By the previous reviews, it is obvious that GateCrafters was a great company at one time. However, from my recent experience, that is no longer the case. I have been through a long eight months of dealing with this company with nothing but headaches regarding our custom gate order. GateCrafters has some great employees, like Bill, and they are great as far as ordering openers and accessories. We had no issues at all ordering our gate opener. Unfortunately, they have big problems when it comes to honest communication and customer satisfaction regarding custom gate orders. Our gate arrived over five months late, poorly constructed, and severely damaged from shipping. Then we had to fight with GateCrafters to get them to cover the full cost of repairs from the damages, even though they were filing a claim with the shipping company for the repair costs.
If you've got time for a read, here's the full story about our dealings with this company; We were in need of a gate for our private lane ASAP due to significant trespass and crime issues in our area. I did significant research on gate prices between local and online manufacturers/installers and was impressed by the price and lead time that GateCrafter, aka WebDirect Brands, had to offer. I am always leery of online companies so I spent a lot of time reading through the GateCrafters reviews. At that time, the reviews were great. I was also assured by a GateCrafters agent via a phone conversation that their online posted lead time of 8-12 weeks was accurate. The online ordering process and gate creation tool was amazing and we were excited to get our gate ordered. We placed our custom gate order on August 9th, 2021. We also paid the $200 deposit to GateCrafters at that time, which supposedly "secured our place" in que for production. I got a welcome email from customer service rep., Shashala, confirming my order. My first email to Shashala did get a reply, at which time I was advised that the powder coating would add approximately one week to our production time. However, she confirmed that production was on time and we would see our gate around late October, to arrive no later than November 18th, 2021. This was a very important timeline for us due to the ongoing trespass issues and the fact that we live in an area of severe winter weather, where installation would be difficult after mid-late December.
Unfortunately, that's when everything went downhill with GateCrafters. Over the next several weeks we began to prep the site, acquire the proper permits from the City, and rent the equipment needed for installation. We were supposed to be getting updates and photos of our gate throughout the production process, which did not happen. On November 1st I called and talked to customer service rep., Denise, who informed me that the gate delivery had now been pushed back to mid-December. We still had hope that we were receiving accurate information. However, when mid-December came and went, I began to call GateCrafters again. Numerous calls were made, messages were left, and emails were sent to both the customer service department and the *******@webdirectbrands.com. No one from the "office of the president" ever contacted me. Instead, I finally got in touch with Jerry, who was the production manager at that time. Jerry had one excuse after another as to why our gate had not even been started yet, months after it was supposed to have been delivered. He also admitted that our gate was not "kept in the que" as it was supposed to be, and it had been pushed behind other orders. He advised that they had been waiting on one single part for our gate, which had now arrived, and that our gate would be "on the welding table" on December 20th 2021, to powder coating on December 27th 2021, and delivered no later than January 8th 2022.
When we received no shipping notification by January 6th, 2022, I called Jerry again and was informed that our gate was "on the welding table right now". He informed me that our gate would now ship the first week of February. By the end of February, now 28 weeks out from an order that was only supposed to take 8-12 weeks, we still had no gate and no notification of shipment. After numerous calls made to Jerry and additional emails to the "*******@webdirectbrands.com" Jerry finally called back and stated that our gate was done but was now "backed up in shipping" and he expected our gate to ship within the next 2 weeks. Frustrated by this, I went to GateCrafters.com to try to place a new order. It was obvious that they were still taking new online orders. I also called GateCrafters directly and spoke with customer service rep., "JT", at which time he confirmed to me that the current lead time on a new gate order was 8-12 weeks. So, as the wait on my gate order was approaching 7 months, GateCrafters was still training their employees to mislead new customers by telling them that they would have a completed gate in 8-12 weeks.
Attempts were made to contact the WebDirect Brands' administration regarding the issues that we had encountered and to see if there was something that they could do. All correspondence with the *******@webdirectbrands.com went unanswered.
When our gate finally did ship, on March 18th, 2022, WebDirect Brands overcharged my credit card. They were attempting to charge me additional fees for the gate track hardware, which was supposed to be included in the original order. They had changed their invoice from the one that I had signed, to add on the additional charges.
Unfortunately, the problems with GateCrafters did not stop there. When our gate finally arrived, on March 29th 2022, it was severely damaged from poor construction, poor packaging, and mishandling during shipping. We took pictures of the damaged gate before it was ever taken out of the YRC delivery truck and were sure to mark the damages on the shipping receipt. The YRC driver stated that he had never seen such a poorly packaged item for shipment. Our brand new custom gate had broken completely off of the shipping "boot" that GateCrafters uses to package their gates and it had sustained multiple broken welds, dents, and dings. GateCrafters was immediately contacted at which time they wanted to arrange a return shipment to have the gate sent back across the country to Florida for repairs. I explained that it took seven months to receive our gate, that was only supposed to take 8-12 weeks from order to delivery, and that we could not wait for months for GateCrafters to "fix" the gate. I was finally connected with Judy, the head of customer service, who admitted to me that they were down to only one part time welder for their entire production. With this information, we were even more reluctant to send our gate back to GateCrafters for repairs with no guarantee as to when it would return to us. Initially, Judy was helpful and she was able to correct the overcharge to my credit card right away. When I brought up the issues I had experienced, she admitted that they were experiencing staffing issues and claimed that they were no longer taking orders, stating that "JT" was new and had misspoken. She also stated that many orders had been cancelled and refunded over the past months, informing me that we were "lucky" to have still gotten a GateCrafters gate. However, when it came to the damages, she was only willing to refund $100 if we sought a local repair. I informed her that this amount would not be sufficient due to the severity of the damages and that I would seek an estimate from a local metal fabricator for the repairs and get back with her. Judy advised that she would be filing a claim with the shipping company, YRC, for the damages and also admitted that the gates are insured for their full value upon shipment. The local repair quote came to $1283 to repair the damaged welds, dings, and dents. This quote included a complete re-powder coat due to the amount of work that had to be done to the gate to make it look like new. For days I attempted to contact Judy with this information, leaving multiple voice messages, with no response. Four days later, she finally responded in an email and offered me $1000 for the local repair. I told her that this amount was unacceptable, as it was still sticking us with paying the difference of the gate repairs. Not until I initiated a claim with my credit card company against WebDirect Brands, did Judy finally process the refund of $1283 to my credit card with no further correspondence to me.
I completely understand that companies are struggling right now with staffing and supply chain issues caused by the Covid crisis. However, there is no need for a company to continue to mislead and manipulate customers as to expected delivery dates and timeframes. Furthermore, it is frustrating that they were obviously continuing to take new orders long after production delays were evident. I learned through Judy that GateCrafters has had a recent revolving door of employees, (Shashala and Jerry were both long gone by the time our gate was delivered) which I'm sure complicated our order issues. However, it is evident that the President of WebDirect Brands could care less about customer service and satisfaction as he continues to push employees to flat out lie to potential new customers, while refusing to respond to the concerns of existing customers who are waiting on their orders.