If you are not familiar with the stories out there of individuals and companies claiming to be locksmiths and scamming the public out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars you should read on before you fall victim to one of their scams.
It begins with a call, Your locked out of your car or home and look up a locksmith company online or even in the yellow pages. The scams work like a bait and switch tactic. You call them and they give you low prices like $15 and up to open your door. When they arrive the price goes up, WAY UP. If your at your car they will tell you it’s a hard car to get into that take special tools and then they tell you they will charge you$125 to open plus the $15 for the trip charge. If your at your home they will tell you they have to drill the lock and that will cost (for example) $165 to drill the lock and $180 for the new lock plus $80 to remove the old lock and $80 to install the new lock plus the $15 trip charge, Now your at $520 just to get into your home.
Here are some things to look out for when calling a locksmith.
- Be wary of locksmith companies that answer calls with generic phrases like “locksmith services,” rather than a specific name. If a locksmith cannot or will not provide the business’ legal name, find another locksmith.
- Get an upfront quote. Make sure it is the total quote with the trip charge and labor included not just a quote to come out. Any legitimate locksmith company will be able to give you a firm price on how much it will cost you to get you into your car or home. If you hear prices like $15 or $25 and up to come out and we will tell you how much once the technician arrives, simply hang up the phone and call someone else.
- When the locksmith arrives, ask for identification, including a locksmith license. All California Locksmiths are required by state law to have a locksmith license issued to them by the state. You may be thinking why do I care if he has a license or not as long as he can open the door. This license is for your safety,The state as well as the F.B.I does a complete background check on all locksmith license holders for your safety. Do you really want someone that couldn’t pass a background check gaining entry into your home? Also Licensed locksmiths have the knowledge and tools to do the job right the first time without causing unnecessary damages to open your door.
- If the locksmith’s on-site price doesn’t match the phone estimate, don’t allow the work to be performed.
- Most legitimate locksmiths will arrive in a clearly marked vehicle. Allot of the scam companies use unmarked vehicles as well as rental vehicles because they do not live in the area.
- If you’re locked out, be cautious of companies that recommend or insist on drilling or replacing the lock up front. Most experienced locksmiths have the skills and tools to unlock almost any door. If they show up to your front door with a drill in hand they don’t posses the skills of a locksmith and they are looking to drill open your wallet. This is not to say that drilling should never happen, its just a last resort after other non destructive avenues have been exhausted.
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