Often than not, we only need locksmith companies and their services during an emergency.
Imagine returning home from a long day at work to find that your keys are lost. In such situations, we tend to make poor decisions. If you are in a dire situation and don’t have a locksmith number, you’ll panic and search for a locksmith locator near your area on Google. Typically, you’ll call the first locksmith company you see in the search engine results.
Many people have been scammed by locksmiths, taking advantage of their desperate circumstances. The questions are, Is it still possible to trust a locksmith? Is there a way to determine if these locksmith companies are legit? How can you avoid falling for these common scams?
This article will answer all of these underlying questions to give you peace of mind, so read on.
Can Locksmiths Be Trusted?
While many trustworthy and licensed locksmiths on the market, there are also fraudsters just waiting for their next victim. Fraudulent locksmiths will take advantage of the panic to defraud you. Moreover, they will often trick you into paying high-priced fees for low-quality work. They will often destroy your lock and demand that you buy a new one at a higher price and issue fake locksmith receipts after the work is done. It is best not to trust any locksmith who can’t provide proof of the locksmith company they represent.
Red flags to Identify Locksmith Scams
To avoid locksmith scams, be wary of these red flags to keep away from these fraudsters.
1. Usage of toll-free phone numbers
It is suspicious when you use a locksmith locator online and make a call to a locksmith company that uses an 800 number rather than a local number. This is often a sign that you are dealing with an outsourced call center. It can be a red flag for a locksmith fraud.
2. No registered company name
Be careful with locksmith companies who respond to calls without mentioning a registered company name. Look for another locksmith if the person on the other line declines your request to give their legal business name.
A reputable locksmith will come in a service car with a company logo and name. They will also be issued a certificate of identification. On the contrary, a fraud locksmith may come in their personal vehicle and show you a fake ID with a false company name. If you question them, they’ll make excuses. An obvious red flag that you should be aware of.
3. No set quotation and limited payment options
Reputable locksmith companies will not alter the price in their quotation. In addition, a licensed locksmith will only ask for payment if they fully resolved the problem and you are satisfied. On the other hand, fraudulent locksmiths will inflate your bill or ask for payment for substandard service.
Another effective way to spot a red flag is by asking about their payment options beforehand. Since reputable locksmiths accept payment in all forms, such as credit cards, debit cards, checks, and cash. Consistently, fake locksmiths will only accept cash payments and won’t accept debit cards. They avoid credit cards because they can be easily traced and you’ll have the chance to contest the charges.
An authorized locksmith will be able to fix any lock and not damage it. As much as possible they won’t recommend drilling your lock.
The need to drill your lock is a common excuse you will hear from these fraudsters. The scammer will start to work on your lock and tell you that it is a high-security lock installation that’s hard to unlock. Then the scammer will tell you that there’s no other way than to drill the lock. In this situation, they’ll oblige you to purchase a new lock from them and charge you with exorbitant fees. This is one of the most common locksmith scams experienced by many.
5. Hidden fees
Check locksmith reviews and recommendations in your area. Pay attention to any reviews that mention hidden fees. This will give you an idea of the average cost for locksmith services. Before you hire a locksmith, make sure you ask about all the necessary fees they’re charging you. If the price quoted seems too high, do not be afraid to ask your locksmith to break down the charges to you.
Don’t hire a locksmith who refuses to give you a written estimate before starting the job. A legitimate locksmith will give you an accurate estimate or slightly less than the actual cost. You should not be concerned if there is a slight deviation. So, if the phone estimate differs from the on-site estimate, you should consider hiring someone else because it’s a clear indication of a locksmith scam.
Ways to Prevent Being Scammed
Knowing the tricks of locksmith scams is not enough. It is also essential to avoid being scammed. Here are some viable tips you can consider as a guide.
Request a written quote indicating the maximum and minimum charges.
Do not allow a locksmith to drill your lock.
Before they start work, confirm the locksmith’s identity.
Read locksmith reviews within your area.
Hire in confidence, not in panic.
Do not sign a contract if you suspect foul play. Even after the technician arrives, you are not under any obligation to hire and pay them.
Request a receipt for the payments you’ll make.
Ask for help from the authorities if they start harassing you to pay up.
Be Safe and Secured. Choose Alpine Lock And Safe.
Being locked out of your home or car is very frustrating and troublesome.
Not to mention the unexpected costs it’ll incur to fix it, especially if you miss the red flags out of panic and unfortunately become a victim of locksmith scams. It happens to many people, but it can be prevented if you consider the tips mentioned above.
The best way to steer clear of these fraudsters is to find a reliable and trustworthy locksmith in your area, such as Alpine Lock & Safe’s Avon Locksmith who can guarantee high-quality service and affordable rates without hidden charges. Give us a call now!