If you’ve ever been in a situation when you’ve been locked out of a vehicle or your home, you know how vulnerable you are. Even if you’ve never experienced this yourself, you can probably imagine what you might be feeling. For many reasons, not being able to gain access to your home or car can create feelings of urgency, of frustration, even of desperation, and that is exactly what locksmith scammers are counting on.
Of course, the best way to avoid being scammed is to be prepared, and that means having a locksmith on your side in advance, just as you have an insurance company, a mechanic, a physician… It isn’t something people generally add to their to-dos list but taking the time to research and vet professionals like locksmiths, HVAC companies, plumbers, electricians, emergency clean up companies and the like and just keeping their numbers recorded somewhere for just in case, can save you time and effort, and the fallout of a scam, when something does go wrong.
Because most of us are not that prepared, in fact, I’d be surprised if anyone told me they were, here are some other things to keep in mind when you seek out that much needed emergency locksmith.
If it’s too good to be…
I know you know the rest of that but really, if it’s too good to be true, it won’t be. Residential and commercial property locks aren’t designed to be picked easily. That’s kind of the point. Anyone who is offering cheap locksmith services, services at a price that seems too good to be true, or ‘a sale’ on services, is likely using that low price to get themselves to your door so they can then tell you it costs more.
Remember that the cost of a locksmith is based partially on parts that may need to be replaced and partly on the average time spent to gain access. If someone is offering a deal, you have to wonder “are they really paying their staff less during the period of the deal, giving away their profits just for a one-time customer?”
Do some research
Certainly, there is going to be some urgency when you’re locked out and you’re not going to feel that you have the time to really research a company to be sure of their credibility. Fortunately, though, today’s quick Internet searches do make it possible to check for red flags. Before you agree to do business with anyone, check them out with your local Better Business Bureau and do a quick online check with the words scam, rip off, and complaint to see if anything comes up.
Check even at the door
It isn’t too late to say no, even once they’re at your door. A reputable company will have a fleet of marked vehicles, or at least signage on a vehicle that tells people who they are. Really, that’s one of the ways they get additional business – by being seen around town; by being seen helping neighbours.
If they aren’t wearing a uniform or don’t have clothing that identifies them as working for that specific company, ask for identification; something that will both confirm and prove who they are. Even if the company they are working for is perfectly legit, not everyone is in the business for the right reasons and if something goes wrong, or if the worst case happens and you are broken into in the future, you want to know who was at your home. Check their identification and write down their name.
It may be something you hadn’t considered but remember, in hiring a locksmith, you’re hiring someone to break into your home. The information they gain access to, about alarms, kinds of locks, and so on, could potentially be valuable to someone looking for the perfect future crime.
Take advantage of the benefits of credit cards
While some companies will insist they only take cash or cheque, paying this way, the money is out of your hands as soon as you turn it over. With a credit card company, if something does go wrong, you have the opportunity to dispute or challenge the charge before you have to pay.
Most locksmith companies are likely highly reputable, but even one scammer is too many. Make sure you take precautions so you don’t end up a cautionary tale someday.
This information was brought to you by Northern Group Locksmith, a well reputed locksmith company in Toronto, with more than a decade of experience, and hundreds of satisfied customers, we take pride of our profession.