Smart Ways to Avoid Phony Locksmith Scammers in Seattle

Smart Ways to Avoid Phony Locksmith Scammers in Seattle

You might not realize it, but the job of a locksmith carries with it a heavy responsibility. Because a locksmith is called out to open locks and get into people’s homes, there’s a sense of trust that goes with the position.

If you’ve ever needed to call a locksmith to your home, car or business due to a busted lock or broken key, then you’ve had to give this trust before. Even those who have no intention of breaking into someone’s house can be untrustworthy by running up prices or doing shoddy work on purpose for a quick bundle of cash. Because there can be locksmiths out there who are less than reliable, it’s important to know how to avoid being scammed by phony locksmith scammers in Seattle.

Do Your Research

Most problems with locksmiths — whether they’re trying to scam you or are just not very good — can be avoided by doing your homework. Don’t just do a quick Google search and then call the first one you see. Spend some time looking at customer reviews and researching the company. How long have they been in business? Do they have any customer rating?

Any reliable, reputable company will want to advertise their successes and customer satisfaction. If you’re not able to find that easily, that’s a huge red flag. That means you need to call someone else.

Go Local

If the phone number you are calling is a 1-800 number, there’s a chance you aren’t reaching a local place at all, but rather a call center that links to several different companies. While this does not automatically mean you are dealing with a scam, it does indicate that the company you are trying to reach will be harder to get back in touch with if there is a problem. It also makes it more difficult to establish any real relationship with them to gain a sense of trust.

Know Your License Laws

Did you know that there are currently only 15 states that require locksmiths to carry a license? This is important to understand for two reasons. First, if you live in one of those areas, then you need to check to make sure that the locksmith you hire is licensed. Otherwise, call someone else immediately. Second, if you don’t live in one of those 15 states, if someone tries to tell you they are licensed, you need to ask what kind of license they are talking about.

Get a Cost Up-Front

One of the biggest scams going is the one where a locksmith quotes a meager price and then shows up to do the job. Afterward, he or she claims that the lock is somehow more difficult, and the amount skyrockets. A variation on this scam is this; the price happens not to include any of the “extra” fees that are stacked on top of the service call.

The bottom line: getting a locksmith at your house is not always going to be cheap. And while we hope a service call doesn’t break the bank, if a quoted or estimated charge sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Get Ready to Say No

Keeping that in mind, the next thing to understand is obvious: if a locksmith shows up and tries this bait-and-switch tactic, don’t be afraid to say no. Sure, it won’t be easy. First, it will be inconvenient for you because you’ll have to go through this again. Second, you’ll most likely have an angry locksmith on your hands who insists you pay because he or she came all the way out there. But remember: you’re the customer. The power is in your hands, and if you get the impression that something isn’t on the up-and-up, you have every right to say no.

Ask the Right Questions

When you are calling a locksmith, asking the right series of questions can help with these problems. By pinning down the exact nature of the visit, a lot of the issues we’ve discussed can be avoided. For example:

-Are you a local company?

-Can I send you a picture of the lock to help with the estimate?

-Can I pay with a card, or do you just accept cash? (Cash only is usually a red flag)

-What is the name of the locksmith coming to help me?

-Does the quoted price include everything, or are there extra fees?

These are just a few of the questions to consider asking before letting someone come to your door to help. By taking the time to get all the information beforehand, you can make sure your locksmith is reliable and trustworthy.

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