OKLAHOMA CITY - A 91-year-old man says a garage door repair company has overcharged him for shoddy repairs.
A power surge took out 91-year-old Chester’s microwave, coffee pot, and garage door opener.
His granddaughter Tracy was concerned.
“There's just people out there who prey on the elderly,” she said.
Instead of relying on her for help, Chester responded to a newspaper ad for garage door repairs.
The number was local, but the company, Neighborhood Garage Door Services, was not.
“I said, ‘So how much did you spend?’ ‘$1,400.’ I said, ‘You're joking right?’”
Chester said in his condition, he didn’t feel like arguing with anybody. His $1,400 payment got him a new garage door opener, and new springs.
Veteran garage door repairman Jeff Gabelsberg of Garage Door Solutions is local and says he doesn’t believe there was any reason to replace the springs.
He says Neighborhood Garage Door charged Chester way too much, nearly double the amount he would have billed.
He added, “Some of these companies that use these tactics, the technicians that come out, they work off commission, so the higher the invoice, the more they're going to make.”
Loads of customers online claim they too were grossly overcharged.
We traced Neighborhood Garage Door Services to Dallas, where the same company had been operating under the name Garage Door Services, or GDS.
Actually, they have the same set-up in dozens of cities, using similar-sounding names and websites that all appear to funnel back to a Dallas area call center.
News 4 left message after message for management.
Last year, an investigative team from a news station in LA confronted one of the managers outside of his home.
“I don't have a whole lot of comment for you guys right now,” manager Jason Romaszewski told KNBC’s Randy Mac. “I don't have a whole lot of answers for you right now, sir.”
Customers across the country are demanding answers and demanding a refund.
California homeowner, Leon Swails, says he was charged five times more for his repairs.
“Doors were failing, doors were dangerous,” he said. “He gave me all kinds of reasons why he had done the work.”
A flood of complaints prompted California's Attorney General to ban GDS from doing business in California for five years, so if they are still operating there, they're doing it illegally.
Back here in Oklahoma, Tracy immediately put a stop payment on her granddad's check, then she invited a reputable repairman to re-do the shoddy work.
“When I got here, there were wires going across the ceiling,” Gabelsberg told the In Your Corner team.
He says he discovered the installation was poorly done and dangerous because Neighborhood Garage Door Services used an extension cord to power the opener instead of hardwiring it in.
Tracy has called Neighborhood Garage Door Service to come get their equipment, but she never heard back.
“It does make me nervous, because I don't want them to threaten him, bothering him,” she said. “He's 91.”
Our repeated calls were not returned either. In fact, someone from the company, hung up on us, twice.
The In Your Corner bottom line: This industry is unregulated.
If you're going online, carefully check out reviews, ask lots of questions, and go with a local referral from someone who has first-hand knowledge and experience with the company.