Hearing about a locksmith scam just once can make you hesitant to call a professional locksmith the next time you’re locked out of your home, car, or business. But the best way to avoid locksmith scams is knowing the warning signs. A significant portion of home and business owners don’t realize how common locksmith scams are — fortunately, the following tips can help you steer clear of some of the most common types of locksmith scams. If you’re looking for a reliable locksmith in Gainesville, FL, call Be Secure Locksmith. We offer encompassing locksmith services for your lock and key needs!
The best way to discern a locksmith scammer from a reputable Gainesville locksmith is to do preemptive research before an actual emergency occurs. If you find a local locksmith who claims to be in the area, do an online search of their address to verify the location. If a locksmith uses an 800 phone number instead of a local phone number, it might be a sign that you’re dealing with an out-of-state call center. Call the company to verify your online findings — if a company answers the phone with a generic name rather than a specific name, or if a locksmith either cannot or will not provide the business’ legal name, move on to the next locksmith.
The State of Florida is among a handful of states within the U.S. which does not legally require licensing for locksmiths. However, authentic and trustworthy locksmiths voluntarily submit themselves to regulation and have valid liability insurance policies as well as valid bonds. If you’re considering hiring a locksmith, inquire about whether their company is insured, licensed, and bonded. In addition, upon arrival, a legitimate locksmith should also ask you for identification to verify that they are providing a car key replacement or new lock installation on a vehicle or a home or business that belongs to you.
In most cases, out-of-state call center locksmiths typically quote between $15 and $40 for locksmith services — this bait-and-switch act may advertise low initial costs, but the quoted prices will often soar once the locksmith arrives. Locksmith fees vary based on the type of service requested, the location, and the company, but as a general rule, low-ball cost estimates should be avoided. Locksmith fees pay for tools, licensing costs, continued training, transportation both to and from the job, among other fees. As a rule of thumb, request a written cost estimate before any work begins, including emergency locksmith services, and avoid locksmiths who refuse to provide written quotes for services.
Another important question to ask the locksmith company regards extra charges — including for services outside of regular business hours, mileage, or service call minimum costs. Even if an untrustworthy locksmith company provides a written cost estimate, they may claim the lock is obsolete and requires replacement in order to increase the cost of service. Reputable locksmiths should be able to answer any questions about the intended repair, including how they will get into your car, home or business, and the cost of that service. If a locksmith refuses to answer your questions, they are likely a locksmith scammer.
An unmarked service vehicle is a significant red flag for identifying untrustworthy locksmiths. In many cases, unfortunately, untrustworthy locksmith companies use out-of-state call centers and hire poorly trained, unequipped, and uninsured local contractors to fulfill the requested services. An inexperienced technician can do more harm than good by causing serious damage to your locks, doors, and windows. In contrast, verified locksmiths who work for an insured and bonded company, such as Be Secure Locksmith, arrive promptly and feature clear company logos.