If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you need the services of a locksmith then the last thing you need is a scammer posing as a locksmith looking to take advantage of your misfortune…
When you can’t gain access to your home or business, whether you’re locked out or your lock has broken, you need the help of a professional, trustworthy and legitimate local locksmith that can assist you.
Unfortunately, locksmith scams are on the rise. And it seems to be growing more and more difficult to find a reliable locksmith these days.
To help keep you and your property safe, we’re here to share our top tips for How to Find a Reliable Locksmith! We’ve put together a helpful guide full of things you should look out for and things you should avoid – check out our guide below.
Common Locksmith Scams to Look Out For
We’ve been providing locksmith services for over 20 years, and in this time we’ve seen numerous scams bring harm to customers and damage the reputation of our profession.
Bait & Switch
The classic bait & switch! This trap involves ‘locksmiths’ advertising services for dramatically reduced costs to entice customers; however, when you come to pay your bill the costs just keep going up and up. Adding on costs here and there until the final bill is about 5 times higher than the price originally listed!
Overcharging for Cheap Hardware
As a locksmith, your top priority should be ensuring the safety and security of your customers and their property – and part of this is fitting high-quality, secure locks. Unfortunately, scam artists will tell their customers that this is what they’re fitting when in reality they’re installing the cheapest, poorest-quality part they can get their hands on to increase their profit margin. Then you’re left to pick up the pieces when your new flimsy lock breaks after two weeks!
Unnecessary Destructive Entry
All properly trained and genuine locksmiths will always do their utmost to gain entry to your property in a non-destructive manner. Whereas scammers will find any excuse to destroy a lock so they can then charge you for additional installation or replacement services – as well as the charge for the new part. Unfortunately, many customers are unaware of such tactics and said ‘locksmiths’ often get away with it!
How Can You Tell If a Locksmith is Genuine?
So, how do you protect yourself from such scams? Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can look out for or avoid when finding a locksmith to help you…
Reviews & Testimonials
One of the easiest ways to check whether a locksmith company is genuine or not is to look at what other people are saying about them online. If a company has plenty of reviews dating back a considerable amount of time, then it’s highly likely that they’re legit.
Take care and steer clear of any locksmith companies using fake reviews. You’ll be able to identify this easily as they’ll all be very similar and unnatural – they won’t sound like they were written by real people.
For a wider impression, try searching the company name online and check out any reviews people may have left for them elsewhere, i.e. business directories, trade comparison sites, etc.
Word of Mouth is also a great way to find a genuine locksmithing company in your area. Ask around your friends and family for any locksmith recommendations to give you peace of mind.
Are They Really a Local Company?
In recent years, we’ve noticed more and more national locksmith companies pretending to be smaller, local businesses in order to drive business. So, when you give your ‘local locksmith’ a call, you’re really speaking to someone in a call centre who will then outsource your job to someone else.
So, not only do you not really know who’s actually going to turn up at your door, but you’ll also end up paying more in total for the work carried out so the national company can benefit! More often than not, the national companies won’t carry out any sort of vetting on the people they’re outsourcing to – leaving you to suffer the consequences.
We recommend looking for a business address on their website and cross-referencing this with the one listed on their Google My Business profile. Look out for phone numbers with your local area code – any giveaways that they’re actually local should be seen as trust signals!
Ensuring you pick a locksmith that’s based nearby will also mean you can reduce your waiting times. You don’t want to be waiting for your locksmith to drive 2 hours across the country to help when you’re locked out in the cold!
Does It Sound Too Good To Be True?
If a company is listing their services for prices that just seem too good to be true, then it’s likely that they are. Let’s be realistic, you’re never going to get a door lock replacement service for £20!
You’ve got to trust your gut; if it sounds unrealistic, then it’s probably a scam. Steer clear of locksmith companies advertising ridiculously cheap prices or you’ll be stung with much higher bills further down the line!
What Services Do They Provide?
This point is less about avoiding scams and more about ensuring you find a local locksmith that can help you in your specific situation…
If you’ve locked yourself out of your brand-new electric vehicle, then you’ll need a specialist Auto Locksmith to help you gain entry. Similarly, if you need a simple lock change service or a key cutting, there’s not much use going to a specialist safe locksmith.
All reliable locksmiths will share the services they offer and if it’s something they don’t do, they should let you know it’s out of their remit and/or refer you to someone who can help.
Are They Accredited?
Technically the locksmith industry isn’t regulated, meaning anyone could claim to be a practising locksmith. However, there are locksmith companies out there that are invested in delivering top-quality service to their clients. Though not required by law, these companies invest their time and money into becoming accredited locksmiths.
We strongly recommend finding a locksmith company whose locksmiths are accredited by well-known awarding bodies like City & Guilds or NCFE. Then you can rest easy knowing that your job will be carried out by a fully trained, experienced locksmith who knows what they’re doing. But be careful not to fall for fake accreditations!
It’s also worth looking out for locksmiths who are DBS checked. We recognise that some customers are dubious about strangers gaining access to their homes or dealing with strangers when they’re in a vulnerable position. Fortunately, most locksmith companies realise this too and will make sure that their staff members are DBS checked for your peace of mind.
Which Locksmith Should I Pick?
A good rule of thumb for all service-based industries is to get three quotes from local, suitable companies. Then you can get an idea of what you’ll be paying, as well as a rough estimate of the time that they could be at your property. If it’s an emergency you might choose the locksmith that will get to you the quickest – but be careful they don’t overcharge you for doing so!
You can also steer clear of any companies offering a surprisingly cheap price for their services, while it might sound tempting in the moment, it could mean they’re cutting corners, using cheap, low-quality products, or they’ll sting you with additional costs at the end!
Calling different locksmith companies also gives you the opportunity to see how they represent themselves, i.e. do they answer the phone using their actual business name? Do they sound genuine with great customer service?
If you’re looking for a reliable local locksmith in Wakefield, look no further than Wakefield Lock & Key. Simply call today for a free quote on 01924 378 444 and we could be with you within the hour – no scams involved, just honest effective locksmithing for all!