Five common locksmith scams
This article is brought to you by the respected, trusted and experienced Leeds locksmith. For more information about the author, visit the previous link. As an unregulated industry, locksmithing is sadly prone to a lot of scams. Anybody could declare themselves a locksmith without ever gaining any experience or training, advertise on Google and scam innocent people.
A scammers’ main objective is to get as much money as possible without being caught by preying on vulnerable people. One way they do this is to pose as a locksmith and wait for individuals who are facing an emergency to come looking. These individuals are often stressed and will agree to almost any price without thinking.
To help you stay safe when looking for a locksmith, we have compiled a list of common ways a phony locksmith can cheat you out of your hard-earned money. Here are five signs of an impending scam to look out for.
1 Advertising a low fee
When you search ‘locksmith’ on Google, the top couple of results are usually ads. The scams are the ones that promise an incredibly low cost, with some saying ‘from £39’. After the work has been completed, this is then revealed to just be a call-out charge and the real cost is far higher.
Take a look at this price guide from the Master Locksmiths Association before agreeing to any work.
2. Exaggerating workload
A common scam in a lot of trades is exaggerating the extent of the work that needs to be done. For example, you hire a locksmith to cut some keys but when he arrives, he says the whole locking system needs to be updated.
Now, for what you thought was an easy job has turned into something you’ll need a payment plan to pay off.
Avoid this by thoroughly researching the work that needs to be done and the average cost of this. Then, when the locksmith tells you something else needs to be done, say you will consult another professional to confirm this.
3. Refusing to give an estimate
A common method of scamming people is upon calling them, the locksmith refuses to give a price estimate over the phone. They will use excuses such as they need to see the issue in person in order to work out a price.
Then, once they have arrived, you are far more likely to accept whatever costs they give you in order to get the job done.
4. Turning up without ID
This is a scam that can affect reputable locksmiths too. Some scammers will advertise under another locksmith’s details (address, company name and number) in order to gain the trust of potential customers before turning up and either doing a shoddy job or overcharging them completely.
These scam artists will refuse to show a company ID when asked because they simply do not have it - coming up with excuses such as they have not been issued one yet or they have left it at home.
Scams like this not only end up with the customer paying more, but also affects the hard-earned reputations of the locksmiths the scammers are posing as.
5. Charging for pins in rekeying
Many scammer locksmiths will have a basic price list that looks good, but will fail to mention any additional costs the customer could face.
One example of this is a locksmith charging per new pin, along with all other charges, during a rekeying job. If the customer doesn’t understand the process then they are far more likely to agree to these additional costs but what people often don’t know is that replacing the pins is essentially what rekeying is.
Think of it like this, paying for pins in a rekeying service is like paying extra for laces when buying a pair of running shoes.