Don’t get fooled by a scam locksmith!
Because the state of Georgia does not require a locksmith license, anybody, literally anybody can call themselves a locksmith! Just like any other trade, a locksmith trainee works closely with an experienced locksmith as an apprentice until they learn enough to work in the field. It takes several years to gain the experience required to successfully perform the necessary tasks to ensure the safety and security of your home or business. Additionally, the locksmith may only be experienced in specific areas of the trade, residential, automotive or commercial. By not requiring a license the state of Georgia allows someone with little to no skill or experience to advertise as and operate as a “locksmith”. Nearby North Carolina and Alabama require licenses with can only be obtained by receiving passing grades in educational training (certification). Facebook, Google and other online advertisers don’t discriminate against the scammers, they just take the money. Although Google has a Local Services program that verifies a business, thousands of people still get scammed. So what can you do?
When you call a locksmith ask whether you are speaking to the company or if it’s a call center.
A call center takes your information and sends it to anyone who signs up for the lead. These leads are expensive, and the company will pass that cost on to you. Because they are on the hook for a significant amount, the company may not be truthful about the estimated time of arrival. Additionally, these companies don’t always have qualified technicians and may send untrained operators.
Are they insured? Without regulation, you could get someone who will not take responsibility for their actions. If you incur property or vehicle damage, you will have no recourse.
Where is the company located? We see advertising for companies who are not located in this area, this means a longer wait time that they may not be honest about.
How long has the company been in business? Scammers change names and corporate information frequently. As soon as the bad reviews add up, they just change the name and continue to advertise. A-Bullet Locksmith was founded in West Palm Beach, FL in 1991. That location is now owned by another locksmith. The Canton, GA location was started in 2005 when the founder moved here.
What is the total estimate? Scammers advertise a low, low price which is their “service call”. When they complete the job, they tack on extravagant expenses to pad the bill which can be 5 – 10 times higher than your local locksmith. Legitimate companies will explain their fees and give an estimate that includes the price of the service call as well as the service needed. There may be some fluctuation in price based on whether the job is as described or if more work is needed to complete it. For example, a lockout may be $85 for most vehicles, but some vehicles do not have a frame around the window. In that case, we will have to make a key to gain entry instead of risking damage to the glass by air-bagging it.
What can be done if you’ve been ripped off?
Unfortunately, not much. The state of Georgia has no guidelines for locksmiths, therefore there is no way to file a complaint that could force the scammer to make things right or lose their license. If you use a credit card, you can have your bank investigate which may get your money back. You can file a complaint with the BBB, but the scammer will probably not respond. They don’t invest in membership and don’t care about their reputation. When the complaints pile up, they will dissolve the old company and start a new one.