BBB: Checkout Locksmith Before Hiring

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No matter how careful you are, it`s easy to lock yourself out of your house or your car.  If you need a locksmith the Better Business Bureau says there's one company you'll want to approach with caution.

The Michigan based business has over 150 complaints nationwide.  At least 20 of those complaints have come from Missouri and Illinois. Consumers seem to have a problem with the company's pricing.

The BBB says the company uses bait and switch tactics.  Desperate consumers searching the internet after a lock-out, may find the company "Run Local Locksmith".   Dialing the toll free number sends the consumer to a call center in Center Line Michigan.   The business then taps its pool of locksmiths around the country.   While their website shows a $15 service call fee, a company spokesperson says circumstances vary with each lock out.  Therefore the final price varies.  Some consumers are surprised once they're in and they get the bill according to Jim Judge of the BBB.

'When the locksmith actually come out they`re finding its 100, 200, 300 dollars instead of 15 dollars. So it`s really a classic bait and switch kind of set up.'
Judge says you may find more satisfaction using a local locksmith.

'If you don`t have the individual name the company doing the work, because they`re subcontracted, you really don`t know that much about them.  Are they insured?  What kinds of checks do they do on employees?  What kind of training do employees have?  What kind of certification do they have?'

In addition to pricing, complaints have come in related to damaged property.
'A lot of complaints allege, while trying to unlock doors, car doors, homes that they`re breaking windows causing damage.'

Some consumers might dispute it, but a spokesperson for the company says its policy gives customers a chance to accept or decline charges.     And the company has paid out thousands in refunds where a claim has merit.   Be sure you check out a company with the Better Business Bureau you hire them.

List Of Items To Checkout Locksmiths
If you are locked out of your car and have roadside assistance service such as AAA, call them first.

Research locksmith companies before you need them. Keep that information in your purse or wallet in the event you need such services in the future.

Get an estimate from the locksmith for all work and replacement parts before work begins.  Do not trust estimates given over the phone.

Ask for identification. Make sure you have a locksmith’s full name, the company name and contact information before agreeing to work. Reputable locksmiths should ask for your identification before accessing a vehicle or building.

Make sure the locksmith has insurance coverage in case there is damage to your home or vehicle.

Pay by credit card in the event you want to challenge the charge.

Contact the BBB for a company’s Business Review by calling 314-645-3300 or going to www.bbb.org.