- Internet & the Web
Avoid Garage Door Scams!
Searching the Internet for Garage Door Services
The garage door is the largest opening on your home, the garage door is a mechanical piece of functioning equipment, and it can stop working at any time for many reasons!
Once you are in the predicament of needing a garage door service, you then have to search for a company either on the web or the old fashioned phone book. Most every person now has a hand held internet device and can search the internet.
The internet is plagued with many companies competing for the number one position in the search results, so what does this mean? This could mean that the company you think is legitimate is actually a fraud and could take more than your money!
Don't Click the First Thing to Pop Up
While poking around on the internet in search of a garage door service repair company you will find many different companies. Have you seen the very first company on a page? This is generally a pay to click advertisement that wants your business. Is that company real or a fraud? Now this is the hard part because you have to so some research to find out if they are legitimate or not.
Why do you want a legitimate company? For one thing you want your home to be safe, your credit card secure, and a peace of mind.
Where to start your search-
1. Look over the website you clicked on, find an address and business name
2. Search the address, does it come back to a real location?
3. Go to your local Secretary of State website, search the business name
4. All businesses in your state should be listed there, including franchisers, businesses have to pay taxes to the state
5. Search the business name and add scam at the end, does it come back with any bad information?
6. Look at local advertisements such as Angie's List, the BBB, Yelp. According to Angie's list a company cannot change the reviews. The BBB can have fraudulent businesses listed, so be careful, and Yelp is a useful tool since advertisers cannot change reviews. On Google Business listings, advertisers can change reviews, delete bad reviews, and manipulate reviews.
Secretary of State
Why find a business at the Secretary of State?
A legitimate business has to pay taxes to the federal government, and the state they do business in. So when I look at a business I want to spend my money with, I make sure they are legitimate first.
Why do through all of this trouble?
For one thing, I don't want someone charging my credit card with fraudulent charges later on. Can a legitimate business do this? Yes. Will they do this? Probably not. Why? They have to pay fees for the credit card service, taxes to local municipalities, and so on. Also a local company wants your business again so they will not ruin their reputation by practicing fraud.
Lets practice a Secretary of State search in Ohio: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/business/filingformsfeeschedule.aspx?page=251
Once on the site go to Business Name Search, search American Automatic Transmission Company, now search Toro Garage Door. Which one is a real corporation? (I hope your answer is American Automatic Transmission Company)
Let's take the information from above and do a little search.
Search AATCO-Automatic Transmission Company(Grove City, OH), you should find a Google Business listing for this company with the address of 4353 Broadway, Grove City, OH 43123.
Now search Toro Garage Door(Grove City, OH), you will not find a Google Business listing for this company. Click on the Toro Garage Doors-Grove City Ohio Garage Door link, look at the address, does it have the same as AATCO? Yes it does! What can you derive from this search? Toro Garage Door is not a real company in Ohio, and does not exist at 4353 Broadway, Grove City, OH 43123. So I would not call this company to fix my garage door, they might be a fraudulent company.
After the searches, can you dig deeper into this phenomenon?
Why yes you can! You can look up a domain name at Whois, you can find basic information about the domain name owner. Sometimes the domain name owner will pay to keep their information private, and most times owners will not keep their information private.
Humor me and search whois: http://whois.icann.org/
First search: www.aatcotransmission.com, did you find out that it is owned by Ronald Johnson at 4353 Broadway, Grove City, OH? You should have, this guy is the business owner.
Now search: www.grovecitygaragedoors.info, did you find this to be private? Yes it is a private ownership. Do you think they might have something to hide?(This company is NOT affiliated with Grove City Garage Door Inc.)
Now search: www.grovecitygaragedoor.com, did you find that it is owned by Mark Rothwell? You should have because he is the owner of this site and business.
Did you learn something today?
You may not feel it is necessary to do all of this research on any particular company; however, it may save you money if you take a little time to do some research.
The big reason I do so much research on the internet for legitimate companies is to help our customers. There are so many people in this world and so many fraudsters out there willing to take your money at any given moment. I didn't know three years ago that the garage door industry is so vast with fraudulent companies. I started working with Mark Rothwell on his web sites and discovered the many different fraudulent companies out there in the garage door industry.
Now when I am looking to spend my hard earned money with any company online, I do a few extra steps to ensure my money goes to a legitimate business and not just any business. I have been pretty lucky to not have been a victim of any fraudulent activity; however, there have been some of our customers that have not been so lucky. All I can do to help out is to write pages such as these, and tell people to be careful. With any stroke of luck, someone will see this page and take more precautions on the internet. Be safe in your searches and keep in mind it's your hard earned money not theirs, so spend wisely!