Every now and then a problem arises within an industry that causes everything to be turned upside down. The Locksmith world is no different unfortunately. In the last 20 years there has been a surge of foreign born business entities posing as local locksmiths that have one intent in mind, to get you to give them a lot of money and for no great reason.
This is an issue that we as locksmiths hold dearly because as security professionals it is important to know that when someone calls us out to there home or business or property they can trust us.
River City Locksmith is dedicated to transparent pricing with our flat fee lockouts and tightly controlled estimates. There is never a week that goes by that someone has not told us that they were conned into paying $100+ for a simple car lockout that takes a professional 1 minute or less and were often told it must be cash and must be paid in advance. There are a number of businesses that operate on this platform of "minimum" or "as low as" pricing that is strictly bait and switch tactics. These companies often have generic names and almost always are never local.
As a real local business it pains any of us to hear these cringe worthy stories of "locksmiths" showing up in unmarked vehicles or simply personal vehicles with a magnetic sticker. Once they have arrived at the customers location and before anything else, convince them that their 2002 car is such high security that it will cost 3 or even 4 times what the original "too good to be true" quote was. The truth of the matter is that these are not locksmiths but people hired often off craigslist to go out and rake in as much money as they can. These 1099 contractors have no license or insurance and no formal training. They often make a low commission percentage and must over charge to make sure they are making a living wage. Now what happens to the rest of the money? Well that ad you clicked on that appears at the top and prime spot on google? It was funded by other lockout victims that grossly over paid.
In Spokane, Wa we have 2 specific "companies" that are notorious for these practices. I am glad to go on record and state this information because it is not speculation or opinion this is fact. Pure and Simple. The first one is Northwest Locksmith, at the time of this blog there is no formal license in place for them to be operating in the city or county. Many many many customers I have dealt with over the years have voice complaints that their $50 dollar lockout was quickly turned into $150 at the hands of a technician driving a truck and carrying what looked like a bucket of tools in the bed of his truck. 24hr Lockouts is the next one, while their website shows that they offer lockouts "as low as 19.95" what they dont tell you is that these lockouts are only for children locked in vehicles with no specifics to age or time or location so this is completely in the air for how and when or if this is ever charged. Again, at the time of this blog being written there is no formal business license secured for anyone operating in the city or county of spokane for 24hr lockouts.
If you think you are being scammed or could be scammed by a potential fake locksmith you have a couple courses of action, these people hate attention, especially public. Refuse service 100% if they have already unlocked your car insist that they put the keys back in and lock the doors. A real locksmith will happily come out and provide the service quickly and at the price they quoted you. A real locksmith will not threaten to call the police or tow your vehicle if you do not agree to a 4 times price increase once they get there. And they will often be driving a service vehicle with clearly marked indicators of who they are. Your phones camera will also be of help because these guys do not want to be identified, they hate being pointed out in the media and news as scammers and will often flee if they know they risk exposure.
If you are unable or unwilling to deal with them in a confrontation situation, pay with card, and immediately call your bank to hold the charges or insist you will only pay the original quote given. Again these scammers only want money and they have no loyalty to the communities in which they run these operation.
River City Locksmith proudly sticks by our quotes and offers flat rate pricing for lockouts 24 hours a day with no hassle. It is highly recommended that you place a real local reputable locksmiths number in your phone before you need them so that you do not fall victim to the web scams that are currently being fought against through google and other search engines.