Imagine coming home after a long day and realizing that you lost your keys. In such a situation, you will most likely panic and start looking for a locksmith. Unfortunately, desperation can cause you to hire the first available or the nearest locksmith without thinking about their credibility.
Usually, we think that anyone can handle such tasks, but this assumption is far from the truth. In an ideal situation, you would quickly research local locksmiths and program a legitimate one into your phone. While there are trustworthy locksmiths in the market, there is also a significant number of fraudsters. Therefore, if you are locked out, and you have no idea who to call, you must look out for these warning signs to avoid falling for locksmith scams.
- Check the Physical Address
The easiest way to confirm the legitimacy of a locksmith is to check if they have a physical address and verify that it is their actual location. Even before contacting them, check their website for an address. Also, check directory and Google listings for customer reviews. Unsatisfied customers and numerous one-star reviews are evidence that you should look elsewhere. Never hire a locksmith who does not give concrete, researchable, and adequate information about their business.
Call and ask for the registered business name and where their technicians are based. Many companies purporting to be legitimate locksmith companies are call centers. Once you call them, they sub-contract the job to a locksmith near you. They are conglomerates who can subcontract all projects, so they seek to cover large geographic areas. If the company name refers to a large geographical area, that is a red flag.
- Pay Attention During Phone Calls
Listen to how the company answers the phone when you call them. In any legitimate business, the person answering your call usually starts with their name and that of the company. Fraudulent locksmiths and call centers use generic names such as “locksmith services” instead of specific company names. Even worse, when you call back, they often direct you to a new company, and rarely will you speak with the same one twice. If you call and you do not get a specific business name, look for a different locksmith.
Another red flag that you can pick from a phone call is the number of times the company transfers your call. Locksmith call centers route your request, depending on your address. They keep passing you on until you get the person in charge of your area. Some legitimate locksmiths might need to refer you once or at most twice. Beware of companies that reroute your call three times or more.
- Check the Vehicle
A registered, professional locksmith company will provide their technicians with uniforms or name tags, tools, and a company vehicle. The vehicles have an identifiable company logo, name, and address. A technician with a marked car is likely to offer better services, and you can hold them accountable for any arising issues. Check and confirm that the vehicle is appropriately marked and write down the license number.
A regular, unmarked car signals the possibility of a scam. Scamming companies sometimes use removable magnetic signs because they conduct their fraudulent business using multiple fake company names. Be cautious if the locksmith comes in a vehicle advertising a different company from the one you hired.
- Check their Credentials
A reputable locksmith must be licensed, bonded, and insured. When you call, ensure you inform the dispatcher that you must see the technician’s identification documents and license. Additionally, you can check for accreditation by the associations of locksmiths, though many reliable locksmiths are not members. Such information is available on the associations’ websites. As part of standard locksmith procedures, a legitimate technician should ask you for your identification or other documents to prove that the car or home they are unlocking belongs to you.
- Ask Questions
Most client complaints revolve around undisclosed fees. Look for reviews of locksmiths within your area and pay attention to any review that mentions hidden charges. The research will also provide you with an idea of the average estimate for your situation. When you call the company, ask about service call fees, parts, mileage, and emergency service before you agree to hire a locksmith. If the quoted price sounds too good, it probably is. Even then, do not hesitate to ask the locksmith about potential unexpected or hidden charges.
Get a written price estimate before the work begins and avoid any locksmith that does not give you an estimate. If the technician is unwilling to provide a written estimate before commencing the job, end the agreement. A good locksmith can provide an estimate that is almost accurate, or that differs slightly from the actual cost. A slight difference should not bother you. However, if the telephone estimate varies significantly from the on-site estimate, look for someone else to do the job.
- Watch Out for Excuses
Sometimes, it is not possible to pick your lock, and it may require drilling. However, this only happens in exceptional situations. A qualified, legitimate locksmith will have the tools and skills to unlock any lock without damaging it. They will rarely recommend drilling.
Fake locksmiths are notorious for drilling locks. The scammer will work on the lock for a few minutes, then tell you that yours is a “commercial lock” or a “high-security lock” that they cannot pick. You will be safer if you do not allow them to drill it. Drilling will mutilate your lock, and you must purchase a brand new replacement. The scammer will replace your lock with a cheaper, low-quality option, but charge you exorbitant fees for the lock and installation. If they are to pick a car lock, they will claim that it is either too old (for older models) or too new (for newer models).
- Beware of Fluctuating Prices
A reputable company will not change the price they quoted drastically. If the price changes, it only varies by a negligible margin. Additionally, a reliable locksmith will ask for payment only after you are satisfied with the job. Fraudulent technicians will inflate the bill or demand payment for substandard services. Do not pay until you are happy with the result. If the person threatens to call the police, let them go ahead or offer to do it on their behalf. Their actions are unethical, they do not operate within the law, and they stand to lose the most.
Ask about the available payment methods. Find out if you can pay using a check. Fake locksmiths insist on cash payments, and only accept a debit card if you do not have enough cash. However, they avoid credit cards because you can easily trace them and you can also contest the charges.
Stay Alert, Be Safe
Most locksmith scams target home and car owners at their most vulnerable – during emergencies. Do not wait until you are in trouble to start looking for a reliable locksmith. Research in advance, and know who you would call should you need locksmith services. Keep their phone number in your purse, wallet, phone, or car. Only choose a dependable company with good reviews.
When you trust TBC Locksmiths, you are assured of a highly experienced team of fully licensed, certified, insured, and bonded technicians. We are a family-owned business offering honest, competitive pricing, and we never overcharge our clients. We are well-reviewed due to our unmatched reputation for professionalism, efficiency, and experience. Our services also come with a 90-day post-service guarantee. Whether you need a locksmith in an emergency, or you need lock installation for your new business or home, you can depend on us for all your locksmith needs.
TBC Locksmith is a professional, dependable, and affordable provider of residential, commercial, emergency, and automotive locksmith services in Toronto and the GTA. We serve clients in and around cities within 60 kilometers from Toronto, including Brampton, Mississauga, North York, Markham and Vaughan. We also service cities further on the outskirts of Toronto: Pickering, Oshawa, Ajax, Barrie, Newmarket, and Whitby. Our team of highly skilled locksmiths offers top-notch door repairs, installation of new locks, making new keys, and rekeying locks. We provide solutions for home, apartments/condos, offices, storefronts and car lockouts.
Having the right security solution for your property is critical. You need an experienced locksmith that you can rely on both for regular services, and whenever emergencies occur. We are open 24/7 and have a 15-30 minute response time so do not hesitate to give us a call. At TBC Locksmith, we have a large inventory of superior quality locksmith products to ensure that we respond to your needs promptly. We believe in delivering our promise and doing the job right the first time.
Here are some more reasons why TBC Locksmith is a great choice.
- We are a family-owned business
- We provide 24-hour availability, 7 days a week
- Our technicians are fully licensed, certified, insured, and bonded
- Our response time is 15-30 minutes
- We offer honest, competitive pricing
- We offer a 90-day guarantee
You can call us at (647) 699-0953 any time you need locksmith services for your home, office, or car. We will respond immediately and offer you the best solution.