I've read the reports on PDS front companies and suspect I've been over charged by one - Garage Door Service Company, found via www.justgaragedoors.com, where they are known as America's Choice Overhead Door Company.
I had a broken spring on a standard 2 car garage door and determined that it was not covered under home warranty so I needed to find my own repair firm. A Google search turned up the above site, which sounds legitimate (37 years in business, a nice fleet of trucks) and guarantees satisfaction.
The operator on the 800 number was very nice and was able to dispatch a technician (who called on his way and arrived on time.) At this point the impression given by the firm was nothing but positive - it just didn't 'smell' like a scam. The technician set to work without ever mentioning price, or having me sign anything. I asked about cost and was quickly given a number for the springs which sounded high, but close - for a pair. I had read that the job would probably be between 150 and 200, and figured given his spring price and labor he'd be a bit high but so far the service had been top notch - rare these days.
After replacing the springs he pointed out that my rollers needed changing and offered to replace a broken hinge as part of the deal - $89 total extra. That price sounded reasonable - again the impression was still one of a legitimate company - so I let him go ahead.
When he finished it was like I had a new garage door - everything worked smoother and much more quiet than it had since I've owned the home. When the bill came it was over $500... I was surprised, as the math I'd been doing in my head came to a much lower figure but it was hot, I was by that time very late for work and assumed I'd miscalculated something along the way.
As fate would have it our friends had a spring break the same day. They used a reputable local dealer - the one my home warranty company was going to send when I thought the part was covered (I did not use them originally as I've had checkered luck with companies sent by Home Warranty). Our friends bill for a dual spring replacement, including labor, was under $170.
Ignoring the rollers, I did more research and have determined that the discrepancy in the price I paid was due to a charge of $238 for the springs and $39 for a Center Bearing that was never discussed. I can't find springs listed anywhere for more than $100/pair and the bearing in question, if it ever installed, appears to be a seven dollar part.
We have a call in to the company and are expecting a response from the manager.
The price and un-marked pickup (which I noticed at the end of the job) caused me to switch payment to American Express which, in my experience with vendor disputes, has been a very consumer-friendly company to deal with.
Assuming the job was done correctly, with parts of proper quality (which I have no reason to doubt at the moment), it is unfortunate that a company with such prompt and otherwise professional service would feel the need trade a good reference for $150 in over charges.
It is my hope that the billing abnormalities were a mistake that will be rectified and I can report that this particular branch is not of the same ilk noted in other reports.