Dishonest locksmiths are an unfortunate reality. Perhaps you have heard about one from a friend or read about them on the web. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience yourself. The fact is that there are many dishonest and irreputable locksmiths in operation; the kind who incorporate scamming, bait and switch and even intimidation into their business model.
The Horror Stories
So here is a scenario:
You are locked out of your car at 2 AM. Using your smartphone, you peruse through a Google search of 24/7 locksmiths in your immediate area. Wow, there is a locksmith not 5 miles away from your location! When you give them a call, they quote you a $30 flat rate for opening your car up and perhaps a $20 mobile fee for the technician to come to you.
Sounds good. Plus, they can be there in 15-20 minutes!
Sounds really good. So you agree for them to drive out.
After waiting for 45 minutes, a car finally shows up. Interesting, you think, they must use their personal cars for their mobile services because their car is unmarked. Two men get out of the vehicle, not in uniforms, and quickly examine your vehicle.
“It will be $350.” they say.
“What?” you exclaim.
They explain that the price quoted on the phone was only an estimate, nothing more. They demand payment in cash or else they will call the police.
“They demand payment in cash or else they will call the police.” After a long argument, you relent, walk to an ATM, withdraw $360 and give it to them because they can’t make change. Finally, they open your car up in a matter of minutes and leave. Exhausted, you drive home and fall asleep.
The next morning, you realize that they severely scratched and damaged your car door while opening it up, so you give them a call. The person on the phone denies they ever had an appointment with you and you realize you never received identification and you never wrote down their license plate number. What can you do?
The bad news is you can’t do very much at all. Maybe file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
The Good News
While there are many shady locksmiths in existence, there are also locksmiths you can trust. The trick is to find them.
When looking for a trustworthy and reliable locksmith, you need to look for certain qualifications and facts.
Do they have a long-standing relationship with the community they service?
Do they have a physical store or location?
Are they licensed and bonded in the state in which they operate?
Are they members of ALOA?
Do they guarantee satisfactory results?
Ultimately, care and caution should be exercised when choosing a locksmith. Beware of locksmith companies who promise extremely low rates (only to charge you 10x more in-person), lack an internet presence apart from their site, and don’t identify themselves specifically over the phone. Check Yelp, Google, and other review sites to get a good idea of what you are in for. When it comes to locksmiths, honesty and reputation are priceless.