Have you ever been locked out of your car or house? Either you can’t find your car keys or you lock yourself out of the house. The first thought is usually to enlist the help of family and friends or a spare set of keys, but this may not work. The next step is to contact a locksmith in your area.
However, before sealing a deal with a locksmith business, you need to consider the reliability and honesty of the company. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the state consumer protection agency, has found that some locksmith companies may advertise in your local phone book, but may not be local at all. Worst of all, these ‘technicians’ may not have any qualified professional training at all and could cause further damage to your property.
Check Locksmith Locality
This has been noted and reported by the FTC in the past: A company not located in your area has a name for its business that is similar to the name of other local locksmiths in the area. This company advertises in yellow pages and online directories using local addresses and phone numbers. However, in reality, there are no store fronts and local numbers are transferred to places far from your local city. Then, you may not be given a quote for locksmith services or given a fake quote. When the locksmith arrives, he or she may want more money and you feel pressured and trapped. If the locksmith only accepts cash, that is also a sign that the business is not a genuine local locksmith.
Sometimes you can detect these fake “local locksmiths” because they may have multiple lists – sometimes more than 30 lists in a single phone number. All of these lists are under different names, but the phone numbers are all directed to one central call center. There, operators, who may not be trained individuals, are dispatched to your location.
The Best Way to Choose a Locksmith Company
There are reliable and honest local locksmith companies out there. The best advice is to do your research and due diligence before you find yourself locked out or in an emergency locksmith situation. Perhaps you are thinking of increasing the security of your home by installing deadbolt locks, changing door locks and locks, or even installing a home alarm system. This is a great time to sit at the computer and research different companies. Be sure to read reviews, check if they have local addresses and phone numbers, and compare offers over the phone. Also, reach out to coworkers, family members, and friends for any personal recommendations they may have.
Once you find a reputable locksmith, store the company’s contact information in a safe place like your wallet, phone, or address book. This can save you time, anxiety and money in the future.
Tips for an Emergency Locksmith Situation
Of course, if you encounter a locksmith emergency situation such as being locked out of your car, home or office, you don’t have the same luxury to sit down at a computer and thoroughly check the legitimacy of a locksmith company. . Here are some tips for such a scenario:
If you are locked out of your car and have roadside assistance services, call them before a locksmith. Often, these lockout services are included in the membership or even at the car dealership or insurance company depending on when you bought the car.
If a company answers the phone with a generic phrase like “locksmith service,” instead of a specific company name, beware. Ask for the legal name of the business. If the customer representative does not provide an answer, contact another locksmith.
Get estimates for all jobs and parts from locksmiths before work begins.
Ask about additional costs before agreeing to have a technician come to your location. Companies may charge additional fees for answering calls in the middle of the night or for long-distance driving. Ask if there is a charge for mileage, or a minimum charge for service calls.
Never sign a blank form permitting work.
If the price set over the phone doesn’t match the price of the job when the technician arrives, don’t let any work be done.
Ask if the locksmith is insured. If your property is damaged during work, it is important for a locksmith to have insurance to cover your losses. It is important to note that 9 states require locksmiths to be licensed: Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Technicians in these states must be able to provide their license number.