When considering hiring a locksmith, remember that it is a stranger you are allowing in your property, office, or vehicle. Unfortunately, some people pose as locksmiths to take advantage of vulnerable customers, prone to theft and fraud. The good news is that there are ways you can ascertain that you are hiring a trusted locksmith without being scammed. The following helpful tips will guide you on what questions you should ask yourself to avoid being scammed.
Verifiable Business Address
Always ask the locksmith for a business address. A fake locksmith will definitely give you a wrong address or a non-existent one. You can start by checking the business address on websites that offer matching services with the phone and address given. The number given by the locksmith should match the business address. By doing so, you will know how genuine the locksmith is and if they are locally based. It is advisable to work with local locksmiths as you can do follow-ups and even request emergency locksmith services any time of the day. Most locally based locksmith companies also work on referrals from actual customers who can attest to their great service. For instance, in Florida, the locksmith industry is expansive and flooded with many operators. Choosing a professional locksmith service can be daunting under such circumstances, but you get viable leads when you narrow down your search locally.
Recommendations & Certification of Locksmiths
If Locksmith services are regulated in your state then you should verify that the locksmith company is fully approved by state regulations or the Associated Locksmiths of America. Regardless of which state you live in, you should always check if the company has any approved 3rd party accreditations and recommendations. A serious company will gladly give you their organization number. Further, not all states require locksmiths to undergo a criminal background check. Florida is one of the states currently considering regulating the Locksmith profession to require both license and criminal background check of every Locksmith. The initiative has not been met with only positive reactions as some believe it will restrict the ability of people with a criminal past to start a new life. One in favor of the initiative is the manager of the Orlando branch of the Get-Locksmith, as he puts it, “it’s enough one person being scammed or robbed by a fake locksmith, and we all get a bad reputation”.
You have probably spotted a locksmith advert online at the top of your search engine. Not all ads are to be trusted, as most are fraudulent. The prices described in such ads are, in most cases, very tempting, with complex locksmithing tasks going for as low as $40 to $60. A rogue locksmith will try to entice you with cheap adverts that they have paid to appear on search engines. Others state a low price, but once they work on your locks, the price tends to double or triple the initial price. When looking for a genuine locksmith, always remember that cheap always costs you more in the long run. Instead, go for a locksmith service that can provide a free quotation and has standardized prices for their professional services.
Identification Should Be Easy
A genuine locksmith must produce his identification credentials upon arrival or have their work details openly displayed on a tag. They are also required to be in their official attire at all times. Their willingness to provide such details on request or their transparency in work issues is an indication that you are dealing with someone trustworthy. So if the locksmith does not provide you with identification details, you have the right to ask them to produce them. Also, a real locksmith should ask for your identification as proof that you had requested their services and that you are authorized to be on the property.
Price Quote and Invoices
Be sure to review the quote discussed over the phone. If the price appears different from the initial price, it would be better not to get the locksmith services and call the head office. The same applies if the locksmith starts increasing the price on-site. If the locksmith is vague and unable to quote accurate prices, he is not to be trusted. Others add additional charges like transport fee that was not included in the quotation price. Beware that you are being scammed. Most locksmiths will give you an invoice indicating which account to pay to. Never give money upfront unless you have certified that the person you are dealing with is genuine. A proper invoice must include some mandatory specifications so inspect the invoice.
There Are No Police Approved Locksmiths
If someone is claiming to be approved by the police then this should be a red flag to you. The important thing to know is that police do not recommend any locksmiths. They can advise using an Associated Locksmiths of America approved locksmith since they undergo a vetting process but generally, Police do not recommend a specific locksmith company to anyone.
Trustworthy locksmiths can carry out jobs for the police but will not claim to have been approved by the local police.
Company Service Marked Vehicle & Clothes
It’s not only emergency mobile locksmiths that should arrive in a car clearly displaying the company logo. Any locksmith responding to a service call should have clearly visible company details to show from which company he’s coming. His car should distinctively be marked with the company logo and name. Be cautious if the locksmith arrives in an unmarked vehicle or a vehicle bearing a different company name. The same applies to their work clothes.
Drilling your Lock
While drilling your lock is a method used by locksmiths, it is usually not the first resort. A trained locksmith will first try other methods that are non-destructive before drilling. If the locksmith starts directly by drilling, then know that he could be disingenuous unless the lock is broken beyond repair.
Now that you can identify these red flags spotting a fake locksmith should not be so hard.