Locksmith scams have been around for decades with most people having experienced some type of con in their lifetime. These scams take advantage of people who are in need and require immediate or urgent assistance as well as those who are drawn in by false or misleading advertising. Promises of low rates and fast arrival times are the most common form of these types of campaigns, especially when looking online for a locksmith company in Houston.
A prime example of this is the promise of a low service fee, normally around $24.00 which is an attractive rate. However, even if the ad states that there are no hidden fees, once the locksmith arrives, you will be required to pay a call-out fee and could also be charged for labor as well as the cost of driving to your location. These fees will not be revealed until the work has been completed which obligates you to pay.
Instead of getting a cheaper locksmith service, this results in charges that are in excess of what a professional locksmith company in Houston would normally charge – up to $200 for opening a simple car lock. Re-keying your home using one of these disreputable service providers could set you back as much as $1,000 excluding labor and material costs. This is because they will always replace rather than attempt a repair to resolve your problem.
The sad fact is that these scams are giving locksmiths a bad reputation and damaging an industry that is supposed to provide safety and security. After 25 years in the industry, we can provide you with the following tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim:
1. Too Good To Be True
Know what the average cost of different locksmith services involves. For example:
- The cost of a service call is generally $75 for residential or commercial sites.
- An auto lockout should cost between $65 and $85.
- Resolving a residential lockout should cost from $85 to $100.
Companies advertising their services at lower rates are probably scams.
2. Get A Quote
Get at least 3 quotes from different locksmiths that you can compare, even if the situation requires urgent attention. For lockouts, request a flat rate over the phone. Ask the locksmith to write out the invoice before any work is done and make sure that you both sign it. Don’t be coerced into paying more than you were quoted or than the total amount reflected on the invoice. If the locksmith will not provide an invoice before work starts, ask them to leave. This will mean that you won’t have to pay the service or call-out fee.
Be wary of reviews that reflect too well on a specific company. These reviews may be written by the company or could be paid for.
4. State Licensed
Make sure that you ask the locksmith to provide evidence that they are State Licensed. In Houston and the entire State of Texas, every locksmith is required to undergo vetting and background checks in order to be licensed.