Hire only locksmiths that have been subjected to background checks. The Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) has a website called findalocksmith.com that lists only members that have undergone a background check. The same applies to legallocksmiths.com. Membership with a local locksmith association may imply a certain level of accountability as well but will vary by region.
Hire a locksmith that has undergone ALOA proficiency testing. The following acronyms will follow the name listed on findalocksmith.com:
Expect a locksmith to be able to provide an unchanging, flat rate quote for certain services such as vehicle lockouts, key origination, rekeys, and, in most cases, residential and commercial unlocks. The only time there should be a deviation from the quoted rate is if there is something that cannot reasonably be expected to be identified over the phone, or if there is a change in the scope of the project. Any changes should be described as early as possible in the project, giving you, the client, the opportunity to approve or reject the adjusted bid. Never should a locksmith be confrontational during such a discussion.
In the event of a vehicle or property opening, expect the locksmith to request ID and proof of ownership demonstrating that you have the authority to access the property. Similarly, you should feel free to request the locksmith’s ID and business card to establish that he is who he says he is. Most legitimate locksmiths are fully aware of the issues with the locksmith industry and will have no problem providing ID. If you live in a state that requires locksmiths to be licensed (AL, CA, IL, LA, NJ, NC, OK, TN and TX), the locksmith should be able to produce that license for your inspection.
Expect your locksmith to be professionally dressed, preferably in a company shirt, and to be driving a marked service vehicle.
Remember that it is within your rights to refuse to pay when you are presented with a bill that represents an exorbitant deviation from the original quote, except when there is an unanticipated situation or change in scope as mentioned above. If the locksmith has been forthcoming and diligent in his efforts to provide an accurate quote and fair assessment of the situation, you still have the right to refuse to pay for work beyond the original quote, but you will be expected to pay the service call and for any parts/labor expended. The right of refusal is intended to protect clients from paying $300 for a lockout that was quoted at $30, not to provide an excuse for non-payment. In most cases, the worst thing that can happen by refusing to pay a scammer is that they might re-lock your house or vehicle and refuse to provide you the keys. This simply gives you the opportunity to call a reputable locksmith and have the job done right. It’s better to suffer the inconvenience to your schedule than to suffer the anger and humiliation of paying too much.
If you feel that you are the victim of a locksmith scam, you should contact your state attorney general, who is most likely collecting a file of such complaints for use in future prosecutions. The following link will take you to an online tool for making this contact: http://www.aloa.org/
If you have more questions or need additional guidance, please feel free to call Brett Miller, CRL at Lockstar, 303.887.3737, or visit the website: http://www.yourlockguy.com.
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Lockstar provides commercial, residential and automotive mobile locksmith services to Broomfield, CO and the entire Denver/Boulder area.. All services offered by Lockstar are performed by a bonded locksmith with a CRL designation (Certified Registered Locksmith) as awarded by the Associated Locksmiths of America, so you can be assured of our integrity and professionalism.