locksmith in Vail

Presented by Pop’s Lock & Key

Personal safety is more vital now than ever before. It’s understandable that you have a healthy amount of suspicion – especially with all the news stories and TV shows that expose threats in our daily lives that might not be obvious.

One of those lesser known threats: locksmiths.

When you’re locked out, you’re in a vulnerable position. You need a locksmith fast, but how do you know whom you can trust?

After pulling out your smartphone and doing a quick search online, you find a local company that looks reputable. The price is affordable so you call. After just a quick chat with the operator you sit back confident that help is on its way.

Unfortunately, even when everything appears to be on the up and up, things can still go sour.

When the locksmith arrives, the price could suddenly skyrocket. What was going to cost $10 costs you $100. You’re upset but you need help fast so you reluctantly agree to the sky-high price.

When the work begins, you could get burned again. The disingenuous locksmith (known as “24/7 scammers in the trade) is actually not a locksmith. It is a person looking for a quick way to make a buck, so they use primitive tools and outdated technology to unlock your high-tech vehicle or home. This costs you even more in property damage.

Suddenly, the lockout that was supposed to cost you $20 has put you several hundred dollars in the hole.

Situations like this happen daily. Locksmith fraud is one of the fastest growing scams in the country, according to Consumer Federation of America (CFA). With a little information and insight into how these scams work, you can find an honest professional and avoid getting burned by a costly scam.

Here are 10 tips to keep you protected against fraudulent locksmiths.

1. Double check that the locksmith is locally owned and operated.

Before picking up the phone, search the phone number online. You could actually get someone in another state on the other end of the call even when the phone number appears to be local.

2. Licensed and bonded locksmiths don’t offer guarantees in Arizona.

The locksmith’s website has a proud designation that they are licensed and bonded. This means nothing in Arizona. Without qualifying requirements for locksmiths, just about anyone can get their license and become a “licensed and bonded” locksmith. You’re better off checking consumer reviews instead.

3. Ask the person on the other end where the business is based.

Many locksmiths claim to be based in Vail or Tucson but in reality, they are owned and operated far, far away. If you are uncomfortable with the answer, follow your hunch and politely end the call.

4. Get a quote over the phone.

You know the saying, “it’s too good to be true?” It’s usually pretty accurate.

Ask for the TOTAL price of services over the phone before the locksmith arrives. If you are quoted anything below $20, take caution. Many companies will quote the trip or service charge and then bump up the price once they’ve arrived on scene.

5. Ask for a text message with the quote.

If you’re happy with the quote you’re provided over the phone, get it in writing. A text message or email is a fast and easy way to cover your behind and ensure you’re not blindsided at the end of service.

6. Request a written estimate upon the technician’s arrival.

Before any work begins, get the technician to give you the price agreed upon by phone in writing. This is another easy and effective way to stop any price gouging before work begins.

7. Check out the car the locksmith drove in.

Most locksmiths will not meet you in an unmarked vehicle. If they do, write down the license plate and take note of the person’s behavior. If the person seems unprofessional from the start, you might want to call someone else for help.

8. Always request personal identification.

You have a right to know who is helping you back into your car or home. Reputable locksmiths will have no problem presenting personal identification. Fraudulent locksmiths don’t want you to know who they are and will sometimes refuse to show you an ID. This is a good sign that you’re not working with someone you can trust.

9. When the drill comes out, your speculation should increase.

Most lockouts do not require a drill. A few might. For example, the Kwikset Smartkey locks cannot be picked and a drill is often the best means to gaining entry.

If a drill is recommended, talk to the locksmith before work begins about how it will affect the price. The cost to get you back into your home or car could increase by $20 to $80 depending on the manufacturer and design of the lock.

10. Don’t pay for work up front.

Demands for up front payments raise a red flag. The only exception to this rule is if the locksmith is meeting you outside of the service area or if it is after hours. Legitimate locksmiths will accept credit cards and cash. Some accept personal checks, too. Settle how and when you will pay before the work is performed.

Like it or not, scam artists are out there. There are also many reputable locksmiths out there who are anxious to serve you – like Pop’s Lock & Key, our only locally owned and operated locksmith in Vail.

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Lucretia Free