Unfortunately, the locksmith industry is full of scam artists. After all, when you need a locksmith, you may be in an emergency situation and not thinking clearly. You are in a prime position to be taken advantage of, so it is vital to understand how to quickly separate the professionals from the scammers. Here is what you should know.
Many scam locksmiths pretend to be local, but really are not. Look for a local phone number and address, and search the address online to make sure it isn’t also being used for other businesses. Pay attention to the way the company answers the phone. Many scammers use either a generic phrase such as “locksmith services” or a knockoff of a trusted local name.
Ask for the locksmith’s identification when he or she arrives. Texas, like 14 other states, requires locksmiths to be licensed. Ask for a copy of the locksmith’s license as well. Be extremely skeptical if the locksmith’s vehicle is unmarked or bears a different business name than the one you thought you called.
A legitimate locksmith should also ask you for ID or proof of ownership of the home or vehicle that needs to be unlocked. If this does not happen, consider choosing a different company.
Ask for an Estimate
It is common for sketchy locksmiths to quote unreasonably low prices, in the neighborhood of $15 to $40, over the phone. Then when the locksmith shows up, he or she claims the job is more complex than predicted and will cost significantly more. Don’t hire a company that quotes a ridiculously low rate over the phone, and always ask the locksmith who arrives to provide an estimate before starting work. Be sure to inquire about extra charges such as service call minimums and mileage as well.
Say No to Drilling
The only reason to drill out a lock is if it is a high security lock that uses a specialized key and stops bumping or picking. If you have that type of lock, you could be looking at hundreds of dollars to drill and replace it. If you don’t, though, then a reputable locksmith will not need to drill. Drilling is an easy way for shady locksmiths to run up the bill, so refuse to allow it. Note that if you are having a safe opened, drilling may be necessary.
If you are locked out of your home or car, your top priority is probably to gain access as quickly as possible. Still, to avoid being ripped off, it is important to ask detailed questions and pay close attention to the answers. Example questions include:
- Where are you located?
- How will you gain entry?
- Should I send you a picture of the lock?
- Can you give me an estimate? What are some factors that could raise the price?
- Can I pay with a credit card?
- What is the name of the locksmith you are sending?
Of course, the best way to avoid locksmith scams is to develop a relationship with a skilled, professional locksmith. Having a locksmith you know and trust on standby can be invaluable when you suddenly find yourself in an emergency situation.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are ready to form a relationship with a reliable, trustworthy locksmith, contact Texas Premier Locksmith today at (866) 948-8188.