Be careful who you hire, do your research, and make sure you don't become a victim.
Recently the people in the city of Madison and reputable locksmiths in the area have fallen victim to a group of untrustworthy locksmiths who are taking advantage of locked out customers in a bind. This is not happening only in Madison, but all over the country leaving customers wondering if the locksmith they are about to call is real and reputable or an imposter ready to take advantage of them in a desperate situation.
The scammers acting as locksmiths set up multiple bogus aliases for locksmith services in a major city, like they have done in Madison. No matter which one of the aliases the customer calls, the call is routed to a call center where a quote is given over the phone. These dishonest locksmiths show up in unmarked vehicles, charge for extra and unneccesary services, intimidate customers and in some cases refuse to hand over your keys until you pay the price they have inflated.
Locksmiths battle new competitor; some claim unfair tactics - Madison.com
Locked Out? Don't fall for this locksmith scam - MSNBC
What can a consumer do to ensure they are hiring a reputable locksmith?
Follow the guidelines given by the Federal Trade Comission for choosing your locksmith: The Keys to Hiring a Reputable Locksmith
Ask questions before you agree to a service.
- Find out how the locksmith plans to get your door open
- Get a firm price quote and ask about any additional costs
- Ask your locksmith if they'll have identification on them when they arrive, let them know you plan to verify it
- Check that they have insurance. Ask for their policyholder's name.
If you are planning a locksmith service, do your research
It's not always possible in an emergency situation to do your research, but if you have the time to research a prospective locksmith find out about them.
- Do they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau?
- Do they have good testimonials from previous customers?
- Are they licensed and insured? Will they quote a firm price before the project?
- Find out the quality of the materials will they use if they are replacing hardware.
- Ask if they have a physical address.
- Get references from friends and family if possible.
Be Prepared for an Unexpected Situation
Find the name and number of a locksmith that you trust and program them into your cell phone. You never know when you'll need it.