The vast majority of locksmiths are honest people who have customers’ best interests at heart. However, there are some who will try to take advantage of unsuspecting customers, or who are not even locksmiths but scam artists looking to make some quick money. Here are some tips to help you determine if a person or offer is legitimate.
One common scam involves a fake company often outside your country. The “company’s” ad or website will show prices that seem too good to be true. If you call, you will be put in contact with a representative at a call center. They will quote you a seemingly great price and then send a subcontractor in your area affiliated with the scam to work on your lock. This person, upon arriving to work on your lock, will claim to find problems and drill it, which will destroy the lock and increase your bill considerably. If the lock gets fixed, your locksmith will likely claim the job was more complex than anticipated and charge up to 10 times the original quote.
There are many red flags to look for with this type of scam:
1. “Employees” of the company don’t wear uniforms or otherwise have any identification affiliating them with the locksmith trade or a specific business, such as a marked vehicle.
2. The time it takes the “locksmith” to reach you seems long compared to the time you were given over the phone. A true “neighborhood locksmith”, unless extremely busy (and a reputable one would inform you of this too), should come within an hour of being called. If you are told a 10-to-20-minute arrival time and it takes the locksmith three hours without any explanation for the delay, you should question this.
3. The “locksmith” claims that your lock cannot be picked and needs to be drilled. A legitimate locksmith will be able to pick basically any lock.
4. The “locksmith” demands cash or debit to pay for their “services”, since these methods are more difficult than a credit card to trace.
5. After the “job” is done, you have a very difficult time contacting the company to complain. They will say the technician has been fired and there is nothing else they can do, or if you are able to reach the “locksmith” who “helped” you, they say that the company sets the pricing schedule they had to follow.
Here are some tips to avoid being the victim of a scam:
1. Ask any locksmith you call to produce identification (including a name and address) and/or a license (if your state requires one).
2. Make sure any price estimates are on stationery with the company’s logo and address, and include all charges related to the service (mileage, parts, etc.)
3. Don’t hire anyone who says they will need to drill the lock. A true locksmith will be able to unlock any lock.
If you have been scammed, call an agency such as the Better Business Bureau, federal Trade Commission, or state Attorney General’s office, to help prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.
Identifying a locksmith scam is not too difficult, if you know what to look for. Use this advice to avoid being victimized.
in Naples Florida and need a real locksmith? Call us any time at (239) 849-4979