No pun intended with the title. Okay, maybe a little.
I am reading lots of articles about crooked locksmiths. This problem has cropped up in recent years. You need a locksmith, look in the phone book or do an Internet search, and a local phone number pops up. And you think you are calling a local locksmith who miraculously can come right over.
What has happened instead is that you have been routed to a clearing house in another state that sends someone to your house who is not licensed and has no idea what he is doing. And later your house is visited when you least expect it. And with or without a key to your house.
The locksmith industry is alarmed by this trend. And necessarily!
You have become easy pickings!
The locksmith industry thinks the solution to this is CONSUMER AWARENESS!
Can I cut through the clutter and list some things you can do to be more aware? These are some things to look for when the locksmith shows up, in no particular order. If you see some or all of these things, get another locksmith!
- He shows up in an unmarked car - BIG RED FLAG.
- There is a local phone number, but no local store locations.
- He does not have the "right tools for your job."
- The business has a generic, innocuous name: Locksmith USA
- There is only one, or maybe no, local store locations.
- He demands cash payment.
- The final bill is substantially more than was quoted over the phone.
- He doesn't speak English.
- The work is shoddy looking.
- The final bill presented has a business title with an an address in another state.
- Instead of picking the lock, he recommends drilling out the lock set and putting in a new one.
My locksmiths (I use two) have many store locations in many local cities. One I started bowling with in 1987 and have used him ever since. They both have excellent reputations and are licensed. Not all states require licenses for their locksmiths. Hopefully yours does. *
My recommendation: Don't get taken for a ride. And certainly DON'T put yourself in a position to get visited at a later date by someone who is not coming over to help you with your lock problems. Do a little research and get a good guy over to your house. Not someone you will come to regret!
* Only 14 states require locksmith licensing: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Tom Branch and Gina Branch, The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs, service the greater North Dallas suburbs including Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Lewisville, and Carrollton. While Gina concentrates on traditional listings and buyer/tenant representation, Tom specializes in assisting distressed homeowners to avoid foreclosure. Tom and Gina have published two books (Achieving Rock Star Status and The Field Guide to Short Sales) and are available for speaking engagements in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. Subscribe to The Branch Team Blog.
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