By Tom Wadsworth, CDDC
On March 6, Tim Patterson, who has been a leading garage door technician for Garage Door Services (GDS), was bound over for trial in San Diego Superior Court on nine counts of felony residential burglary and nine counts of theft, most of which are felonies. All charges allege primarily that Patterson took financial advantage of customers in the amounts he charged for his garage door work. His company, based in Dallas, Texas, was exposed in our fall 2015 cover story, “The worst garage door company in the nation.”
The lead prosecutor in the case is Paul Greenwood, deputy district attorney and the head of the Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit of the San Diego District Attorney’s Office. If convicted on all counts, Patterson faces a possible sentence of 10+ years in state prison.
Greenwood said that the residential burglary charges allege that TOP GDS* TECHNICIAN CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE FELONIES CHARGES PERTAIN TO OVERCHARGING SENIOR CITIZENS FOR GARAGE DOOR REPAIRS Patterson “entered a residence with the intent to steal.” At the March 6 hearing, nine of Patterson’s customers testified, along with three other San Diego-area door dealers who had inspected Patterson’s invoices and work. Eight of the nine testifying customers were senior citizens.
Sample invoice from Patterson
In our fall 2015 cover story, one of Patterson’s invoices was published (below). This invoice was given to a 90-year-old woman in San Diego, charging her $2,126.80 for parts and $2,059.89 for labor on a three-hour service call. After a few other charges and discounts, the total was $4,274.
For that price, the customer received only a hardware overhaul on one door, a new opener, and the normal related service. Many dealers might charge $750 or less for the same service.
A closer look at the charges
The invoice contains several items that double- or triple-charge for the same item or service. Specifically, this elderly woman was charged $459.98 for two torsion springs, another $259.99 for “Torsion System Deconstruction,” $269.99 for “Torsion System Reinstallation,” $299.99 for “Track Reset and Alignment,” and $199.99 for “Door Balance.” Other hardware charges (rollers, brackets, cable, drums, etc.) totaled $766.87 plus another $139.99 for a “Lifetime” parts warranty, $189.99 for “Lube and Tune Service.”
For the opener, a LiftMaster 1/2-HP screw drive opener with rail and a 3-button transmitter, Patterson charged her $719.97 plus another $199.99 for “Motor Service,” $199.99 for “Garage Door Motor and Accessorie (sic) Installation,” and $37.52 for “Remote/Keypad Reprogramming.”
Other charges included $29.99 for “Removal and Disposal of Materials,” another $25.00 for “Garage Opener Haul Off,” and $99.95 for “Recycling, Disposal, and Fuel.” Yet, she received $198.81 in “discounts.” As reported in our fall 2015 article, Patterson would have been praised and even rewarded for such an invoice.
According to a former GDS employee, Patterson made more than $300,000 for himself in 2015 and was rewarded with a trip to the GDS Christmas party at the company’s Dallas headquarters. Several internal GDS records praise Patterson as a “top gun” for high invoices.
The service for this one invoice was provided on June 2, 2015, under GDS’s California contractor license (#927739). At that time, that license was under suspension. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) reported that GDS was not allowed to perform any work while under suspension. Yet there is evidence that Patterson was active constantly throughout the suspension period.