When you are locked out of your home, you are in a poor position to haggle. And unfortunately, as this LA Times article points out, there are locksmiths out there who will take advantage of the situation. Just ask Pat McGrath, who was charged $200 when he broke his key in his mailbox lock - $80 for a lock and $120 for 15 minutes of labor. I wish I made $480 an hour. In California, locksmiths are required to be licensed to work in the state, but restrictions are low and enforcement is lax. The best advice to avoid being scammed is to be prepared. Don't wait until you need a locksmith, find a good one beforehand.
Dave, thankyou for your post about the phony locksmiths. How ever if you read to the bottom of the article you would see that they are phony locksmiths and not shady locksmiths.
My point is you are refering to them as shady locksmiths which implies that they are locksmiths when in fact they are not.
This story only touches very lightly on this issue.
What is going on is that there are rings of these locksmith counterfeiters advertising all over the nation in just about every major city. They are using all kinds of fraudulant advertiseing to get consummers to believe they are locksmiths. They definately are not.
These are israeli foriengers mostly and they are some really ruthless con artists. The mail box lock in the LA Times story is small in comparison to other incidents. Ray miller a senior citizen in illinois was forced to pay 1700.00 when he was locked out of his home. There are many more of these with most of them ranging 4-5 dollars.
There are many storys around the country about these phonies. Google them. or go to aloa.org to see the press room with many news articles listed.
Remember they are not locksmiths, but locksmith inpersonators that are bait and switching consummers. They cant even pick locks but drill them and cause the consummer to puchase a highly over priced lockset to replace the one they just destroyed on your door.
People call a locksmith because they usually will get in with no damage to the locks.
You bring up a good point - perhaps I should have retitled the title of this entry to be more accurate (reading "phony" instead of "shady"). Keep up the good work and hopefully we can work together to get the word out on, and get rid of, the phonies.
At this time, there are only 10 states which have licensing. These states can also be found on the ALOA website.
I can't recall all of them; however, off the top of my head: IL, TX, TN, CA, OK, NYCity, MO, have licensing and you should ask to see the state issued pocket card of any locksmith before allowing him/her to start work.
Let them know over the phone you will be asking for proof of license if you are in a state requiring locksmiths to be licensed.