There is a problem in the locksmith industry that started around 2005 in some areas of the US and from there went nationwide. In the industry they are called scammers. This is how they operate.
They seem to follow a list of rules like these;
- They take out yellow pages advertisements and place advertisements on the web for/in a town or city that looks like they have been in business there for a long time.
- They don’t take out just one advertisement and don’t just use one locksmith name, instead they use many. In some geographic areas as many as 35 or more.
- They use phony addresses in conjunction with the advertisements, for example vacant lots, drugstores, Laundromats, even legitimate locksmiths real addresses.
- They have all the local phone number calls forwarded to their office which typically is in another city around 1,000 miles away.
- They have their phone people quote car or house openings as a $35 to $55 service call. They don’t tell people that the service call just gets the person on-site, it costs extra to open the door/car, etc. and the price of the service call is doubled or more.
- They have the “Locksmith” fake picking the lock and when it doesn’t open advise the customer that it must be drilled for an additional charge, another $30 to $50.
- They have the locksmith offer to replace the drilled lock with a new one. Typically a $20 lock is used but sold anywhere from $100 to $500.
- They specify cash only, that way there can’t be a charge back on a credit card or a stop payment on a check when the customer realizes they have been scammed.
- They don’t tell the customer that the “Locksmith” sent out is usually an illegal alien from Europe or the Middle East who has only had about a weeks worth of training.
they have it down to a science. About
now you are asking:
Do I Protect Myself From Them?
BEFORE you really need a locksmith.
a real locksmith who is a local business.
You can do that a couple of ways. You
can call and ask if you can bring a lock to their shop for repair.
If they say no and had an address in the phone book or on the web find
if they say yes, drive by there some time and verify a locksmith business is
located there and even verify the telephone number because the scammers
will sometimes use their own phone number with a local locksmith's address.
the address phony? Then you
might have found a scammer.
are mobile only local locksmiths who are legitimate but usually they won't list
an address in an advertisement. If
mobile only, find someone who does have an actual shop and ask if they know the
mobile only guy. Odds are if they
know him he is legitimate.
only locksmiths typically do not want the overhead associated with a permanent
shop that must be manned all day. Many
times there just aren’t enough customers who would walk into a shop during the
day to let a shop break even. The mobile only locksmith is also more
likely in many cases to be willing to make after hours or emergency service
a shop or mobile only, the local locksmith will typically provide quick
efficient service at a reasonable price. One
scammer trick is to quote a lower cost and then change the charge after he gets
there. Ask the locksmith you call to
quote a complete price for a lockout. NOT just the service call.
Typically the scammer will not do that but a legitimate locksmith will ask
enough questions to qualify his charges before coming to do the work.
locksmiths will typically be able to give a firm price for complete service if
you can give them enough information about your lock. One important thing
they need to know is the brand of the cylinder if you are locked out of
states in the US have recently passed legislation that requires locksmiths to be
licensed and they must take classes to earn continuing education credits before
they can renew a license. If you
live in one of those states, always ask for the license number. Typically it can
be checked online via a government web site.
is part of a Real
Locksmith network and the Associated Locksmiths of America has a web site
where you can find a locksmith
isn't a scammer.
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