Angie's List: 5 red flags when picking a locksmith
Caution is key when hiring a locksmith.
"Don't wait for an emergency when it comes to finding a good locksmith because if you do, you might be desperate and fall victim to a locksmith scam. Because people that haven't planned ahead often overlook extra charges and also don't notice red flags," said Angie's List Founder, Angie Hicks.
Red flag number one - be wary of locksmith companies that aren't locally-owned and operated.
"Ask where their dispatch location is. If it's out of state, that's a problem," said Mary Tinder, a locksmith company owner.
Red flag number two - a locksmith who refuses to give you an estimate or price range over the phone.
"When interviewing your locksmith make sure you understand any extra fees that might be associated with hiring them. For example, do they charge extra for a late night visit? also, do they charge by the lock or is it a flat fee?," said Hicks.
If a locksmith arrives in an unmarked vehicle, that's red flag number three. Red flag number four? A technician who doesn't care about your ID.
"The technician doesn't even ask you for id and they're going to let anybody into your house? that's a red flag. If they can't provide ID. That's a red flag. They should have the company name listed fairly prominently," said Tinder.
And finally, red flag number five. A locksmith who immediately says he or she needs to drill your lock. That should be a last resort, not the first.
"A professional locksmith has the tools that they need. They have the training, the experience. Frankly, they take a lot of pride in being able to get in to your lock without doing damage," said Tinder.
If the locksmith's on-site price doesn't match the phone estimate, don't allow the work to be performed. Several states and some cities require locksmiths to be licensed. If you live in an area that does, be sure to ask the locksmith for proof.