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VOL. 133 | NO. 27 | Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Take Steps To Find Reputable Locksmith

Randy Hutchinson

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The Better Business Bureau recommends that consumers and businesses line up a reputable locksmith before they need one. In an emergency, or even non-emergency, they won’t be at the mercy of an unqualified technician or out-and-out scammer.

Common complaints to the BBB about locksmiths include:

• Providing a reasonable estimate over the phone and then jacking up the price when the technician arrives.

• Claiming a lock can’t be picked, requiring costly drilling and replacement.

• Advertising a local address that doesn’t exist and a local phone number that’s answered in a faraway call center.

The locksmith a man found in the Yellow Pages quoted him a price of $73 to rekey the locks at his daughter’s new house. When the locksmith finished, the daughter gave him a credit card without looking at the invoice and later found out she’d been charged $538.

We called the local number and reached a person who finally admitted she was in Florida, the company had no physical location here, and they dispatched contract locksmiths to do jobs. Such contractors are often poorly trained and unlicensed.

A reporter did a story about an Olive Branch woman who hired an Olive Branch locksmith she found online. If she had paid closer attention to the address on the website, she’d have noticed it said Olive Branch, Tennessee. The street address was a Kroger store. She was quoted a price of $114 over the phone, got an invoice for $828 when the job was done, negotiated the price down to $300, and was ultimately charged $828 on her credit card.

Locksmith companies and individual locksmiths must be licensed in Tennessee. The license number should be displayed on company vehicles, on business cards, and in ads. A license isn’t required in Arkansas or Mississippi, but locksmiths in those states should carry necessary business licenses.

The BBB offers these tips for choosing a reputable locksmith:

• Check out the company with the BBB, preferably before you need a locksmith’s services.

• Be wary of locksmiths who answer the phone with generic sounding names like “locksmith services.” Ask for the legal name of the business and its physical location.

• Be wary of locksmiths who arrive in unmarked vehicles.

• Ask the locksmith for identification and his Tennessee license or registration number; or his business license if you’re in a state that doesn’t license locksmiths.

• Expect the locksmith to ask you for identification to insure you’re the property owner.

• Verify the locksmith is insured to cover any damage incurred during a repair.

• Be wary if you’re told the lock has to be drilled and replaced. An experienced locksmith has invested in the tools and education to be able to unlock almost any door.

Randy Hutchinson is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South and can be reached at rhutchinson@bbbmidsouth.org

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