There have been cases of numerous locksmith scammers who take advantage of emergencies to rip off car and home owners. Some locksmiths even claim that this widespread swindle is orchestrated by an organized crime unit. According to the CGA, locksmith scams are rapidly rising across the country. Not all states require licenses, which complicates the issue even further. So when looking for a locksmith in Clearwater FL, how can one be sure they’re calling a legit contractor?
To begin, one can’t judge locksmith services by sizing ads or glancing at a website. One needs to look closer, even when looking for an emergency locksmith. There are a few tips that could be of great help along the way.
To begin, one can seek recommendations from friends, relatives and neighbors. Ask the person about their experience with the contractor. Some of the inquiries to make include the price (whether there were additional charges), vehicle signage and licensing. It’s also important to note any complaints that the person may have had.
Before making contacts, one needs to check their website or ad for an address. One should then look for accreditation, such as from ALOA. After this, it would be worthwhile checking directory listings and the internet for client reviews.
When phoning the locksmith, one needs to ask whether they’re licensed and note down the registered name of the business. If there are any red flags, no further contact should be made. Some potential concerns would be firms that provide generic phrases whenever a question pops up.
If there aren’t any concerns, one can then proceed to get an estimate of the cost. Prices that are outrageously low are usually signs of a scam. One should also ask for extra costs covering things like mileage, service call minimums and emergency hours before agreeing to have any work performed. If the advertised price doesn’t match the one provided, this should be taken as a red flag.
Before booking an appointment, one needs to inform the dispatcher that the technician will need to have identification and certification. Most sincere locksmiths will come in a vehicle that’s clearly marked. Upon arrival, the vehicle’s license number should be noted down. One also needs to ask for ID, including a license where applicable.
All technicians’ credentials should then be checked out while verifying the written estimate. If they don’t agree upon initial inspection of the job, the appointment should be cancelled immediately. One also needs to have them outline what they’re going to do and why. Payment shouldn’t be handed over until one is satisfied with the estimate. If the person insists on cash, this is another signal of a scam.
If Trouble Arises
If one gets locked out, it’s important to avoid locksmiths who insist or recommend replacing or drilling the door. An experienced technician will know how to unlock most doors. If there’s any trouble or threats issued, one should contact the police.
A typical neighborhood locksmith would be professional, legitimate and reliable. The important thing is that no matter how urgent the need may be, one shouldn’t be panicked into taking impulsive steps while ignoring the vitals. Failing to do this would be likely to make one a victim of a locksmith scam.
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