27 March 2023
A professional locksmith for only $45. It sounds too good to be true because it is too good to be true!
You would never expect to get a plumber or an electrician to call out to your home or business for $45. Professional locksmiths, just like plumbers and electricians, are qualified tradespersons. In order to get this qualification, a locksmith must successfully complete a 4-year Apprenticeship.
There are lots of businesses online, often on page 1 of google, offering locksmithing services for only $45. But are they locksmiths? Are they licenced or police checked? Do they use trade qualified tradespersons? Are they actually legitimate businesses?
The reality is many are scammers.
Trust Your Intuition
If something sounds too good to be true, then more often than not, it is too good to be true. Trust your intuition, and make sure you do your homework before engaging the services of a locksmith.
You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For
Scammers appeal to people looking for the cheapest price. They often target vulnerable people, such as the elderly, as well as those with poor language skills. They play on your emotions, especially if you are the victim of a robbery, or you have been locked out of your house. And the cheap price advertised online is almost never the price charged.
In most cases the scammers have no locksmithing skills. Many are backpackers or even tourists on a holiday visa looking for a quick dollar. More often than not, the consumer is left with significant damage to their property. Broken door locks, locks fitted incorrectly, poor quality substitute locks fitted badly, broken windows, scratched panels on your motor vehicle, car boots jemmied open, and more. And to make matters even worse, the consumer is often presented with a bill for as much as $800, payable immediately be credit card.
How Do You Know You Are Dealing With A Professional Locksmiths And Not A Scammer?
The first thing to keep in mind is that a professional locksmith is not going to come to you for $45.
The fees charged by professional locksmiths reflect their high level of skill, the expensive equipment they need to either update or maintain, the insurance cover they hold, travel time, as well as the time of the day the job needs to be done. Professional locksmiths are upfront with their costs, and in most cases, they can provide the consumer with an accurate quote. Like most trades, locksmithing is a competitive business, and prices are competitive but they also reflect the costs of becoming a tradesperson and running a professional locksmithing business.
What Do You Need To Do To Avoid Being Scammed?
Even if your situation is urgent, such as being locked out of your house, there are a few things you should check before engaging the services of a locksmith you have found online:
- Does the business use a legitimate local domain? Registered companies with an ABN (Australia) or NZBN (New Zealand) usually have a .com.au or .co.nz ending domain name. Scammers don’t have ABNs or NZBNs, so they tend to use .com and info@.
- Did you find the business through an ad on Google? Scammers tend to buy ads and pay for their Google ranking. Not all Google ads promote scammers but be weary of businesses that just run ads.
- Does the business have an actual address? Many scammers use the address of a shopping centre or an office complex to make it appear that they locally based.
- Is the business licenced? In most State & Territories in Australia, as well as in New Zealand, locksmithing businesses are required to be licenced, and the licence number of the business must be displayed on their website. Scammers are not licenced.
- Is there another business with the same, or a very similar business name? Scammers often pretend to be someone else or attempt to trade off the good name of a reputable business. While it can be hard to differentiate who is legitimate and who is a scammer, it is worth checking out both websites.
- Is the business a member of an industry association? Most members of recognized trade and industry associations detail their affiliation on their website. Members of industry associations are generally vetted annually and required to adhere to a strict Code of Conduct.
Scammers tend to be vague about what job will cost and how long it will take. A professional locksmith knows what is needed to be done, how much it will cost, and how long the job will take.
Most professional locksmiths drive commercial vehicles branded with the name of the company they work for, and they tend to wear a uniform that also identifies the business. They also carry their licence or some other sort of credentials to indicate that they are a professional locksmith. Scammers tend to drive unmarked passenger vehicles; they seldom carry any form of identification, and they dress in casual clothes.
Scammers like to get paid by credit card, not cash. This is because the person doing the job is generally doing it on behalf of the scam organiser. The worker gets paid a pittance, and the scam organiser takes the rest. The scammers will give you a receipt if you request one, but it will be handwritten in an off the shelf receipt book. Often the transaction is processed in overseas currency, and sometimes extra charges get added after the job has been completed. A professional locksmith will always issue you with a tax invoice.
What To Do If You Think You Are Being Scammed
If the person arriving at your property does not appear to be legitimate, or even if you just have a bad feeling about the person, cancel the job and ask them to leave.
And if they threaten you, call the police immediately.
To hire a locksmith, browse our member directory and hire a professional Masters Locksmith. Master Locksmiths are qualified, registered and police checked, as well as carry public liability and professional insurance.