(Bradenton, FL) - Over the last several years, there has been an enormous influx of call center scams popping up all over our nation. They have several people who are employed that are not locksmiths nor are qualified in the profession. Running a call center is a very easy process.
First you would call a phone number that you would think is local, but unfortunately its not. That phone is forwarded to another state. The individual will explain their issues that they're having and the employee will try to contact someone who is located in their city until they can find someone to assist them. The employee will then quote you a ridiculously low amount for the issues you have explained so that they can secure your locksmith job. But what you wont know is that you will be waiting anywhere from 30-60 minutes until someone finally shows up, examines the situation and then explains to you that there are issues with your locks so he will have to drill them. By this time, your patience is gone and frustration is setting in so you agree on what the "locksmith" has advised you what the best option is going to be. So your locks are drilled because they have every intention to do so from the very beginning and they then install the cheapest quality locks possible purchased from your local hardware store. The high quality lock that you thought was being installed was roughly about $20 at Home Depot, but managed to turn around and charge you anywhere from $75-$125 per lock. By the time they are finally finished, they hand you the total bill which has included a service call, labor for drilling your locks, plus the locks he replaced. So what should have a simple lockout costing you about $69, ends up being your worst nightmare with a charge of $300-$500. Television News programs such as 60 minutes and Bay News 9, have aired programs of fraudulent call centers stings to make the public aware of these scams that are going on in your local city.
If you are ever needing a locksmith, please be sure to check if they are a qualified locksmith with an actual business. Don't be afraid to ask for further information. You need to know their business name, the name of the person who will be coming to assist you, the vehicle they are driving, the total quote amount with no hidden fees, etc. Don't be afraid to ask questions to see if they are doing call center scams.
Now, if you have a car lockout, they will try to quote you a cheap price lie $30. Once they have opened your vehicle, they then will try to charge you $130. When you try to argue why the amount is so high, they will respond by saying, your quoted amount was $30 and the service call was $100. The way the call center scams work is that you are given an amount over the phone but then charged, service calls, labor, driving expenses, etc. So you must always remember that no matter what service you are in need of, if it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is. Call center scams make everything sound great. Don't be fooled by those call center scams. Instead, ask a lot of questions to see if they can respond normally. Then you will know if it is a call center scams or not.
What so many people fail to realize is that locksmith companies have expenses just like every other business. Sometimes customers will say to me "Why is the amount so high for only 2 minutes of work?". The answer is simple. There is a daytime rate of $69 which is remarkably low for the work we do. The amount is calculated by the distance traveled to you and from the job, gas as well as time spent driving. Not to mention that any real Locksmith Company has insurance bonding and licensing, which all costs money. It's funny how when your driving and you see bumper stickers all over work vehicles that say they are a licensed contractor. Well it is the same when you are hiring a Locksmith. Our business costs are the same as any other company you would hire. We have to provide professional technicians to assist you in with your issues, advertising our business as well maintaining a professional business with expenses. What if someone works on your vehicle or enters your home and they are not insured? They could break something or get injured on the job. Then what would you do? If that company could not afford insurance than do you really think they are going to pay for damages? No, they will tell you to claim it on your car insurance, homeowners insurance or even worse, they could personally sue you.
One of the top reasons that transportation costs are so high, is because when someone calls several locksmiths at one time trying to see who is the fastest to respond, each Locksmith you have called has to drive to get to you. So basically each company is sending an employee unaware of any other company driving to the same call at the same time. To the company who gets there first is ok. But for every other person who arrived after them, they have now wasted their time, gas, etc in trying to assist you. Even worse, when other companies finally show up, the customer is either gone or our competitor is currently working on the job. Meanwhile, the customer has no concern or compassion to call back the other companies after someone has arrived. It is the same concept as if someone were to steal from Walmart, it drives the prices up for everyone else. People fail to realize or care that when a business sends an employee and the customer is gone, the business loses money. Going to what is called a "Ghost Call", will end up raising prices for all other potential customers due to one persons actions. We as Locksmith companies just ask for you to be considerate whenever you have called multiple companies to assist you. Return the call to stop them from time that could've been helping someone else. It is appreciated more than you would think. What if this happened to you?
So again when you are searching for a locksmith, you need to know their business name, the name of the person who will be coming to assist you, the vehicle they are driving, the total quote amount with no hidden fees, to ensure you get a qualified Locksmith to assist you properly. And you should always remember, the lowest quote is not always going to be your best option and be considerate of your Locksmith. Also, ask if their company has an "On Time" guarantee for lockouts? We at A1 Agent pride ourselves for being prompt. We are also the only Locksmith in Bradenton who offers an on time guarantee. Nevertheless, we have expenses just like every other business and these expenses must be considered when providing a service to you. Usually the lower priced Locksmith companies are not bonded, licensed or insured because that is the only way to keep their costs cheap. If you are willing to gamble on having an uninsured Locksmith come to your house or vehicle, you are assuming all responsibility for that person. If someone enters your home and they are not insured, they could break something or get injured on the job. Then what would you do? If that company could not afford insurance than do you really think they are going to pay for damages? Of course not. But if you did a little extra research when finding a Locksmith, it will actually save you money in the end.
Be sure to go to our News Section and watch our videos regarding Locksmith Scams, Call Centers, etc. Locksmith scams are not always about scamming money from you. If a Locksmith claims to be in business for 15 years and shows up using a bump key to unlock your house, be afraid, Be VERY afraid. Any true Locksmith will never use a bump key to open your door and those who use them are usually not Locksmiths at all. See my article about Bump Keys and how fraudulent Locksmiths use them.
Ultimately, ask yourself this the next time you find yourself locked out and calling around locksmith companies, what time is it now, is it a holiday and how far aware are you? You should try to remember when a locksmith gets a call after midnight, you are then paying for that person to get out of bed, get dressed and drive to your location. That person must also wake up by 8am to start the next day of work which can certainly take a tole on someone who hasn't had a lot of sleep. Nevertheless, you should think about how much would your employer have to pay for you to wake up in the middle of the night to work for about an hour? Most people would not even answer the phone or would charge you a lot of money to help you, unlike me. I run the late night calls because I care about people in general and that is how my father ran his Locksmith company. When I was a child, he used to say that lockouts are like 911 emergency calls for us. We would run as fast as possible because we would ask ourselves how would we feel if we were to be locked out. And as a locksmith, we provide emergency services to you no matter what the situation is. But all too often, these Call Center scams have affected our trade. Please make sure you gather all your information or you will be scammed next.