It’s not abnormal to see yet another local news story about a city or town suffering from wonky garage door remote activity due to nearby military frequency interference. However, this story caught my eye today because

  1. The homeowner believes the garage door installation company should fix the issue for free (the cost is estimated in the news article at $50 to $80)
  2. The garage door opener was installed more than 10 years ago
  3. The Consumerist, a national publication that covered the blip of local news, poses the question to its readership: Should the company be responsible for the fix?

Fifty-five consumers weighed in. And many seem to have a clear grasp of FCC regulations and how signal frequency does and does not work. What’s even more surprising is that nearly all side with the garage door company not being responsible. Is this … could it be … rational thinking amongst the anonymous online commenter community? Be sure to read through the comments yourself, but here are a few weigh ins:

“The door’s been working fine for almost a decade? Then, no, the company has no responsibility for the door, especially as it seems that their workmanship is not in question.”

“Two issues at play here. First, the FCC giveth and the FCC can taketh away. Thousands of wireless microphone systems became illegal to use this summer, because the FCC decided to take the spectrum they use back. Second, as Part 15 devices, the garage door has to accept interference, as it’s not in reserved spectrum.”

“10 years exceeds the life expectancy for most (non-industrial) garage door openers. He should be relatively happy it’s worked this long without issues.”

“The garage door is a device governed by Part 15 of the FCC regs. The Marine Corp operates as the primary licensee on their given frequencies.
The Part 15 device must accept the interference and not emit any of its own. He has no recourse with the primary allocation user and limited recourse with the manufacturer.
Now it may be a question of how the interference is occuring…direct interference, harmonics, etc…
He should call his local amateur radio club and ask if someone with knowledge on how to abate RFI (radio frequency interference) can come over and assess the situation. Often times it can be as simple as wrapping the garage antenna (a simple wire) around a torrid a few times.”

My personal favorite:

“I once had a garage door opener that would open and close the door when the neighbor started her weed wacker. We just deal with it. As I recommend this guy does.”