If you need to call an emergency locksmith, chances are you've locked yourself out of your house or car and aren't simply looking to upgrade your locks or have new deadbolts installed. Because you're in an emergency situation, you may be more likely to fall for a scam or be taken advantage of by an unprofessional locksmith.
Before you give in to a scam artist or allow yourself to be taken advantage of, note the following tips for protecting yourself:
1. Ask about the price upfront and accept nothing else
When calling a 24-hour locksmith, tell them exactly where and how you're locked out and ask about the final price before you agree to have them come to your location. You need to tell them exactly what type of lock they will be opening so they cannot tell you that their quoted price was for something simpler, something without an alarm, and so on.
If your car has an upgraded keypad that requires a code or your home has an alarm system that is activated, tell them this on the phone so they can quote you an accurate price.
When the locksmith arrives, be sure you confirm the price with them before they start to work. If they quote you anything other than what they said on the phone, dismiss them immediately and call someone else. Note that they may say the price will be higher if you don't want them to break your car windows or damage your home's lock, but think twice before accepting these reasons.
If you've told them the type of lock they will be opening, they should have no reason to change their price on the spot. The only exception would be if you ask for additional services you did not discuss, such as new keys made or changing the locks rather than just opening them.
2. Pay only after the work is done
You should never pay a locksmith for their services until the work is done, so you can be sure that they actually open the lock without damaging it, and so you know the person won't just leave with your money!
A scam artist may have a number set up online pretending to be a locksmith, and will go out to remote locations, collect money, and then just leave. If you don't know their physical location and cannot get their license plate number for their vehicle, it can be very difficult for the police to track down such a person.
Pay the 24-hour locksmith only after the work is done so you know it will be completed and you will be protected from such a scam. To learn more, contact a company like A.A. Abel Locksmiths & Security Engineers with any questions you have.