Following on from our report yesterday that anyone can call themselves a locksmith, reports in the last week coming from two separate American states (the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs and KSL News in Utah) focused on a growing locksmith scam which relies on exploiting those in need of an emergency locksmith.
The scam involves individuals calling for help from a locksmith and being led to believe that the company is a local one, which invariably is not the case. More worryingly, the quote given over the phone at the initial point of enquiry is wildly inflated by the time the customer receives the final bill for only a few minutes work. In the example in Utah, the scammers are passing themselves off as other local locksmiths so as to avoid any backlash. A ‘locksmith’ in the UK was jailed for four years in 2010 for using the same bait-and-switch tactics.
This highlights the need for customers to be absolutely sure of exactly which company they are contacting before employing locksmith services of any kind. We have a number of suggestions on how to prevent becoming a victim of like minded scams:
- Forward planning of what to do should you lock yourself out of your home would be very wise. Having a reputable locksmith’s number stored in your mobile will avoid making a hasty and potentially very expensive decision regarding which company to call should the need arise for their services. Alexandra Locksmiths can be contacted on 020 8883 1555 or 020 8364 2000.
- When you call, ask for the company name and make sure it matches the name of the company you think you are calling. Be wary if they answer with something vague such as “Locksmith Services” or “Local Locksmiths”.
- Are the company you are calling a member of the Master Locksmiths Association? Being an MLA member means that the person arriving on your doorstep will have been vetted, trained, subject to Criminal Record checks and regular inspections. Alexandra Locksmiths are MLA members – our licence number is 002809.
- Beware of a quote that would seem too low. Of course, given the current economic climate, everybody wants to be assured of value for money and we at Alexandra Locksmiths share that view. However, don’t be tempted to risk the safety and security of your home on what initially seems to be a bargain price, when actually the final invoice equates to a huge bill for inadequate work. Alexandra Locksmiths will always quote ahead of any work required so the customer will not be faced with a nasty surprise of an over inflated bill on completion of any works carried out.
Should you be in the London area and require a locksmith then do give Alexandra Locksmiths a call.