We hate to say it, but there are a lot of bad locksmiths out there, even just in Clearwater, and picking the wrong one can make your life pretty difficult. Bad locksmiths catch you when you’re worried, stressed, and tired – like if you’re locked out of your car at the airport after a long trip.  All too often, they get away with shoddy services and inflated prices.

But as always, knowledge is power. Read up on common locksmith scams so you can steer clear of the bad apples. (Or if you need a reliable locksmith in Clearwater, just call us. It’s known as doing things the easy way.)  Here are 5 of the most common locksmith scams and how to avoid them.

    1. Unbelievably low prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The $10 or $19 offers on Google ads might be tempting, but think about it: that price won’t even cover the locksmith’s time or expenses. So where’s the catch? Sometimes it’s the service call, not the service, that costs $10. Some locksmiths will reveal that the price is actually a minimum when you call. And others will show up and find all sorts of reasons to charge you more than the original quote.
    1. Up-selling you on additional services. It’s true that a small percentage of locks can’t be picked, but a locksmith who shows up, fiddles with your lock for two minutes, and claims that he’ll have to drill and replace it (for a lot more money) is either incompetent or trying to pull one on you. Dismiss him before he ruins your lock and get a second opinion.
    1. Strong-arm tactics. A locksmith shows up in a tow truck, corners your car, unlocks it, and threatens to tow your car unless you pay the amount he asks for. Especially if it’s late at night and you’re alone, strong-arm tactics and outright threats can be scary. The best way to avoid them is to only call established local locksmiths with solid reputations.
    1. Companies that use similar names as legitimate locksmiths. Pop-A-Lock is an established name in the locksmith industry, so it’s not surprising our competitors have names like Papa Lock and Pop All Locks. They might not necessarily be scammers, but they are counting on you to mistake them for genuine Pop-A-Lock franchises. Check the name and website carefully before you call.
    1. Out of town call centers and unlicensed locksmiths. Using 411 directories and internet listings, locksmith scammers have become big news in the past few years. Some of the biggest rings aren’t even located in the country. They set up a dummy local number, route it to dispatchers far away, and send unlicensed people in unmarked cars who will try any or all of the above scams. Yet another reason to be wary of extremely low prices, poor online reputations, unmarked cars, and technicians without certifications or ID.

Like any other service professional you hire, it’s worth it to take the extra time to check out licenses and online reputations before you call a locksmith. Have you experienced any other locksmith scams in Clearwater? Leave us a comment so we can get the word out about protecting yourself from bad locksmiths.

Coming up next: good signs that you’re dealing with a legitimate locksmith.