Monday, 22 May 2017

Getting ripped off by a garage door company                                    
There are some reputable garage door companies in Ontario and in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  There are also many disreputable garage door companies in the GTA. Disreputable companies claim to represent themselves as reputable companies, and then they defraud the consumers with wildly exaggerated costs or add additional costs they didn’t tell theie customers about in their initial calls for the work they did or didn’t do professionally.

One of the most exasperating experiences we have in life is being ripped off by dishonest people who have no scruples. They tell us one thing and do something else. They neglect to tell us what we need to know before we do business with them. In this article, I am going to tell you about one of these sleazy garage door companies. 

On May 4, 2017, I phoned a garage door company in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario called Prestige Garage Doors. It is located at 1510 Birchmount Road in Scarborough, a district of Toronto.  Its phone number is 416-208-6111. I told the man who answered the phone that I lost my hand-held remote that opens my garage door from outside the garage. He told me that he would send someone to my home and then he asked me for my address. I gave it to him and I asked him as to how soon someone from his firm would come to my home. He told me that his employee would be at my home in about twenty minutes. I was pleased with that answer because I thought that I might have to wait a day or so. The man also told me that there would be a $95.00 service charge.  I also knew that I would also have to pay for the control remote and the taxes.

His man arrived at my home shortly thereafter and he gave me a new hand-held remote—one that will open any garage door that I have installed. I was pleased with the new hand-held remote. He gave me the bill and I paid for it with my bank card.  After he left, I looked at the bill. 

He had charged me $75.00 as an emergency fee. When I first spoke to the man on the phone, he told me that there would only be a service call fee of $95.00. He said nothing about an emergency fee of $75.00. If my garage door was closed and I couldn’t get it open, that would be an emergency. What I needed was only a control remote. That wasn’t an emergency. He cheated me out of $75.00 plus 13% tax.                                    

He charged me $302.94. If he hadn’t improperly charged me with the emergency fee and had’t overcharged me with the HST tax, my final bill would have been only ($193 plus $33.54. which comes to $226.54. This means that he cheated me by as much as $76.40.

I should have looked at the bill before I paid for the service and the remote. That was my stupidity.

I called the firm and spoke to a man and complained that I should not have been charged the $75.00. He told me that he would have to see the bill first and that the man who came to my home wasn’t back yet. He then said that he would call me that night at seven. He didn’t call me that night as he promised. The next day I asked for the manager and was told that he would be in between 3 and 5. I called at 4:30 and no one answered the phone.

I called on May 6th and was told that the owner of the firm was out of town and would be there for two weeks. He also told me that I could phone him on May 8th. I thought that odd considering that he is supposed to be out of town for two weeks. He never called me back.

I subsequently mailed a letter to 1519 Birchmount Road in Scarborough. It was returned by the post office stating that I need the Unit number.  That unit number wasn’t on the bill. The postal code on the bill is MIP 266 but the postal code for the phone number is MIC 4K2. This means the shop is at a different location than the firm’s phone is.

On the 20th of May 2017, I tried to get that firm’s mailing address so I could mail a letter to the manager of the firm. I called 416-208-611 and left a message. A man called back and I asked him for the address of the firm I had been dealing with. Are you ready for this? He said that the address of Prestige Garage Doors is not available to the public.  He said that he would call me back. He didn’t call me back. Am I surprised? No I am not. This means that if they ruin your door while trying to fix it, you can’t sue them because you don’t have their address. Any company that refuses to disclose their address is a sleaze company that you should never deal with.

There are lessons to be learned about these kinds of rip offs by sleazy companies.  They are;

First:  Go to your computer and search for reviews about the firm you choose to use.

I made the mistake of not doing this.  I later learned that there were eight complaints filed against Prestige Garage Doors with the Better Business Bureau and another complaint stating that Prestige didn’t respond to the customer’s complaint. There might have been many more complaints that simply weren’t forwarded onto the Better Business Bureau. Here is one I found in the internet. 

Do not call or use this company, They charged $ 4,000 for a door opener repair, $ 800 for a $ 220 motor ; $ 650 for $ 200 spring ; $ 225 / hr labour, don't use them, get a written quote from some one else there are companies who will come a give you a free quote but not these guys, They didn't even connect to the power, but used my extension cord and dangled it to a wall outlet. Don't use them.

Second: When you call, ask if there is going to be an emergency fee.

Third: Ask the employee that arrives at your home is there is going to be an emergency fee.

Fourth: Have the person from the firm give you a work order as to what he is going to do and what the costs for the work is going to be before he begins.

Fifth: Look at the bill before you pay it. If the words “emergency fee” is written on it and you didn’t tell them that your call was an emergency,   or the fee exceeds the estimate, only pay the rest of the bill and ignore the amount that exceeds the estimate.  

Sixth: To those  six and a half million people living in the Greater Toronto Area which includes Toronto, Mississauga, Bramalea, Bramption, Caledon, Oakville, Vaughn, Markham, Whitby and Oshawa—choose another garage door firm if you don’t want to end up as another customer who have a complaint against Prestige Garage Door and received no satisfaction in return. The firm didn’t even respond to my own complaint. This recommendation also applies anywhere else that Prestige Garage Doors is located.

Seventh: Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and/or the Chamber of Commerce (C of C) in your area before using the services of a garage door company.  

I did a review of firms whose businesses are garage doors in the internet and this is what I discovered about garage door companies (other than Prestige Garage Doors) that are located in southern Ontario.

Only seven of one hundred garage door companies have been classed as being legitimate companies. They listed their real addresses and the names of the owners.  Seventy-two of them were listed as being fraudulent and it is not known if another twenty-two 0f them are fraudulent or not.  

Many of their address listed are phony. Here is how some of those fraudulent companies listed their addresses; the town’s city hall, a parking lot of a funeral home, an Esso Gas Station, three  vacant lands, a bank, a private house, a Kwik Kopy store, a Sweet Tooth Candy Store, no such address, a fire station, a Bank of Montreal, a Tim Hortons, a Books Café, a ladies clothing store, a public parking lot, an Anglican Church, a Mr. Sub, a beer store, and a furniture store. The vast remainder of these sleazy garage door companies have no known addresses listed.

Here is something really interesting. The Prestige Garage Door company I dealt with in Scarborough, Ontario asks its customers to post a review of their service. In order to post it, you have to give them your full name, your date of birth, your address, your phone number and your email address. Here is the kicker. If you give them your email address, you also have to give them your password to your email. What will they do to your email if they don't like the review you published? 

What I have written in this article is based on how I perceive the facts of my complaint and my research and as such, it is my honest belief as to what I have said about the Prestige Garage Doors firm, its owner and its employee that I dealt with. Further, what I have written in this article is my honest opinion.  Further still, I have published this article because I believe that it is a matter of public’s interest so that my readers are forewarned about companies that rip off its customers and how to protect themselves from this happening to them like it has happened to me and many other victims.   

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