In an ideal world, you would just love to believe that every local locksmith company and program is reputable for all future emergencies. Driving home from work on the side of the road isn't the best place for checking out different companies, reading up on customer reviews, and verifying ALOA (Associated Locksmiths of America) membership. However, if you're locked out and have no choice but to resort to the yellow pages or internet listings, watch out for these 5 warning signs that you're about to fall for a locksmith scam. Locksmith scams are common all over the country.
Warning Sign #1: No Company Name
The first dead giveaway is when they answer your call. There are so many different company names, the person answering your call may only say, "Locksmith", without even saying the company name. Locksmiths that are fraudulent use many false business names, addresses, and phone numbers that all feed into one remote call center.
Warning Sign #2: Unusually Low Quotes
Suspiciously low price quotes over the phone or in an ad are the next indicator. It's a classic bait and switch: a local locksmith company offers you what seems like a great quote so you agree to the service based on the price. When the locksmith actually comes out, though, the initial quote turns out to cover the service call only. The actual labor tacks on another $50-$100 (or even more if the locksmith sells you on unnecessary services) to you're already climbing bill.
If you sense any evasiveness when you ask about pricing on the phone, trust your instincts and try another locksmith that offers firm quotes. Written quotes are even better. You could end up paying into $300 range just have your car door unlocked.
Warning Sign #3: Unmarked Cars
Locksmiths who show up in unmarked cars are the next indicator. An unmarked car is a major red flag because you could be dealing with a locksmith or Bob from down the road. Shady locksmith companies use remote call centers but hire local contractors who are not very good or confident at what they do, and likely uninsured. A technician that is inexperienced and naive can cause serious damage to your locks, doors, and windows.
A local locksmith company in your area that provides its technicians with tools, uniforms, and marked cars is a much better bet, not only because you're likely to enjoy better service, but also because you can hold them and the company accountable if anything goes wrong.
Warning Sign #4: Talking Up The Price
Locksmiths who talk up the price before even starting to work on your lock are the lowest of the low in the business. Ask about pricing before they begin to work on your lock. If they're already tacking on additional fees, you know you're going to be biting off a lot more than you can afford to pay. Although you might be tempted to just go along with it, keep in mind that shady, inexperienced locksmiths can damage your locks and end up costing you even more money and time.
It's not too late to dismiss this locksmith and call another.
Warning Sign #5: Drilling Your Locks
Locksmiths who want to drill your lock are the final warning sign. While there can be cases in which your lock cannot be picked and must be drilled, they are relatively rare. Legitimate locksmiths view drilling as the last resort in getting a lock open. If a locksmith works on your lock for only a few minutes before declaring that it needs drilling, he is lying to you.
Drilling a lock means you'll have to pay for installing a brand new lock, on top of the initial charge. Get a second opinion instead could save you hundreds of dollars.
Don't throw darts at the board when you call a locksmith. Trust the reputable locksmiths at Pop-A-Lock to get a low quoted price on quality services. The guarantee it will be the price you pay.