Protect Yourself From A Shady Locksmith
It obviously would be nerve-racking if an unmarked van came to your home and then proceeded to go to your front door and drill a hole into the door lock. This type of occurrence can happen to homeowners who loses their keys and require the services of a reputable locksmith. A reputable locksmith will provide this type of service and many other types of services to help his clients. Unfortunately, there are times when locksmiths are not so reputable and can take advantage of a person’s misfortune.
Locksmiths who are not reputable will take advantage of this type of situation and may overcharge the homeowner. This article is going to deal with a few tips that can help you avoid being overcharged, scammed, or requiring locksmith services. The majority of locksmiths have a good reputation and provide services that are fairly priced and done well. The problem is however that there are nefarious remote service providers who pose as legitimate locksmiths and then dispatch untrained personnel.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning that many of these nefarious locksmiths choose a similar name as a reputable local locksmith. These fraudulent locksmiths will also gain customers by posting multiple listings online. There was a particular case cited by the Federal Trade Commission where a fraudulent service listed more than 30 different phone numbers. When a customer calls a fraudulent locksmith, the call is routed to a central call center in another location. The number called looks legitimate because there may be a local address but plenty of locksmith scammers use fake addresses to fool the customer.
It is important only to use a reputable and local locksmith that has an actual physical address that is real. You can do a quick web search to be assured that the addresses registered are a legitimate business. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau for their list of accredited locksmiths. Another way to locate a reputable locksmith is to go to the Associated Locksmiths of America website. There you will find over 6000 members who all must pass a thorough background check.
If you have locked your keys out of the house and cannot find them, there are a couple of ways to confirm that your arriving locksmith is legitimate. The first way is to look at his vehicle. A legitimate locksmith company will provide a van with their company name and logo printed on either the sides or the back door. In the United States, there are only 14 states that require ID showing that a locksmith is licensed. However, the Associated Locksmiths of America has a requirement that each member must carry and be ready to show their identification.
The second way discover if you locksmiths are legitimate is if he is 100% adamant that he has to drill the door lock. If the locksmith cannot pick the lock but insists on drilling it, then you should send him on his way and immediately call another company. The Federal Trade Commission maintains that a legitimate locksmith can pick any lock. Drilling the lock will obviously be easier, but it is also messier and more expensive.
When locked out of a home a homeowner may become frantic to get back inside. This will be especially true if the weather is horrible. Nevertheless, before you ask a locksmith to your home ask him to provide you with a cost estimate. They should be able to give you a breakdown of costs such as picking the lock, mileage charges, or coming during off-hours. When the locksmith arrives at your home, get the estimate in writing and check every detail before giving him the go-ahead.
The Better Business Bureau also recommends that you pay with a credit card. This will provide you proof of service if scammed. You can turn to your credit card company for a resolution if the locksmith company is fraudulent.
The key to this whole solution of being locked out is “The Key”. Always have a spare key hidden in a safe location somewhere outside of your home. This will prevent you from being locked out of your home in the first place. There is, of course, some added anxiety that a thief may discover your hiding place but if this is a concern you can leave your key with a trusted neighbor or relative.