FRAUD PROTECTION

It is a staggering amount of consumers who get ripped off everyday by “locksmith scams” offering everything from impossibly low initial service calls to making copies of keys to break in later. Here is a sampling a the many stories that continue to surface as the “scourge” of the locksmith industry continues to mislead consumers:

 


Heidi Hemmat
Investigative Reporter
November 8, 2010

DENVER - It's bad enough when you're locked out of your home or car. But what's worse, is what can happen to you when you call a locksmith and become the victim of a 'bait and switch' scam.

A locksmith company quotes you one price, but once they arrive the price goes up – way up. It's a locksmith scam that's duping consumers across the country and right here in Colorado.

FOX31 News called locksmiths that advertise the cheapest rates in the metro area and used our hidden cameras to put them to the test. One company after another quoted us a $19 service charge and said it would probably cost an additional $30 to unlock the car.

But once they arrived, several companies changed their price, anywhere from 20 percent to 100 percent more than the quoted rate.

Run Local Locksmith told FOX31 News that unlocking our 2000 Jeep Cherokee was a complicated job, that's why he said the fee would more than double the quoted price. That excuse was heard more than once.

"Sixty-five dollars (total) would be a high price," said Dell Sterling from the Rocky Mountain Locksmith Association.

Sterling opened the car in less than two minutes. He admits rampant fraud is giving his business a bad name.

"It hurts the locksmith industry," he said.

  

 

And the bait and switch is just the beginning. FOX31 News found locksmiths with dozens of different company names, advertising what appear to be local numbers, but if you call you're connected to an out-of-state phone bank.

Locksmiths also list fake addresses to make it look like they are Colorado companies.

FOX31 News noticed that Run Local Locksmith and a couple of other companies showed up in a personal car with no marking.

That's one red flag for consumers. Most legitimate locksmiths will arrive in a clearly marked service vehicle.

Companies that advertise several Colorado locations but use the same phone number is another red flag.

You might be better off to choose a locksmith that doesn't advertise the cheapest rates and appears to be a 'mom and pop' company.