Promises of a lifetime warranty could also be a warning sign in some instances because Bad Bobs have been known to slightly change their company name every year or so, which allows them to get out of having to honor the lifetime warranty. Always be wary of companies that overpromise.
Tips for Selecting a Pro You Can Trust
#1: Check Credentials.
Look at a company’s credentials to see if they’re affiliated with reputable industry associations, such as the IDA. Involvement with these types of organizations shows a commitment to adhering to best practices and standards. Also check their reputation through the local Chamber of Commerce and take a close look at online reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook, taking care to assess for legitimacy as you go.
#2: Ask About Commission.
When garage door technicians work off commission, they have the extra incentive to upsell you on garage door parts and services you do not need. There are plenty garage door companies, such as Omaha Door & Window Company, who do not work off of commission, so do not believe a company if they say this is an industry standard.
#3: Seek Multiple Quotes.
This is important for all garage door needs, but especially emergency services. Consumers in need of emergency services are a major target of garage door scammers because they are more likely to go with the first company who can quickly provide a solution to the issue. Bad Bobs know this and use it to their advantage when quoting the emergency service costs, so it’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion. Speaking with multiple companies can help you determine which business will treat you fairly and honestly.
#4: Trust Your Gut.
When interacting with their staff, do they seem like they have your best interest in mind? Are they openly and verifiably providing you with their company information? Are they asking you questions and providing you with advice that comes from a place of expertise (and doesn’t necessarily benefit their wallet)? If anything seems off to you, trust your instincts and look elsewhere.
At the end of the day, you should never hesitate to research different companies in your area to learn more about how they operate and whether or not they are qualified to take on your job. Each garage door company operates differently, so the trick is to educate yourself on their practices until you find the company you trust to do right by you.
Throughout our decades as a company, our mission has remained to provide customers with quality products, expert service, and a positive experience. We would not have been voted Best of Omaha for 14 consecutive years if we weren’t honest! We do not believe in upselling you anything you do not need and proudly stand behind that by offering credit for half of your service call charge towards the purchase of a new door or operator if (and only if) a replacement is truly needed. If you have any questions about our services or Bad Bobs, contact Omaha Door & Window today. You can also visit our website to learn more about Bad Bobs and to watch IDA’s educational videos.