Locked out? Don't fall for the locksmith scam

Posted at 6:47 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 22:04:57-04

If you're locked out of your house or car, choosing the first locksmith you see on a Google search is not a good idea. That's because it's usually an ad for $15 or $19 "service call" but will end up costing you hundreds.

The scheme has been going for years.

You call the company with a generic name, and cheap service call price only to have a dispatcher in a completely different state take your call.

They can't ever tell how much the service will be--only the "starting prices"--which are always unrealistically low.

They will tell you that the price depends on the "security level" of the lock.  In the end, they'll end up charging you several hundreds of dollars.

Here's the truth: most, if not all house locks are standard dead bolt locks that you can purchase at any home improvement store for less than $20.  Any legitimate locksmith will tell you a true high-security lock is one that you have likely never seen before and are a bit more complicated to open than standard locks.

Locksmiths tell me lockout of your home with standard dead bolt locks should cost you no more than $150.

A legitimate locksmith should be able to give you a good estimate of how much their service will be.

If they can't or won't--move on.

The problem is, many of us panic and go with the first option that pops up. Then make things even worse when we sign for charges that are way more than we should have paid. Once you do that, there's almost no way out of paying.

If you are being charged more, negotiate the price down and pay a dime or sign anything until you do.

Better yet, check online reviews and agencies like the Better Business Bureau to find a reputable locksmith.

Locally owned ACME Locksmith even offers free car unlocks when you sign up for their decal. 

Bottom line, if you do a little bit of research you can avoid these scammers who want to do nothing but overcharge you.

Call the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers at 1-855-323-1515. You can also send me an email or attach a video explaining the problem.

And you can reach me on Twitter or "like" the Let Joe Know Facebook  and tell me about it there