Just like any other industry, the locksmith business has seen its share of scammers who take advantage of clients in trouble who are seeking locksmith services. It’s easy to fall for these scams, since there are so many big ads and impressive-looking sites online from people pretending to be qualified locksmiths. Some frauds even advertise in the Yellow Pages.
Common scams range from price gouging, shoddy work done by people who haven’t been trained or qualified as locksmiths, to real property theft, ever by stealing or making illicit copies of keys, or robbing a client when they’re not home to supervise the work. Fortunately, most home locksmiths in Charlotte NC are reputable, but there are always a few bad apples.
It’s important to get as much information about the locksmiths you’re considering before hiring anyone, in order to avoid being scammed. When you are seeking services from a locksmith service provider, always make a point of inquiring if the firm is registered with the relevant authorities if they are required to be registered in your state. For instance, in North Carolina, locksmiths are required by law to be licensed by the state, so it’s easy to tell if you’re dealing with a reputable company. This can prevent your being taken by someone claiming to be a locksmith when he really don’t know what he’s doing. Also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been problems with the locksmith in the past, and look at reviews on sites like Angie’s List and Yelp.
Some scammers use hidden charges to take advantage of you; while looking for locksmith services you should inquire about all charges up front. For instance, one should inquire about the basic charges, if there’s any travel time billed on top, the cost of the materials to be used, night or weekend charges or other extras. By so doing you can stop a company from charging you too much; scammers like to prey on female clients and senior citizens in particular.
Some Warning Signs
There are several signs that can make you know that you may be dealing with a swindler. For instance a common trend among scammers is that they arrive in an unmarked vehicle, or one with removable signs on the sides, sometimes using the name of a different company than the one you called.
Be sure to get the technician’s business card to be sure he’s from the right company; if you have any doubts, call the company to confirm who you’re dealing with. Also check his ID badge (if he’s wearing one) to compare the name to the name on the business card.
One more red flag is if the locksmith asks for payment up front. In such a case you should clearly state that you will only pay once the job is done. Of course, using a credit card is your best protection if you have any suspicions, since you can always challenge the charge if there are problems with the work after the technician has left.
Very few scams have been reported among Charlotte NC home locksmiths, but it’s always best to be wary until you get to know the company you’re dealing with.