FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver, BC – As far as scams go, it isn’t new. A shady ‘company’ uses the name and logo of a reputable locksmith to advertise and steal business. Locksmith scams have been on the rise for years. Many have to do with low ball telephone quotes for $35 that end up swelling to as much as $350 once the work is complete.
“This raises concerns on many levels,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “Consumers are being misled, the business does not honour the quote at all, it’s out and out trademark fraud, and now this shady operation with questionable ethics could potentially have access to your home.”
BBB Accredited Pop-A-Lock Vancouver noticed an online Yellow Pages ad with their company logo claiming to be operating in Burnaby and New Westminster.
“The logo is ripped off, and phone numbers are not ours,” says Todd Coupal, President of Pop-A-Lock Vancouver. “We do certainly do business in those areas but the ads citing those cities do not belong to us.”
A total of four fraudulent Pop-A-Lock ads showed up on the Yellow Pages website. Coupal reached out to the well-known directory who has since removed a couple of the ads, however, two others remain on the Yellow Pages website.
Beyond the obvious trademark infringement, the problem is that the quoted price does not disclose all fees and consumers may be misled about the price they would have to pay. Unfortunately, most victims do pay because they are at the mercy of the locksmith in order to get back into their car or home.
Better Business Bureau recommends eight tips when hiring a locksmith:
• Critique their advertising - Look closely at the business' advertisements. Is the specific name of the business clearly identified? Does the ad look similar to other ads but have a different name? Does it appear that the dealer actually operates under several names?
• Check their reputation - Visit www.bbb.org to verify a locksmith's reputation and any complaint pattern.
• Ask lots of questions - Most consumer complaints concern fees that were not disclosed when they called the locksmith. Ask about the cost of a service call, mileage, and parts before you agree to have the work performed. Get an estimate before any work begins, including emergency service. If the on-site estimate doesn't match the price quoted on the telephone, have the job done by someone else.
• Check identification - Most legitimate locksmiths will arrive in a clearly marked vehicle and provide identification. Remember that you would be allowing a stranger into your home.
• Does the lock have to be damaged? - Be wary of a locksmith who insists on drilling the lock to open it, since most locksmiths have the skills to open almost any lock.
• Demand an invoice - You can't dispute a charge without proof of how much you paid and what you paid for. Insist on an itemized invoice that includes parts, labor, mileage and service charges. The invoice should also include the business name and address.
• Find out about insurance - Ask if the locksmith is insured. If your property becomes damaged during a repair, insurance is important to cover your losses.
• Use a safe payment method - Use your credit card to pay for locksmith services for added security. Many credit cards have built-in fraud protection.
Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
404-788 Beatty Street
President of Pop-A-Lock Vancouver
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 365 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 108 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 6,000 complaints.