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The Case of The Cowboy Locksmiths & How to Avoid Their Scams

broken door lock

First isn’t always best, just as top search results aren’t always the most accurate. This has been proven by the recent spike in issues surrounding the so-called “cowboy locksmiths” who have been silently wreaking havoc across the locksmith industry.

Who are cowboy locksmiths?

Cowboy locksmiths who deceive unsuspecting homeowners who have gotten locked out of their homes have been around for decades. They pose as certified locksmiths, offering the lowest rates available on the market. Flustered individuals eager to get back in their homes take the bait and hire them immediately. What they don’t know is that those low prices are merely a fraction of what they are yet to be charged.

Once a rogue locksmith—appearing as top search results, thanks to multiple ads—is called out, quotes begin to skyrocket. This is what happened with North London resident Ruth Leveson, who found “Local Locksmith 24 Hours” after a quick Google search for locksmiths in her area. The initial quote to replace a front door lock was priced at £50, which seemed too good to be true. To Ruth’s surprise, she was charged an additional £400 upon the arrival of the locksmith half an hour later. Far from being content, the locksmith once again charged an additional £400 while threatening to pack up and leave with the lock lest he didn’t get paid. Feeling like she had run out of options, Ruth reluctantly paid the final invoice of £782 and decided to take the issue to court. The whole incident cost her over £1000.

Spotting rogue locksmiths

drilling a lockDue to the global pandemic and lockdowns across the UK, more and more rogue locksmiths have seized the opportunity to scam innocent families. These trying times make it all the more important to ensure that the person you are hiring to secure your home can be trusted.

The frustrations of getting locked out usually make searching for a trusted locksmith seem tedious. However, a rogue locksmith can easily be spotted if one takes a close look. One of the easiest means to spot a fake locksmith is by checking their accreditations. Locksmiths who have been certified by the Master Locksmith Association (MLA) are some of the most trusted in the industry. Refrain from directly asking your locksmith for proof, as these documents can easily be faked. Instead, take a quick look at the MLA website to know whether or not they are accredited.

Rogue locksmiths are also identifiable by their extremely low quotes. They lure customers in with their “affordable prices” and “excellent service” as they compete with real locksmiths. Unaware of the real practices used, rogue locksmiths tend to use drills without trying non-destructive entry methods. To refrain from being fooled by their tactics, it is important to be mindful of the actual costs of hiring a locksmith. Trusted websites such as those of the MLA and WhatsTheDamage provide an extensive list of the common costs of various repair and installation jobs. These prices are known to be the average across the locksmith industry in the UK.

Finding the right locksmith

Spotting a trusted locksmith can be difficult. However, knowing what to do makes everything a lot easier. Since locksmithing is no easy task, skills and experience are crucial in a locksmith’s career. Ask your locksmith for previous projects they have worked on, as well as other relevant experience they have gained. This can help you gauge their expertise and trustworthiness when it comes to working. In addition, make sure to get quotes from more than one locksmith. As tempting as it is to go for the first locksmith you find, it is also very impractical as there is a chance that they could be rogue.

Hiring the most trusted locksmiths has been made easy with WhatsTheDamage. Through in-depth reviews on the background and services of accredited locksmith companies, customers no longer have to go through the trouble of making sure that they’ve hired someone they can trust. WhatsTheDamage also provides up-to-date store locations and contact information, acting much like the UK’s largest directory of the best local repairmen.

Make sure to take a look at the directory of WhatsTheDamage the next time you get locked out to save yourself from unnecessary stress and anxiety. Checking the website beforehand can also help you familiarize yourself with the locksmiths in your area, helping you avoid the dangerous threats of cowboy locksmiths. With WhatsTheDamage, you’ll be back in your home in no time.

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