From the revolutionary dawn of the internet to the waning use of the YellowPages, locksmith scams have been around since the Gordian Knot.
Thriving off the ill informed, many of these companies have pierced the industry with misleading advertisement campaigns (paid ads in search results) resulting in you the customer becoming the victim. With catchy websites promising unrealistic service fees and impossible arrival times, they lure you in only to be taken advantage of.
Here’s an Example to Avoid
An example being: $24 service fees, 15 minute response time, and no hidden fees. This is the hook line and sinker scenario. Once on site they have legally obligated you to a service call fee, and with some companies, labor for drive time; all of which are not disclosed to the customer until the job is completed.
These companies are charging customers anywhere from $150-$200 for simple automotive lockouts. As for residential and commercial work, their motto is “repair nothing, replace everything.” What would be on average $150 to rekey a modest home has now become anywhere from $500-$1000 plus depending on the hidden labor fees and unnecessary hardware costs.
My Advice to You
I have been a locksmith for over 25 years now and would like to provide you with a list of tips to avoid these prominent scams and to restore your confidence in an industry that stands for security and peace of mind:
- Stay away from companies advertising $15-$24 service fees (the average cost of a service call is $75 for residential and commercial work, the average cost of an automotive lockout is $65-$85, the average cost of a residential lockout is $85-$100).
- Demand a complete written estimate. Shop and compare prices.
- Do not depend 100% on written reviews (they can often be solicited).
- For automotive and residential lockouts, be sure to get a flat rate over the phone. Once the technician arrives, ask to have the invoice written and signed by both parties before the technician unlocks your car or house. If you are asked to pay more than what was quoted, do not be bullied into paying the service fee. Ask the technician to leave (before the work is completed) this relieves you of the obligation to pay the service fee.
- The most important factor in avoiding locksmith scams is to make sure you are working with state licensed locksmiths. The State of Texas requires ALL locksmiths to be licensed, which includes an FBI background check and extensive vetting.
If you would like to get advice or inquire about any of your locksmith needs, feel free to leave a comment or email us your questions or call 972-914-9446 and one of our locksmiths will contact you within 24 hours.
I recently bought a commercial building, and for safety and security purposes, I want to replace the locks to ensure no one else has a copy of the key, especially the previous owners of the building. It was quite a helpful tip when you informed us that the average locksmith service costs around $75, which is why we should avoid companies advertising their services for as low as $15 to $24. I’ll be sure to bear this in mind while I look for a commercial locksmith company to hire soon.
I am so glad our information was helpful, just make sure you get full pricing up front before they begin any kind of work. The companies that will rip you off will quote you one price over the phone and then drastically increase the price once on site and they have already started working. You have the right to ask them to leave if they have not started the work.
This is some really good information about locksmith scams. It does seem like a good thing to get written estimates. That does seem like a good way to prevent over paying for a locksmith.
I appreciate all the advice you give in this article. I have been locked out of my home myself, and I think these tips would have been really helpful then! Making sure that they are a state licensed locksmith is a really important step — do not forget to do that! I did not know that written reviews are not 100% dependable. Thanks for the information!
Thank you for the feedback on this article with all the information out there we felt it necessary to share what we see as a result of some of these do it yourself options. As for the online reviews, while they are helpful and platforms such as Google and Yelp go to great length to make sure the reviews are valid, sometimes a company can manipulate their reviews by having friends and family leave them.