Especially remain vigilant against the locksmith that insists on drilling into your lock because in most cases, a legitimate locksmith can open your locks without the need to drill. In all cases, drilling a lock should be a last resort with every other option explored first. How do you know when drilling a lock is necessary? You should understand how professional locksmiths like Star Locksmith tend to follow a process before they ever decide to drill a lock. It only happens in dire circumstances.
In most cases, people don’t even think about locksmiths unless they find themselves in a desperate situation. Because of the desperation, people might Google, “Locksmith near me,” and hire a locksmith without thinking, only to learn later that they were scammed. Here at Star Locksmith in Philadelphia, we understand this type of shady locksmith, and we’d like to take the time to warn the public about common tactics used.
When you go to Google, “Locksmith near me,” one of the common threads to the scam comes from how people will first Google the name of the business. Many of the con artists will use the name and logo of a legitimate business. When you call them up on the phone, however, they will often give a generic and non-specific response, such as, “Hello, locksmith services.”
In one of the versions of this scam, as little as $15 gets quoted to put the caller on the hook. After the local locksmith arrives, however, they will switch up their story and say that it will cost more, giving one excuse or another. Be especially aware of extraordinarily low price quotes. Victims often wind up paying hundreds of dollars more than what they had to as these fly-by-night locksmiths prey off feelings of desperation.
Before you hire a locksmith, first check to see that no hidden fees exist. In most cases, people complain because of how they hired a locksmith who tacked on expensive hidden fees. Locksmith services will often scam through charging unreasonable hidden fees. You should first get a written estimate before the locksmith starts the work. Do this over the phone, and if the price quoted in person doesn’t match up, hire someone else.
Let’s be clear on one thing: With the exception of special industries, locksmiths can open most locks. If they claim the lock is impossible to open and then try to sell you an expensive lock after, don’t walk, run the other direction. Many times, they will drill into the door to replace the old lock. They pretend like this lock is expensive, but in truth, it is most likely a cheap lock that will worsen your security. Making matters worse, these locksmiths will use the lock that they installed to exploit your door and enter the home later.
First, we try to pick the lock. If we can’t open it using the picking method, we move onto bumping the lock. In some cases with locksmiths, you might see them bump the lock first, depending on their preference. Let’s say that they can’t open the lock in this way either. Using their expertise, they will try any other method possible. They will look for other possible entry points like other locked doors that they could open without needing to drill the lock on the other door.
This should help you to understand how we don’t take this process lightly, and no legitimate locksmith takes drilling the lock lightly either. They don’t simply look at your lock and decide that it will be impossible to open or fiddle with it for a couple of minutes before making that decision. They follow a process. The locksmith should also never drill the lock without your consent. Warning: This is a very bad sign. No professional locksmith does this without your consent.
One of the perfect ways to fend off a scammer is to pay with your credit card. In this way, if any disputed charges come up, you can take up issue with your credit card company and you can get your money back. Paying with a credit card offers protection that doesn’t exist if you pay with cash. You can dispute any strange charges with a credit card. Meanwhile, you can use it as a warning sign if the business doesn’t seem to have credit card processing. They could be doing this for a reason. Beware of a local locksmith that doesn’t process credit cards because most legitimate locksmiths can do this.
Without proof of the charge, you will have a harder time disputing it. You should ask for an invoice that includes an itemized invoice of the parts, mileage, labor and service charges. This can help to pinpoint if a locksmith has chosen to rip you off. Along with an itemized list of the charges, the locksmith should have a legitimate business name with a business address.
You have to remember how you will be letting a stranger into your home. You shouldn’t do this lightly especially with someone who’s suppose to protect you with security. With most legitimate locksmith businesses, they will have a marked vehicle that can easily be identified by its business name. In addition, the locksmith will provide identification to ensure the maximum level of safety for all parties involved.
You have some awesome and hard working locksmiths out there who provide an essential service to people who may have locked themselves out of the home. Unfortunately, you have scammers in this field as well like with many industries. You have to exercise caution with who you choose to hire and don’t let a locksmith pressure you into something that you don’t want to do. These are some of the most common scams that you can run across.