Educational Consumer Tips
Better Business Bureau
Whether you are locked out of your car, home, or need a new set of locks installed, you’ll want to be sure to hire a trustworthy locksmith. BBB suggests finding a reliable locksmith before one is needed. Refer to these tips when searching for a locksmith.
Locksmithing typically requires some type of apprenticeship, though formal education can vary anywhere from a certificate to a diploma from an engineering college. Locksmiths can have a physical storefront or be mobile. Many locksmiths work on not just locks themselves, but other existing door hardware, including door hinges, frame repairs, or making keys. Locksmiths are frequently utilized to determine the level of risk posed by a potential intruder, so that the proper level of security can be put in place to protect an individual or business.
Associated Locksmiths of America (ALoA) is an international organization of locksmiths and other physical security professionals. There is an application process, background check, and application and dues fees which must be present in order to join.
The only states that currently require licensing for locksmithing are Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and D.C.
There is no regulation in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island or Vermont.
Typical Scam Scenarios
- Announcing a low price for the fix and then raising the pice on the labor aspect of the job.
- Claiming a lock is unable to be picked, then drilling it off and replacing it with a costly "extra" lock.
- Spoofing a local, legitimate locksmith business using their address and/or a similar sounding name.
- Spoofing any local address or phone number, when your call is really directed to a call center who then issues a "mobile technician."
Tips for Choosing a Locksmith:
Ask For Recommendations. Contact friends, family members, and neighbors for recommendations of reputable locksmiths in your area. Be sure to confirm the physical address of any locksmith you find and make sure the address is actually local. Check out locksmiths at bbb.org to read reviews from previous customers. Make sure the business does not have any unresolved complaints.
Call the Business. Be wary if the business answers the phone with a generic expression like “locksmith services”. Ask what their legal business name is and if they are unable to give it to you, look elsewhere for a locksmith. Look for a business that answers the phone with their specific business name.
Request an Estimate. Before having the locksmith come to your home or car, be sure to get an estimate that includes the cost of all labor and the replacement parts for the lock. Reputable locksmiths will be able to give you an estimate over the phone. Ask about additional fees including: if you will be charged extra for needing their services in the middle of the night or if there is a charge by the millage they must travel. If once the locksmith arrives they are charging a greater price than on the phone, don’t allow them to begin working. Be careful to never sign a blank document to authorize work.
Check Credentials. Be sure that the locksmith you hire is insured so you will be covered in case the repair leads to damages. Upon arrival, ask the locksmith to provide identification, a business card, and a locksmith license if applicable in your state. It’s also important to check if the business name and logo on their business cards match the name and logo on the invoice and vehicle. A reputable locksmith will also request to see your identification to make sure it’s actually your property they are doing work on.
Save Their Information. After the locksmith has completed the job, get an itemized invoice that includes: parts, labor, mileage, and other fees and save this document for future reference. If you believe you have found a reputable locksmith, you should keep the business’ name and information stored in your wallet or cell phone in case their services are needed in the future. About the Author: Rachel Gelb is Communications and Marketing Manager for BBB serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Find Rachel on Google +.
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