From the revolutionary dawn of the internet to the waning use of the YellowPages, locksmith scams have been around since the Gordian Knot.
Thriving off the ill informed, many of these companies have pierced the industry with misleading advertisement campaigns (paid ads insearch results) resulting in you the customer becoming the victim. With catchy websites promising unrealistic service fees and impossible arrival times, they lure you in only to be taken advantage of.
An example being: $24 service fees, 15 minute response time, and no hidden fees. This is the hook line and sinker scenario. Once on site they have legally obligated you to a service call fee, and with some companies, labor for drive time; all of which are not disclosed to the customer until the job is completed.
These companies are charging customers anywhere from $150-$200 for simple automotive lockouts. As for residential and commercial work, their motto is “repair nothing, replace everything.” What would be on average $150 to rekey a modest home has now become anywhere from $500-$1000 plus depending on the hidden labor fees and unnecessary hardware costs.
I have been a locksmith for over 25 years now and would like to provide you with a list of tips to avoid these prominent scams and to restore your confidence in an industry that stands for security and peace of mind:
- Stay away from companies advertising $15-$24 service fees (the average cost of a service call is $75 for residential and commercial work, the average cost of an automotive lockout is $65-$85, the average cost of a residential lockout is $85-$100).
- Demand a complete written estimate. Shop and compare prices.
- Do not depend 100% on written reviews (they can often be solicited).
- For automotive and residential lockouts, be sure to get a flat rate over the phone. Once the technician arrives, ask to have the invoice written and signed by both parties before the technician unlocks your car or house. If you are asked to pay more than what was quoted, do not be bullied into paying the service fee. Ask the technician to leave (before the work is completed) this relieves you of the obligation to pay the service fee.
- The most important factor in avoiding locksmith scams is to make sure you are working with state licensed locksmiths. The State of Texas requires ALL locksmiths to be licensed, which includes an FBI background check and extensive vetting.
If you would like to get advice or inquire about any of your locksmith needs, feel free to leave a comment or email us your questions or call 972-914-9446 or 817-993-9871 and one of our locksmiths will contact you within 24 hours.