As temperatures begin to drop – albeit slowly – the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is offering some tips on choosing a garage door repair company. Though there are many reputable firms to choose from, the garage door industry has historically had some issues; typically with non-local businesses claiming a local connection. “Most business owners know that many customers prefer to deal with a local company,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “To capitalize on that, some out of state firms purchase local phone numbers which re-direct to call centers elsewhere. While this practice is not uncommon, we prefer it when companies are upfront about their location and clear in regard to their local presence.” To help consumers avoid problems and find reputable companies, the BBB offers these tips on hiring a garage door repair firm: 1. Check out free BBB Business Reviews at bbb.org or by phone at 800-646-6222. Use the BBB’s Online Directory to find reliable Accredited Businesses. Remember, good garage door companies come in all sizes. Large marketing campaigns or big ads do not always mean a bigger company, or one that provides better service. 2. Be wary of business phone lines that are answered generically, such as “Service” or “Door service.” Some businesses operate under many names and have to answer the phone in a non-specific manner. Ask the receptionist for their business name and address. If they won’t provide this information, you may not be dealing with a local business. 3. Keep in mind that any business can buy multiple phone lines. Local numbers don’t always mean you’re dealing with a “local” business. 4. Ask at least three companies to come to your home and evaluate your needs. Comparison shopping in this manner allows you to consider differences in price and varying opinions on what should be repaired or replaced. Be sure to ask questions and also ask if there’s a service charge involved for coming out and providing an estimate. 5. Get everything in writing. Ask for an estimate before agreeing to any service. You may want to sign an authorization form after you approve the estimate. Be sure to review and understand the services, products, costs and disclosures before any work is performed. 6. Request references with names and contact information from consumers who have recently had work performed by the company. Be sure to take the time to contact those references. 7. Take note of marketing techniques such as advertising discounts or the promise of lowest prices. Remember, the only way to know if you are getting a fair price is to comparison shop to see what other businesses are charging for the same service. Keep in mind that a company offering the lowest price may or may not offer the best service. 8. Some companies state that they can provide same day service. This may certainly be a benefit; however, it’s important to weigh convenience against waiving your ability to shop around and compare prices. 9. Any advertisement that makes any type of rating claim (i.e. rated #1 in customer service) should also list the independent third party that provided the award or designation, along with the date it was received. 10. When purchasing a new garage door, keep the records for the manufacturer brand and model number of all door components (door sections, hardware, track, springs, etc.). Also, request a warranty card and owner’s manual and read these thoroughly. You may need this information if you have questions about the warranty or product liability. The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. Our hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact the BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222. Visit our Centennial website at bbbis100.org.