Find a Locksmith Without Being Scammed

June 15, 2010

Locksmith scams are designed to take advantage of you when you’re vulnerable, locked out of your car or house.

Apparently locksmith scams are a big problem around the US, typically they quote you one price when you call, then charge you double or triple once they’re done with the work.  It sounds like a basic bait-and-switch trick but some companies have created systems that allow them to cheat and decieve people on a larger scale.

These companies advertise local locksmith services in print media and online but when you call the number, your call is routed to a central phone directory.  The operator gives you a price quote and then dispatches a local locksmith to your home or car.

What you don’t know until it’s too late is that the local locksmiths they partner with will charge you exorbitant prices, twice or three times what you were quoted on the phone.  Of course, many people balk at paying that much when they were quoted a much lower rate.  At that point, some of these scammy locksmiths get very aggressive about insisting you pay.  Many times they’ll threaten to call the police if you don’t pay.  Another common technique is to follow you to the ATM and stand behind you while you withdraw the hundreds of dollars they charged you.

The tricky thing about these scams is that they get you in a time of need.  For example, you locked your keys in your car or someone broke into your house and you need to put in new locks.  Of course, not all locksmiths operate like this but there have been a growing number of similar scams over the last few years.

I wasn’t actually aware this was a problem until I read about people’s troubles finding a locksmith in the monthly Angies List magazine.  They offer a few tips for avoiding locksmith scams:

  • Before a locksmith begins work, ask again for an estimate of services and parts.
  • Beware of locksmiths who won’t provide identification or specific information about their employee.
  • One of the simplest ways to get a lock open is to drill it out, but it’s also the most expensive for you.  Be wary if their first suggestion is to drill it out, most experienced locksmiths won’t need to go to this extreme.
  • Ask the locksmith about their state license.

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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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3 Responses to Find a Locksmith Without Being Scammed

  • James

    these are all good tips. it is good to have some background information on some basic does and donts in the locksmith world.


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