Locksmith bait and switch scams

Well over a year ago we wrote about phony locksmiths ripping off consumers. Unfortunately these scams continue to happen every day all across the US. The signs to spot these rogue locksmiths are still the same: no business cards, no marked car, no uniform. The locksmith, often unlicensed and untrained, plays a bait and switch game with the consumer that really is nothing but a scam.

These shady characters take advantage of a bad situation when a person finds themselves locked out of their home or car. In desperate need they call a locksmith that hooks them with a low-ball quote which suddenly doubles, triples or sometimes even quadruples. If the consumer refuses to pay the inflated price, the deceptive locksmith holds the keys hostage until they get paid in cash.

To avoid getting ripped off, the Better Business Bureau offers these tips:

Pay attention to the vehicle. Generally, locksmiths should arrive in a marked service vehicle or van that clearly states the business name.

Ask for identification. A legitimate locksmith should provide you with their identification, usually in the form of a business card or invoice with the company name on it. Identifying information should also match the name on the service vehicle.

Get an estimate. Find out what the work will cost before you authorize it. If the locksmith quotes you a different price upon arrival, do not allow the work to be done.

Demand an invoice. You can’t dispute a charge without proof of how much you paid and what you paid for. Insist on an itemized invoice that includes parts, labor, mileage and service charges. The invoice should also include the business name and address.

Find out about insurance. Ask if the locksmith is insured. If your property becomes damaged during a repair, insurance is important to cover your losses.

Pay with your credit card to pay for locksmith services. Often credit cards have built-in fraud protection.

Ask to see their locksmith license. Connecticut is one of the 15 states requiring locksmiths to be licensed. The other states are: Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Watch the KOMO 4 News report: Rogue locksmiths overcharging customers.

Jim Arsenault is a Connecticut licensed Master Locksmith with over 30 years experience. He’ll repair or install a new lock at your Connecticut home or business and you’ll always be charged a fair price. Email Jim or give him a call at 860-678-9797.

One thought on “Locksmith bait and switch scams”

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