As a San Diego Locksmith Company that has been in the business for several years, we get a lot of inquiries from customers about locksmith scams. Locksmith scams have been around since the earliest days of the internet, back in the 1990s.
Such locksmith scams thrive on lack of information about locksmith services, which leads to customers getting taken in by misleading advertising campaigns (in the form of pay-per-click ads on Google). There are far too many attractively designed websites that promise unrealistic fees on both residential locksmith and commercial locksmith services. They lure in the customers, who are then taken advantage of later.
An example of this is an ad that promises a $20 service fee and a 20 minute response time, with no hidden fees. This is a clear case of misleading advertising as once you are taken in by it to visit the site and sign up, you will be required to pay a service call fee, a drive time fee, a labor fee, etc., all which is not revealed to you till the job is completed.
There are many locksmith services that charge customer anything from $200 to $300 for the simplest automotive lockouts. Unless you hire the right emergency locksmith you will probably end up paying anything from $700 to $1500 on rekeying your home because of hidden labor charges and hardware costs that are not really necessary.
As a residential locksmith, commercial locksmith and automotive locksmith San Diego with several years of experience to our credit, here are a few tips we have for you that can help you identify a locksmith scam from a country mile and to avoid falling victim to one…
The following tips will help you to prevent locksmith scams.
Tip #1: One of the mistakes people make is to wait till they are actually locked out before they start looking frantically for an emergency locksmith. You should have the contact number of a reputable locksmith in your phone, wallet or purse and call them whenever you need them.
Tip #2: While looking for a locksmith service or a key making or safe cracking service, find out if there’s a physical address of the locksmith company on their website or advertisement. Look for their physical address on Google Places or other directory listings as well.
Tip #3: Call the locksmith and ask a few simple questions, such as, where are their technicians based, and they licensed? If so, can they show a copy of the license upon arriving at your location. What is the registered name of their business? Now, if they answer your questions confidently, without getting irritated or sounding nervous, then you can ask them for a cost estimate. Otherwise, if you don’t get god vibes from them, end the call immediately.
Tip #4: When you call a locksmith, you want to hear them answer the phone with their business name, not with something as generic as “locksmith service”.
Tip #5: Make it very clear to the dispatcher that you expect the technician to show his certification and ID to you when he arrives at your location. Also ask for a written estimate of the cost prior to the service.
Tip #6: Any locksmith service you hire should be upfront about the cost. They shouldn’t add extra charges later, such as for mileage, emergency hours or service calls, without telling you about it before getting started.
Tip #7: A written estimate is a must and non-negotiable. If the on-site estimate does not match the estimate given on the phone, just say no to the locksmith and don’t allow him to get started.
Tip #8: Make it a point to check the locksmith’s vehicle and to note down the license number. Ask to see their professional license.
Tip #9: Be very suspicious when the locksmith says that the lock needs to be drilled out. Any decent residential or commercial locksmith should have the tools and skills to unlock any door.
Tip #10: Refuse to pay until you’re satisfied with the locksmith’s work.