When you are locked out of your car or home, you are desperate for help. You need a reputable emergency locksmith and you need one now. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people out there who are eager to take advantage of your situation. Some unlicensed locksmiths have no problem charging customers several times the going rate for their services. Fortunately, there are ways you can avoid locksmith scams as long as you can set aside your panic and approach your problem with a clear head.
One of the first things you need to do is get an estimate for the locksmith services. An extremely low estimate of $20 is a red flag that should prompt you to hang up and call another locksmith. Depending on where you live and when you call for service, a lockout should cost you somewhere around $150.
Many unlicensed technicians will advertise outrageously low prices to get the job. After they arrive, they take the lock apart and then demand a lot more money to finish the job. The customer feels trapped and pays what the locksmith demands.
You should be aware that many states do not require locksmiths to have a license to practice their trade. If you live in a state that does require a license, ask the dispatcher for the license number and the registered name of the business. Licensed professionals must undergo extensive background checks. Giving someone without a license access to your home or vehicle is risky because you never know what that person’s true agenda is.
When the technician shows up, demand to see a valid ID, proof of insurance and certification. Any reputable technician will have this documentation available and will have no problem showing it to you.
Some people will say that a technician who shows up in an unmarked vehicle should raise a red flag. What you should know is that many reputable locksmiths do not mark their vehicles to protect themselves against theft. If the vehicle is unmarked but the technician has the proper credentials, you should feel confident enough to proceed.
Demand a written estimate before the technician does any work. Do not give the technician cash or a credit card until you are satisfied with the estimate. Another potential sign of a scam is a locksmith who demands cash and refuses to accept a credit card.
You will be doing yourself a favor if you research locksmiths before you actually need one in an emergency. This gives you the opportunity to gather the information you need while you have a clear head and there is no sense of urgency. When you actually need one, you do not have to waste any time while you are in a panic looking into the company’s reputation. Personal references from friends and family member are usually the most reliable when searching for any service provider.
If you remember these tips the next time you need an emergency locksmith in Clearwater FL, you can receive the assistance you need at a reasonable rate.
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