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

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