In years past there have been a tremendous amount of locksmith businesses starting. Some of these businesses are true and legitimate companies who are really looking to grow and set a foundation, yet there are some who you simply cannot trust due to false advertising, improper training or skills, and most importantly price gouging.
$15 Locksmith? Is That Possible?
False advertising for locksmiths has been a growing concern for online directories like Google and yellowpages.com. Google tries their best to fight this problem, but there are a few illegitimate companies that slip through the cracks to get to the top of the business listings so that when you look for a lock smith service online or in the phone book and you call them they entice you with a very low price over the phone. The tactics are commonly used as a “bait and switch” tactic. For instance when you call the illegitimate company someone may answer with an introduction of, “Services” or “Locksmith”. If they answer the phone like this and don’t provide you with their legitimate business name beware. Be aware. Here are some steps to avoided being scammed.
- Ask them if they are local and if they can provide you with a business license and business name and location of their business. If they are local then you can look up their business license online at the city’s business registration website they are located at to see if they are telling you the truth.
- Also the majority of lock smiths that have a legitimate business are local and family owned so If you call one that is legit then you will probably be talking to a real one, possibly the owner. The reason being is that most lock smiths learn their trade by family because that’s who they will trust most to perform their business operations. It’s all about keeping an excellent and trustworthy reputation for legitimate lock smiths.
- The number one way to avoid being scammed is by knowing a legit lock smith before you need one. Also knowing someone who has used one before who is good and trustworthy.
Some of these illegitimate companies use third party contractors to perform the tasks involved to accomplish their business. For instance, Joe is a man who accidentally locked his keys inside his truck. He then searches online from his cell phone and calls the first advertisement he sees and tells them his situation. They come by and open up his vehicle using methods not used in the locksmith trade causing his vehicle, window tint, frame, and door lock linkage damage. Then he has to pay them for messing up his truck. These third party contractors are usually getting 50% of the revenue of the total sale. The rest of the money goes to possibly another state or country.
When you call a locksmith and as he performs the service and doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing then maybe you should not use them. Tell them you don’t like what they are doing and refuse the service.
Bait and Switch Scam Tactics
Price gouging is a constant growing concern for anyone that calls on a locksmith. If you do a search online for locksmith scams you will see a lot of articles and videos on this topic. When you call one and ask for a quote over the phone a lot of illegitimate companies who take advantage of consumers will quote a really low initial price over the phone. For instance they will quote $15 to come out plus $35 to open your car. BEWARE of this tactic! The contractor will come to your car open it up and charge you more money because he is only usually getting 50% of the total sale, sometimes less. This happens all the time and people feel obligated to pay because there was no written quote. If you feel like you maybe in a situation like this and maybe possibly scammed, request a written quote before the job has started. If they refuse to give you one then tell them to go away and call someone else! If they write you one and the price is different than the quote over the phone then refuse service. They will even tell you that your door locks are more complicated so they will have to charge more. Don’t fall for this tactic. If they threaten you with the cops there is nothing they can do because nothing has been performed. So make sure you get it in writing before the job is started.