How Businesses Are Overcharging Senior Citizens

Financial fraud among senior citizens is a growing problem in the U.S. More than five million cases of financial fraud occur each year in the United States, costing seniors $36.5 billion every year. Scammers aren’t limited to telemarketers and scam artists, either. They also include businesses.

How Companies Scam Seniors

Companies scam seniors who are vulnerable. The recent loss of a spouse, poor financial management or even a physical or mental disability is considered a vulnerability to scammers.

When companies approach these seniors, they’ll do one of two things:

  1. They’ll sell a product or service the senior doesn’t need at an inflated cost.
  2. They’ll sell a product or service the senior does need at an inflated price.

Both scenarios often have the same result — the older client doesn’t receive what they paid for. Instead, they receive complicated invoices with added-on services or items they didn’t request or need.

Because of their vulnerability, however, most victims won’t question fraudulent invoices. Many won’t even talk to their families about the incident because they’re embarrassed or confused about what happened.

How Garage Door Companies Scam Seniors

Scams against seniors in the garage door industry, unfortunately, occur. One company, known by more than a hundred aliases, has scammed seniors and other customers for more than 15 years. A few of their aliases include Garage Door Services (GDS), Neighborhood Garage Door Service and Fox Overhead Garage.

Investigations from NBC and other news organizations have unveiled the company’s fraudulent practices against seniors. Company techs, who receive up to a 20 percent commission per job, are trained to charge thousands for repairs or parts that typically cost a few hundred dollars.

A technician from GDS, Tim Patterson, is now on trial for his actions as a GDS employee. The San Diego District Attorney charged Patterson in 2017 for felonies relating to the home burglaries of senior GDS customers. Evidence from the case has shown the fraudulent invoices used to scam seniors.

One, an invoice for a 90-year old woman, totals more than $4,000 for services that are usually less than $750. Multiple charges for identical items are also included on these invoices. GDS viewed Patterson as a model employee, even rewarding him with a free trip to the company’s out-of-state Christmas party.

Trustworthy Service From a BBB Winner

The actions of GDS demonstrate how vigilant family members need to be in protecting their senior relatives from con artists and fraudulent companies, which is why it’s key for families help and ensure their parents or grandparents receive service from trustworthy and reputable companies.

At American Overhead Door, we provide a non-commissioned, caring sales team that helps you find the garage door products you need. We are also the two-time winner of the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Excellence in Customer Service Award and a BBB-certified Age Friendly Business, making us a trusted source for senior citizens and their families.

Contact American Overhead Door for your next garage door service. You can also get in touch with us by calling us at 719-538-9900 or 519-530-3000 for our Salida location. 

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