How to Spot a Cheap Locksmith Scammer
Scammer locksmiths have long hurt our industry. Their tactics of price gouging, bait and switch, dishonest promises, shoddy work, and taking advantage of someone in a stressful situation makes us all look bad. Do your homework before hiring a cheap locksmith and use these guidelines and questions to protect yourself.
- When calling, ask for a firm price. Many scammer locksmiths use “starting at” or multiple prices to confuse customers into thinking they are getting a deal. Any legitimate locksmith can quote a firm price over the phone because locksmithing has no unique features that make jobs difficult to price. An auto lockout on almost every model of car is the same. Unless it’s a semi-truck or a high-end luxury car, all auto lockouts are the same. This goes for house lockouts too. There are very few situations that would make a home lockout unique.
- When the company tech shows up to your location, does he have a branded vehicle, a vehicle that identifies the company by name, logo, and phone number? Do not allow just anyone in your home to rekey your locks. A reputable company wants the customer to feel safe, so they wouldn’t send unmarked or personal vehicles to service customers at their homes. If someone shows up to your home and you do not recognize the vehicle, you should question who this person really is.
- Does the company tech introduce himself and have knowledge of your inquiry? A reputable company wants their customers to feel safe, so anyone representing the company should say who they are and where they are from.
- Does the tech use terms like “not that lock ” or “not this model car/truck”? This is the point when the locksmith scammer is perpetuating their scam. They are setting you up to increase your price. This happens all the time. The price quoted on the phone should be the price quoted at the job. Hold the tech to the quoted price or send him on his way. If he’s taking advantage of you, he’s doing it to others like senior citizens and veterans.
- Does the tech provide you with a work order that states the company name address and phone number? If not, you’re probably dealing with a scammer. What if something bad happens the next day (a lock breaks, a key quits working), make sure you have the paperwork and the information to contact the company.
- Will the company only accept cash? If the company will only accept cash, be cautious. This means you may not be able to dispute the job after the tech leaves your location. Paying with a credit card or debit card or even a check and entitles you to revisit if something is not done correctly.
- Does the company offer a warranty? Most reputable companies offer a warranty. Typically, 30 to 90 days is standard for any locksmith repairs or rekey work. If the company doesn’t offer a written warranty, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.
- There are other resources that can help you identify locksmith scammers. The internet has several articles on how to identify these scammers and YouTube has actual video encounters of scammers caught in the act.
Not all cheap locksmiths are scammers. The advice above will help you sort out the great inexpensive local locksmiths from those you should avoid.
Don’t Trust Your Security to a Kiosk
With something as important as your home and vehicle security, you need to work with a trustworthy professional. Key duplication kiosks are becoming more popular, but they aren’t as secure or convenient as they seem. Many of these kiosks store information about your keys, including the exact dimensions of each key you duplicate, on cloud servers. After a data breach, you wouldn’t just have to update your password — you’d also have to rekey your locks.
While key duplication kiosks may seem convenient, nothing beats the safety and convenience of mobile locksmithing services. At The Local Locksmith, our security experts will come to you and keep your information away from scammers and hackers alike.