Bait and Switch, It’s what they do…
These so called “locksmiths” who do little but prey upon the unsuspecting public.
Its late at night, you lost your keys..or had to fire an employee..or maybe broke a key off in your front door lock. So you go to your computer,or smart phone, or maybe even a phone book to look up a locksmith.Thats how it starts. You find an ad that says Fast, Immediate, Anytime Service, only $20.00..and right in your area of town!….Really? Can you believe that? Many people do, and that 20 dollar service ends up costing hundreds of dollars. Bait and switch.
Its almost impossible to avoid. These questionable companies take out hundreds,upon hundreds of ads, telephone numbers ,and blanket the areas with false , made up addresses.. while all the calls get routed to a broiler room call center in who knows whereville. It is all very carefully designed to fool you, and out number the legitimate locksmith. So, what can you do?.. Check the ads carefully, look for a address, see if any accreditations are listed, like the Better Business Bureau , or Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) ckeck the company name; then google the name and address, find customer reviews…take a few minuets to get an idea about the legitimacy of this company.
When you call ask for the company name, do not settle for “locksmith” or “answering Service”….ask for the address of the company,and where the tech is dispatched from. Do they have clearly marked vehicles and proper ID. A legitimate locksmith wont have problems with any of these questions.Make sure the answers you get match what you already found out in the ad..if things don’t match or seem fishy, guess what? Betcha they are fishy.
Understand you will not get a professional locksmith for Twenty dollars., the scammers will say its 20 to come out, and try to leave the conversation at that point. Make it a clear point that you will need a complete written estimate before allowing any work to be done, and never, ever give a credit card or payment before the work is complete. When the locksmith shows up, check them out, look at the service vehicle…check the tag, is it local? In State? Is there a company name, and does it match the company you called? Ask the tech for the company name and a business card or company issued ID, Also again state that a written quote is needed before the work starts. Any demand for cash only is also a huge danger sign. DO NOT allow any work to commence without a clear and final estimate in hand . If things become uncomfortable, or you encounter resistance when asking questions, ask them to leave, many scammers get threatening and demand payment..at this point call the police..you owe them nothing for simply showing up, especially if its not the company represented to you in the ad that attracted you.
It is unfortunate that the telephone companies and search engines enable the misrepresentations of our Trade… The consumer is now tasked with the process of due diligence when choosing a service company of any type.. A little time spent investigating can save money, time and headache.