Locking yourself out of your house or your car is not only annoying but highly stressful. In most of these instances, you look for a locksmith.
But fees charged for these services can vary widely with some locksmiths making false promises and charging exorbitant fees. Who says? Other locksmiths, that’s who.
Chris Straus, a locksmith with Great Valley Lockshop in Eastern Pennsylvania, writes on his company’s website that there are signs to look for. An unethical locksmith, he says, will offer prices that are too good to be true.
They may also demand cash for their services, be late in showing up or be unable to resolve the consumer’s problem.
Charlie Seller, owner of Highland Lock & Key in Louisville, Ky., has even worked with a local TV station to expose bad actors in the industry. He says in many cases a locksmith will quote a customer a low price over the phone, only to demand a much larger payment before the work begins.
“When calling a locksmith you have never worked with, ask what the final price will be,” Seller told ConsumerAffairs. “Also, ask for a breakdown of the charges. Is there an hourly rate?”
Seller said he charges $95 for a service call, which includes the first hour of work. He told us that he has heard from customers who were told by a locksmith it would cost $49 to open a locked vehicle, but then were charged over $100 after the service technician arrived.
Fertile ground for scammers
Straus warns that scammers have begun posing as locksmiths, charging huge fees but providing no service. Often they create websites that appear to belong to a real locksmith company.
“Unfortunately, this type of commercial identity theft is becoming more common,” Straus writes. “It’s unpleasant and potentially dangerous for customers, but it also ruins the reputation of real businesses.”
Both Staus and Seller suggest that when searching for a locksmith you should look past the sponsored ads in Google Search and consult multiple sources for reviews.