Rainier Garage Door Complaint - Garage Door repair estimate - hidden fee!

Review by Dorabee on 2007-10-03
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- I made an appointment with Becky for an estimate to have my garage doors repaired. I clearly stated that I wanted someone to "look at my doors and tell me what it would cost to repair them". Becky never mentioned any sort of fee. When the repair person arrived, he looked at the doors and started to tell me what they would do. I asked him to provide me a written estimate so that I could look at it and discuss it with my husband. At this point he said it would be $89.00. I told him that wasn't acceptable, no one had told me that there would be a charge. At this point the charge became $49. I called and spoke with Becky, and pointed out that she had not told me there would be a fee. She said if I didn't pay I would be turned over to collections. I spoke with her manager who said "I think she told you about the fee, you just forgot".

If I had been informed there was a fee, I would have canceled the appointment.
Comments:18 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-03-03
Posted by grandma005 on 2007-10-04:
You should always ask if there is a fee for estimates before a appointment is made. Assume nothing.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-10-04:
Ask them to show you where you signed, agreeing to a fee, BEFORE they did the estimate.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-10-04:
Dorabee--I find this ridiculous--that you had to pay for an estimate. Be sure to report these people to the BBB--at least. I did a massive remodel on our 100 year old home last year, and plenty of people came out to give me estimates. They even had to drive a bit as I live out in the sticks (in WA also). The only way to choose someone to do the work was to talk to them, get an estimate and compare them to each other. This also enabled me to do my own research and get references. This included windows, siding, building a deck and patio, garage door, exterior doors, electrical and plumbing. I was my own contractor. Not one of these people charged me for an estimate. They were just happy to have an opportunity to bid on the job. Business was booming then, too.

The people that came out for you must be doing poorly financially. Since you live in a big city, they probably didn't even have to drive very far. The fact that the guy changed the estimate amount on the spot, says to me that these people are just rip-off artists. They know that if they would have told you about the fee in advance, you would have gone elsewhere. Stay far away from them. You will find someone who just wants to do a good job.
Posted by Tala on 2008-02-29:
I feel like I should get to defend myself on this. My name is Becky and I am the one you spoke to. First of all... My manager, the tech that came out to your house, and I all listened to the phone call that you made to the company. Not only did I go through all the pricing, but I also gave you different pricing scenarios depending on what the problem would be. Never at anytime during the call did you say that you wanted someone to come out and "Look" at your door. You said it was broken and needed to be fixed. We are a full service company and can handle fixing about 95% of problems when we are there onsite. Our pricing works the same for everyone and you were no different. You told me on the phone after my Tech was out there, that you had another company out there and they gave you a free written estimate to "Fix" your door. You then told my Tech that you paid the company $39 to come out. We try and keep our rates low, that that means we can't just drive out to people houses for free and tell them what’s wrong with their doors. I was able to go over all of that on the phone. Our rates are $89, which covers the trip out and the first 30 min onsite. Even though Doug was out there for over 30 minutes, the manager decided to lower the rate to our minimum trip charge of $49. I am sorry that you felt so wronged, but you need to be much clearer when you call a service company and ask them to come out to your house. You never once asked for a free estimate, or even told me that you wanted someone to just give you an estimate on what needed to be done.

Posted by Tala on 2008-02-29:
Oh, and Dianec.... She did report it to the BBB, and they sited with us on the matter!
Posted by jktshff1 on 2008-02-29:
I drive to customer's places a couple of hundred miles away to to give them a quote and don't charge for it.
Ya'll sound like a "it's gonna cost ya no matter what we do" business
Posted by D on 2008-02-29:
I've done many thousands of free estimates in my career..After showing the customer real value, getting a job was no big deal..Charging for an estimate is asking the customer to go elsewhere..
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2008-02-29:
Comparing a garage door repair estimate to major renovation construction estimate is not fair. The profit structures involved are quite different.

Businesses that do construction have "free" estimates factored into their cost of doing business. A minor repair service will typically charge for the trip.

I don't think $49 for the trip was unreasonable. It sound like the repair could have been completed for $89 plus parts.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-29:
Thanks, Becky, for clearing that up. I definitely won't be doing business with your company. As for charging people for just showing up, well, it sounds like your company must be desperate for business. Thanks for the detailed explanation. It sure helps me in my future decisions when or if I have to replace a garage door.

As far as I'm concerned, it's your word against Dorabee's. I'll side with her on this one as it is a very believable story--and I don't care who the BBB sided with.

TN--BTW, when I had my garage door replaced (when I was renovating) by a small local company, I did not get charged for the estimate.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2008-02-29:
good post dianec!
Rainer is on my go to heck list! lol!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-29:
Thanks, jkt! Mine too.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-29:
I did many garage doors and I never charged for an estimate and I also build houses and never charged for an estimate, ever!

No I build and install 1.7 million dollar Epi Reactors and have to fly around the world to give estimatements and guess what, they are free too.

It is the price of doing business.

Stop it!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-29:
Right on, Lidman!!
Posted by Nohandle on 2008-02-29:
Strange how these old reviews get resurrected on occasion and we missed them the first time around. An estimate should be just that. How much will you charge if I decide to give you the work? I'm wondering if, for an example, now that appliance repair people charge just to park their vehicle in your driveway and honor you with an estimate since they obviously can't repair it the first time around that has given free rein for everyone? If your company is going to charge upfront for someone to come to your home, give the individual the courtesy of letting them know in advance. Then they can decide if they want you there or not.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2008-02-29:
dang, I hate it when I don't look at the dates!!!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-29:
If I ever heard a salesperson say there would be a fee for an estimate the next thing they would hear is click or a door closing.

Now sometimes I will go along with an estimate fee if they credit it back when I buy. If I know I am probably going to do the deal I will agree to a refundable estimate fee. I know we paid over $500 for the estimate and design on our kitchen but we were 99% sure we would go with the company. They gave the $500 back off the very first bill.
Posted by Dorabee on 2008-03-03:
I'm the original poster of this complaint. I find it interesting that Becky says that she, the manager, and the tech all "listened to the phone call", because when we specifically asked if they had a record of the call we were told no. I'd love to hear this phone call, so if you really do have a tape of it please call me so that I can hear it. I was NEVER quoted any fee, and nothing you can say will change the fact that you came to my home without telling me I would be charged for someone to show up. I was expecting this repair to be in excess of 500.00, and I never agree to that kind of bill without getting estimates.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-03-03:
This sounds like a 'service call'. It's not uncommon for a service call to have a fee, even if they do no work. I'm not saying that I agree with that, but I know that many of them charge just for walking in the door.

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