Most locksmiths are upstanding members of the community who will happily help you out of a bind. There are the minority who will attempt to take advantage of your desperation, though. These are the ones you need to watch out for. To properly equip you with the tools necessary to spot a scam, here are a few of the common tactics these dishonest cheats will use.
Not Including VAT in the Quote
You’ll receive a quote usually over the phone for your lock. The problem is that they’ll often forget to include VAT. VAT is set at 20 per cent, at the time of writing, so essentially you’re adding a fifth onto the total bill. This is significant and by not adding it they could be influencing your ability to pay.
On a side note, they’ll often fail to include the fact that they’re going to charge you a fee for calling them out, the added cost of the materials, and the cost of labour. You can easily find your bill changing from £50 to £200.
Premium Rate Numbers
Your locksmith should be available from a local number. This keeps the phone bill nice and low and ensures that you aren’t paying more than you should. Some locksmiths will use premium rate numbers in an attempt to take more money from you, though. If you notice a locksmith using a premium rate number, forget about them and use the trusty Yellow Pages to find a locksmith instead.
Drilling and Removing
Sometimes your locksmith will attempt to turn a simple problem into a catastrophe. The lock which only needs some slight tweaking will suddenly turn into one that needs drilling and removing. This is just a way to make it more complex and lengthy so they can charge you more.
The difficulty is spotting when they attempt to do this when it isn’t necessary. The best way to avoid this is to look up the experiences of previous customers. They’ll soon post a review about it online.
Overcharging for parts when a job is supposedly more complex than it is isn’t an uncommon practice. They might pick up a lock from their van only to say it was a specialist lock which came by special order. Really it’s a standard lock they always use and it’s something you can pick up yourself at a fraction of the price.
Again, this is a dirty tactic which is hard to spot. This is where looking for a good locksmith by conducting research comes in handy.
The widespread use of the Internet has made it easy for scammers to change their company names each week so nobody knows who they are. They’ll advertise really low prices for their services. This is where they can come to your house and suddenly the price is higher than expected.
You can’t do anything about this once it happens. Your best option is to look for long-term reviews of a company. If it has very few reviews the chances are that it’s a new company and it shouldn’t be trusted. The risk simply isn’t worth it.