How do I know I am getting a quality locksmith?
A situation that many of us face in the profession a lot is when a customer gives us the following scenario:
"I had someone come out from a company that told me it would be $20 and they couldnt get my walmart lock open and drilled it out and wanted $200+ and cash only"
Now this is a sensitive subject for most of us that work in this business (see my prior blog on locksmith scammers)
MOST of us in this business work very long hours helping people out and have a very dedicated moral code about not taking advantage of those in need of our services. However we still run across bad businesses that are out to poach people for cold hard cash daily.
So you called a out of state company because you thought they were local, they immediately tell you that you have to get your lock drilled and you say sure because heck, you dont know enough about picking locks to determine if this is realistic or not in terms of what should be done, I mean, they pick locks in the movies all the time right?
Well yes and no. Any properly equipped and trained locksmith in Spokane will be able to handle a very very large majority of lockout situations. Anything that is off the shelves of a big box store or hardware store can easily be defeated without damaging your lock. We may get a wild lock every now and then that does not want to comply, or something thats older than dirt and barely functioned to begin with, but if you are drilling out more locks then you have fingers in a year you should consider another profession.
So back to the topic of, is this normal?
The answer is an astounding no.
Locksmiths do not like to drill locks for several reasons. They make us look bad and sometimes drilling can take longer than expected depending on the installation and lock type. Here are a few tips to help you identifying these less than honest businesses.
Did they show up in a clearly marked service van/truck with the ORIGINAL company name you called?
Did you get a clear flat cost on the unlock over the phone?
Was the call answered by a dispatch service or the actual locksmith?
Did the person that answered the phone just say "locksmith service"?
Did the person showing up and insist you sign a document for more than you were quoted before the work begins without any proper explanation other than the original cost was their "minimum"?
Were they hasty to start drilling and offer you a replacement lock at a much larger price tag?
If you answered yes to these or some of these then you were probably dealing with a scammer. Dont be mistaken, there are very real situation where some locks have to be drilled:
Smart Key Systems
Stuck Back Sets
Patended High Security Keyways
Rarely does the locksmiths skill come into play when it comes to why a lock needs to be drilled other than inexperience or inability on behalf of a scam locksmith with no formal training and only months of field experience.
If you are uncertain or have a gut feeling something isnt right ASK THEM TO LEAVE.
Remember, just because the property is unlocked and payment was requested for much much more than originally told over the phone (bait and switch) doesnt mean you have to pay it, request they close and lock the door right away and refuse payment, it is your legal right. Yes, you may have to wait a little longer for a real locksmith to come along but your wallet will thank you as well your lock.
And as always, make sure to dial River City Locksmith in to your phone for emergency service 24 hours a day so you arent one of the 100's of thousands of people every year that get conned by locksmith scams.