The BBB is alerting consumers about two locksmiths operating in the area: ASAP Services and 24/7 Locksmith. The BBB has received complaints against both companies for charging considerably more than the industry standard to unlock homes or vehicles. Both businesses are known to use inexperienced locksmiths who damage locks. Neither company operates with proper licensing in Kansas City, Missouri.
ASAP Services uses the website www.yourkansascitylocksmith.com, a local phone number of 913-210-1980 and a toll-free phone number of 1-855-898-1148. It should not be confused with other businesses using the same or similar names. ASAP is not a locally-headquartered locksmith. It lists a location out of Cahaba Heights, Alabama. It is also using contact information from a local company that previously used the name Able Locksmith located at 8386 Carter Street in Overland Park, Kansas. Mail to that address was returned to the BBB as undeliverable.
The company is not licensed in several local municipalities that require business licensing, including Lee’s Summit and Kansas City. No such licensing is required in Johnson County.
Between March and May of this year, locksmith and garage door repair websites nearly identical to that of ASAP Services (www.yourkansascitylocksmith.com) have been created for dozens of metropolitan markets across the country including San Antonio, Phoenix, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Portland, San Francisco, Cincinnati, St. Louis, San Diego, New York, Fairfield County Connecticut, Sacramento, Palm Springs, Honolulu, Little Rock, Sarasota, Savannah, Tampa and Tallahassee.
One of the websites, www.yourkansascitygaragedoor.com, recycles some of the exact same promotional materials as a business in Center Line Michigan called Run Local Garage door, operated by Meni Agababayev. Agababayev also operates Run Local Locksmith, which has had 232 complaints filed with the BBB of Eastern Michigan in its three-year reporting period.
Run Local Locksmith and Agababayev were the subjects of a national investigation on ABC’s The Lookout and settled a lawsuit for false advertising with the Colorado Attorney General’s office. The BBB sought comment from Agababayev but was unable to locate him and the business did not respond to our requests for additional information.
The BBB spoke to one complainant, Parker Janssen, who recently hired ASAP Services to unlock the trunk of his BMW. The company damaged the trunk lock, which damaged the key, rendering the vehicle inoperable. Janssen incurred repair costs and tow costs. “I involved the BBB to maybe prevent this from happening to other people,” Janssen said.
The BBB contacted Greg Brandt, President of the Missouri-Kansas Locksmith Association in Kansas City and owner of Brandt Locksmith, about the complaint. “Unlocking a BMW trunk is specialized,” he said, “but a qualified locksmith responding to that situation should be equipped to deal with it properly.”
ASAP Services did not respond to Mr. Janssen’s complaint.
Another locksmith operating in the Kansas City area, 24/7 Locksmith (aka Alpha Locksmith), is locally operated by Eyal Lugassi. The Missouri Attorney General filed suit against Alpha Locksmith and Lugassi for advertising and quoting low amounts and then charging more. Lugassi settled the charges in 2012 by agreeing to pay restitution and penalties. 24/7 Locksmith has had seven complaints in the BBB’s three-year reporting period, six of which were within the past year. The company did not respond to three of those complaints.
The company advertises “$15 Service Calls” on their website as well as over the phone. The final price for service is never as low as $15 and the company does not give accurate quotes over the phone, despite it being standard practice within the industry. Reputable locksmiths will give the consumer an idea of how much a job will cost.
When asked about quotes given over the phone, Brandt says, “The consumer should have a fair idea of the range of cost before the locksmith responds. In special circumstances, consumers should be informed of any additional cost before work begins.”
He adds, “When the technician arrives, confirm the price before any work begins.” He explains that if the tech is on site, he should have a good idea of the work involved and would have a hard time justifying an increase in price after having just confirmed it.
If possible, have a trusted locksmith in your cell phone’s contact list before you need one. Ask friends and check out reputable locksmiths on BBB.org. Also check for a Missouri Kansas Locksmith Association membership at http://www.mkla.org
The BBB also recommends that consumers follow the tips below if locked out of your home or vehicle:
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 whether you will be charged extra for needing their services in the middle of the night or if there is a charge for the mileage 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. Never sign a blank document to authorize work.
Check Credentials. Be sure that the locksmith 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 also will request to see your identification to make sure it’s actually your property they are doing work on.
Save The Locksmith’s 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, keep the business’ name and information stored in your wallet or cell phone in case their services are needed in the future.