How-To: Provide Poor Customer Service (GDS Remix)

What better way to blow the cobwebs off the ol’ blog than with a recent customer service exchange I had regarding garage doors? None! No better way, I say.

First, a little background: We hired Garage Door Services (AKA Global Development Strategies, Inc.) to replace our aging garage doors and install an opener (or “operator”) on one. Neither door previously had an opener and one door didn’t like to stay up once opened, so we decided it was about time to give the garage a little love.

Long story short, we now have one garage door with an opener and one garage door without (which we wanted), and neither has a lock or handle. This isn’t so much a problem with the opener-equipped door, but does present a security and accessibility issue with the door we opted not to install an opener on.

After some back and forth with a number of people at GDS yesterday, we were told that (a) the salesman who came out to estimate the job was new, and (b) we were on the hook for another $170+ if we wanted them to install a lock on the door.

Laura first contacted GDS by phone and was told the lock wasn’t on the invoice (an invoice we received via e-mail after the installer left). Prior to calling GDS, I filled out the “contact us” form on their website. What follows is an e-mail exchange with Brandon.

From: Brandon
To: Me

Kris,I contacted Laura yesterday concerning your issue. I researched the recordings and nothing was said about locks being needed on the call . I apologize if the estimator at the time did not suggest that. I listened to your wife’s call and she states that you assumed that locks would come with the door, which is not the case. The price that was given is correct. I was explaining this to your wife when I called her back and explained the part and the special drill we have to get cost extra. I was about to lower the price for you when she abruptly hung up on me. I will stand by the price given on the extra lock if you are not interested in a new motor. Thank you

Yes, I’ve got a complaint about a missing lock Brandon is trying to sell me an additional garage door opener.

From: Me
To: Brandon

Brandon,

You “apologize if the estimator at the time did not suggest” a lock? There is no “if” here. The lock was never mentioned. Not once. The door your installer removed had a lock on it. We hired you to replace that door. It is not our fault that you do not adequately train your estimators in how to properly sell your products. Your estimator told us we would be getting the two doors replaced, plus an operator with two remotes and a keypad as well as a replacement for our ceiling light fixture to provide power to the operator.

That last item, by the way, wasn’t delivered either. When I asked your installer about it, he told me it wasn’t on the invoice. It was a six-dollar part at Home Depot, so rather than raise a stink about it, I bought and installed the new light fixture myself.

When I asked your installer about the lock, though, he didn’t say it wasn’t on the invoice, he said he didn’t have one with him, that he would put it in his work notes and that you would be contacting us to arrange installation. None of that happened.

What does “replaced” mean to you? If the door being replaced has a lock on it, do you think you could reasonably expect that a replacement for that door would also have a lock on it? I certainly do.

Yes, my wife hung up on you. Because you were the fourth person we’d talked to about this issue yesterday and your idea of customer service was to blame your installer for being new and talk about a special tool.

Brandon, your company sells and installs garage doors. If that tool is required in any aspect of garage door installation, IT IS NOT SPECIAL TO YOU.

Now, unless you’re going to tell me that you are very sorry that your salesman was ill-trained and that GDS takes full responsibility for failing to deliver on what that salesman promised us, we are done.

From: Brandon
To: Me

Bottom line Kris, if there was no mention of the lock then there was no promise for the lock unless you have that in writing. GDS accepts no no responsibility for a lock not being on the door. You can go to Home Depot if you would like and install a T-lock yourself, it will be cheaper for you. If we do it, then it will be $170 +tax. Locks do not come with the doors and there was no order for one on this replacement. Remember that you have to have the correct drill and bit for this and GDS is not responsible for damage to your door. Again if you would like us to install a lock for you then this is the cost.

Also this is a SPECIAL drill because most clients let us know they need one so we have the manufacturer drill it for us.

Thank you

Apparently, in their history of installing garage doors GDS has never once had to drill the hole to install a lock on-site, so to do it now they’ve got to go out and buy a special drill. But never mind that…

From: Me
To: Brandon

Bottom line, Brandon, is that your salesman was poorly trained and GDS, who advertises as “Best Value, Best Guarantee, Best Trained” takes no responsibility for that.

I wish I’d had the foresight to check GDS in the Better Business Bureau before we called you. That “F” rating has been well-earned, I think, and I don’t suppose one more complaint is going to drive it any lower (you’re already at the bottom) but I can always hope that the complaint I file today will serve as a warning to the next potential GDS customer.

I don’t know how Valpak responds to complaints, but they’ll be getting one too.

There is no need to contact us any further.

Yes, I should have checked BBB before we called these guys, and perhaps Valpak isn’t the best referral source in the world; hindsight is 20/20.

So, we’re done here, right? Not quite.

From: Brandon
To: Me

Your going to file a complaint because you didn’t have the foresight to ask for what you wanted.

Oh, Brandon. You didn’t.

From: Me
To: Brandon

Brandon,

You are mistaken in several respects:

1. It’s not “Your going to file a complaint…” it’s “You’re going to file a complaint…” It’s a contraction of “you are,” not an indication of possession.
2. I’m not going to file “a complaint,” I’m going to file TWO complaints; one to the Better Business Bureau and one to Valpak.
3. Despite your repeated attempts to ignore it, this is about your salesman’s failure to do his job correctly, your failure to train your salesman to do his job correctly, and your failure to take responsibility for either of those things.

It is not my responsibility to know what comes with a garage door. For all I know, the rails and springs and all other hardware are separate invoice items. Your salesman’s responsibility is to inform me of how much what I ask him to deliver (i.e., a replacement door) will cost me. If the existing door has features that are not included with the new door, then it is your salesman’s responsibility to inform me of those features and any costs associated with them.

Now, I know that your salesman was at least partially aware of his responsibility in this respect. How do I know? Well, our old doors had windows in them. Your salesman explained that the new doors do not come with windows but that we could get windows if we wanted to pay more for them. We opted not to do that, and so our new doors do not have windows. This is not a surprise to us, because we were informed of it ahead of time. You’ll note that I did not say “we asked about the windows,” because we didn’t have to: it was a feature the old doors had that the new doors would not and your salesman brought it to our attention without prompting.

While he was on the topic of “Features The Old Doors Have That Are Not Included With The New Doors,” your salesman could have mentioned locks, but he did not. This is not a failure in foresight on my part, Brandon, it is a failure of your salesman to do his job properly.

Again, there is no need to contact us further.

Brandon appears to have opted out of further contact, but should he elect to pursue things further I may update this post.

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