Locksmith Scam Alert

Locksmith Scam Alert

The recurring locksmith scam is on the rise again. The scam starts with a customer being quoted an extremely low price for a locksmith service over the phone. Once the service is performed, the scammer charges a much higher price, usually hundreds of dollars more. If the customer does not pay, the scammer then engages in threatening behavior to intimidate the victim into paying.

The Better Business Bureau recommends these seven tips when hiring a locksmith:

Critique their advertising
Look closely at their advertisements. Is the specific name of the business clearly identified? Does the ad look similar to other ads but have a different name? Does it appear that the dealer actually operates under several names? If a company answers the phone with a generic phrase like “locksmith services” rather than a company-specific name, be wary. Ask for the legal name of the business. If the person refuses, call another locksmith.

Ask questions
Most consumer complaints concern fees that were not disclosed when they called the locksmith. Ask about the cost of a service call, mileage and parts before you agree to have the work performed. Get an estimate before any work begins, including emergency service. If the on-site estimate doesn’t match the price quoted on the telephone, have the job done by someone else.

Check identification
Most legitimate locksmiths will arrive in a clearly marked vehicle. The locksmith should be able to show you with their identification along with their business card.

Does the lock have to be damaged?
In the case of a home lockout, be wary of a locksmith who insists on drilling the lock to open it. A professional locksmith should be able to open most locks without having to replace it, unless it is physically damaged.

Demand an invoice
You can’t dispute a charge without proof of how much you paid and what you paid for. Insist on an itemized invoice that includes parts, labor, mileage and service charges. The invoice should also include the business name and address.

Find out about insurance
Ask if the locksmith is insured. If your property becomes damaged during a repair, insurance is important to cover your losses.

Use a safe payment method
Use your credit card to pay for locksmith services for added security. Credit cards carry the most protection should you need to dispute the charge later.

If you have a complaint against a locksmith or any other professional or business, file a complaint at http://bbb.org.

The best locksmith advice? Do your homework first – when it isn’t an emergency. Check with the BBB today for a reputable locksmith, and then keep their telephone number as a contact in your cell phone or in your purse or wallet.

If you are locked out of your car, call your auto insurance or roadside assistance company first. It may have a list of recommended locksmiths or may offer locksmith services as part of the service

The Perfect Gift for the College Bound

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The Perfect Gift for the College Bound

School is almost back in session and students across the country will soon be packing up their cars and heading off to college. If you are searching for that perfect gift for the college-bound kid in your life, why not put together a roadside emergency kit?

“A roadside kit is easy to assemble, not too expensive, and could be a life saver in the event of an emergency,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “While it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected while on the road, the best option is to avoid breakdowns and car trouble wherever possible. Performing basic maintenance and observing a regular service schedule can help avoid unforeseen road emergencies.”

Some suggested roadside emergency include:

– Jumper cables
– Emergency flares
– Flashlight with batteries
– Blankets and extra clothes
– Non-perishable snacks and bottled water
– First aid kit, including essential medications
– Portable USB charger to keep the cell phone running even if the car is not
– Ice scraper, snow brush and small shovel for driving in areas with winter weather

Of course, another great gift idea is an upgraded car from Honda Oakland. For information on our pre-owned vehicles, please give us a call at (866) 300-4805

Why Car Batteries Fail

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Why Car Batteries Fail

The average life of a battery is four years. Here is a quick cheat sheet on what causes battery to die and signs your battery is getting ready to fail.

The top three reasons a battery dies:
– Old age (the most common reason)
– Heat
– Corrosion

The most common ways batteries are drained are due to:
– Leaving your lights on
– A faulty alternator

If you turn the key to start your car and:
– Nothing happens
– Cranks slowly
– Lights dim
These are common signs that your battery is dead or having trouble.

If you have questions about your battery or need to schedule a service appointment, please give us a call at (866) 300-4805.

Avoid The Hot Seat

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A New Way to Avoid a Hot Seat

Have you ever climbed into your car after it has been baking in the sun? Ouch! The steering wheel and seat can really heat up. If you don’t carry a sun screen in your car, we have a great alternative… simply open an umbrella and use it to cover your steering wheel and seat. When you return, fold up the umbrella and put it away, and you’ll be ready for the next day, rain or shine.