I’ll bet if I asked you for a list of the Top Three Things You Should Always Carry in Your Wallet (or Purse) the telephone number of a reliable locksmith probably wouldn’t be on it. Who thinks of that?
You should. Why? Because when you’re locked out of your house or broken down by the side of the highway, that is NOT a good time to start researching trustworthy companies! Like my mom used to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
For a few years now, the BBB has warned consumers about several locksmith companies which overcharge, use intimidation, and fail to give refunds or respond to complaints.
“We have encountered some locksmiths,” says Steve Cox, President & CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, “Who have made taking advantage of consumers’ misfortune part of their business model.”
For example, Dependable Locksmith – which operates under dozens of different names – poses as a local locksmith in cities across the country. They advertise in the yellow pages using local phone numbers and fake local addresses. So you may think you’re dealing with a local locksmith but at one time your phone call actually went to a call center located inNew York City. The company has since moved to Florida, and is the subject of pending action from various state Attorney Generals.
A complaint from Cleveland, where Dependable Locksmith operated under the name Superb Solutions, alleges the company showed up in an unmarked vehicle, quoted fees of $39 and $84 for separate jobs, then presented a bill for $471.
Another complaint stated that the locksmith demanded the consumer pay twice the price quoted over the phone. He offered to drive her to an ATM to get cash, but she refused, feeling unsafe.
She ultimately made out a check personally to the locksmith, who would not let her into her car until she did so. The next morning she cancelled payment on the check and filed a police report after the locksmith harassed her with continuous phone calls about payment.
“These companies are very good at posing as trustworthy locksmiths,” says Cox. “Before you find yourself…locked out of your car or house, do your research and find a truly dependable locksmith in your area.
“Ask around and always check with your BBB first to find reputable businesses.”
Portions of this article originally published in the Spokane Spokesman-Review.