Posted on: 1 August 2016
Locking yourself out of your home, car or business can be distressing, especially when you don't have a spare set that can be delivered in a timely manner. In such cases, you need the intervention of an emergency locksmith to help you get into your house or car. There are many locksmiths around, but careful selection is important because of the sensitive nature of the trade. It isn't unheard of to have a poser coming in, offering service and then later coming to rob you since they made a copy of your keys, or charging extra once the work is done. The following are tips to help you choose a legitimate locksmith business wherever you are.
1. Taking local listed numbers and address as proof of locality
Some locksmith businesses list multiple local addresses in their directory or website listings as proof that they are local, when in essence they operate many offices in different cities altogether. It isn't enough to just go through their website to confirm that they have a local phone number and address. Instead, confirm that the address listed actually belongs to that locksmith. This is why prior research is important – without the emergency, you can visit the listed premises to confirm their physical location.
In emergencies, use Google Maps to find out whether the locksmith is listed at that location. If it's a commercial building, you can call the customer service desk. There are also websites you can use to match phone numbers and street addresses. Also check online consumer review sites to see whether anyone has used their services satisfactorily. Steer clear of so-called 'mobile' locksmiths without a street address listed in the directory/website as there's no way to verify their services – even mobile services providers should have a physical address they operate from.
2. Not confirming identity
Your vetting should begin right from the time you call in for service. A legitimate local business should answer the phone with a company-specific name; if they use a generic phrase like "locksmith services", you should be wary. Before divulging your location, find out where they are and confirm whether it's the same place listed in the directory/website. Also, ask for the business's legal name, and hang up if they refuse to answer or seem shifty.
When the locksmith comes, they should arrive in a company-marked car with legitimate company identification and insignia. In addition, a legitimate locksmith will demand for your identification to confirm that you're the owner of the house/car before beginning work.
3. Not getting service estimates before work
Locksmith services can be quoted for on phone, including work and replacement parts. Therefore, as you call in, ask for an estimated cost of labour and materials. Also ask about additional charges e.g. for night response, long-distance response, minimum charges etc. When the locksmith arrives, confirm the work that needs to be done and how much it costs. Be wary when the locksmith includes any charges you were not told about. Do not allow them to start work unless their price agrees with what you were told. Once done, ensure the work authorization form lists the work done and agreed price before signing; do not sign if blank for any reason.Share