False Ads by “Locksmiths”
The vast majority of those locksmith companies that advertise their services online write misleading ads in the best cases, and false ones in the worst. Below I discuss the seven most popular deceptions perpetrated by these companies on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
1. $15 Service Charge:
One of the more popular misleading ads found online today is the $15 service charge. What these locksmith companies fail to tell customers is that their labor rates start at $95 per hour, and that they never pick locks – they drill them. So in addition to service and labor charges, their lockout victims are usually also invoiced for the cost of a new lock.
2. 15 Minute Response:
Many of the locksmiths that claim to have a $15 service charge also claim to have a 15 minute response time. Unless one of these scammers is your neighbor, and happens to be home when you call, it is next to impossible for him to meet with you in 15 minutes. Taking down a street address and then entering it into a GPS, fighting traffic, finding parking, and walking from the service vehicle to the customer’s door almost always takes more than 15 minutes.
3. 24/7 Service:
More than half of those locksmith companies that advertise online boast “24 hour”, “24/7”, or “24-7-365” emergency service. Many of these same companies however, do not run ads after 11:00 pm.
4. Trade Memberships:
Some locksmith companies claim in their ads to provide safe and vault services. When you visit their websites however, there is no evidence of them belonging to any of the leading trade organizations, such as the Safe and Vault Technicians Association, the National Safeman Organization, or the Associated Locksmiths of America. Any safe or vault technician worth his salt is a member of at least one of these organizations.
5. Insurance, Licensing, and Bonding:
Perhaps the most popular lie found in online locksmith ads is that they are insured, licensed, and/or bonded. At the present time there is no licensing body for locksmiths in the province of Ontario; and to become bonded, a locksmith must join a trade organization. When you visit the websites of these companies however, there is no evidence of them belonging to a trade organization, let alone of them being insured.
Many of these locksmith companies also claim to hire only “skilled”, “trained”, or “qualified” technicians. When you visit their websites however, there is no mention of where, when, or by who these technicians were trained. There is also no explanation of how their technicians are staying current on the many changes made annually in lock and key designs.
Finally, the locksmiths that advertise online in Burlington, Hamilton, and Stoney Creek for example, almost always claim to be “local”. When you visit their contact page however, you almost always find that they are located in Toronto, or in some cases, the United States.
An alarming number of those locksmith companies that advertise online present themselves as being cheap, fast, convenient, insured, skilled, and local, when in actuality they are often none or few of these things. To avoid being scammed by one of these companies always do a little detect work first. I recommend checking to see that they are listed with the Better Business Bureau; reading their profile page on HomeStars, Yelp, and/or Google Maps; and visiting their contact page to see where they are truly located.