Even if you weren’t having a bad day before you locked yourself out, you’re probably having one now. You’re running late, you’re frustrated, and you just want the locksmith to show up and do his job already. But what if the locksmith you call shows up exhibiting every sign of being a scammer?
(Classic signs of a scammer locksmith: upping the quote you were given over the phone, arriving in an unmarked service vehicle, not having ID linking him to the company, refusing to give you a written quote. Scammer locksmiths are at work in Tampa and just about every major city.)
If you go along with this locksmith, be prepared to pay anywhere from twice to four times what you were quoted on the phone. We’ve even heard horror stories about these scammers ruining locks and charging you the full amount to replace it with a new one. It’s a classic bait and switch, and unethical locksmiths who know you are desperate to get back in take full advantage of your situation. So what can you do to keep this situation from getting worse?
- Insist on an itemized written estimate before the locksmith starts to work on your lock. Having that in writing protects you from the worst of the added on fees. However, if it’s already significantly higher than what you were quoted over the phone, be aware that it’s only going to get worse from there.
- Refuse service. Florida law says you only have to pay for the product or actual service. They can’t make you pay for just coming out. You will have to wait for another locksmith, but it could save you $50 or more.
- Refuse to pay ridiculous fees. Scammers may threaten to call the police to intimidate you into paying. If you agree, they will back down and offer a more reasonable price. They definitely don’t want the police on the scene.
- Know what a reasonable price for your locksmith service is. If you have a good idea what a reasonable price for service is (Pop-A-Lock offers free, inclusive quotes), you’ll feel more confident in standing your ground and have more leverage.
- And if you do end up getting scammed, contact your local State Attorney’s office, along with the Florida Attorney General. By reporting scammers, you can help us keep bad locksmiths out of Tampa.
Scammer locksmiths are at work in every major city and come equipped with false business names and seemingly local numbers that route to distant call centers. They’re not limited to auto locksmiths or home locksmiths, either. Protect yourself from them by researching locksmiths before you ever need one and programming that number into your phone.
Pop-A-Lock Tampa is proud to be one of the good guys. We stand behind our 100% inclusive phone quotes and are devoted to answering your questions, showing up when we say we will, and providing friendly, competent service at a fair price. Check out our Tampa locksmith testimonials to see what previous customers have said about us!