16 Dec

How To Keep Yourself Safe When Hiring A Locksmith

imagesIt is the job of your local locksmith to do everything they can to ensure that you, your home, your car, your business premises and your personal property are kept as safe and as secure as they possibly can be. This means that you’re putting them in a position of trust – you need to be able to trust them with your keys, your money, and the safety and security of most of the things that you hold dear. This presents a conundrum: what can you do to verify that this person and their firm are as trustworthy as you need them to be?

Make Sure You Know Where Their Office Is

When you make first contact with a locksmith Liverpool, you need to start by ensuring that they’re operating from a valid business premises. They don’t need to have a shopfront – many modern mobile locksmiths won’t – but they do need to have a registered business address that they’re happy to give you. Ask them over the phone for their business address, and then search for it online to make sure that it isn’t a fake address and that their practice is legitimate. If you have any concerns, politely explain that you aren’t comfortable with engaging their services and move on to a different locksmith instead. If you have time, you might want to also look up that address with Companies House or a consumer watchdog, though this may of course not always be possible in an emergency – especially if you can’t get into your home.

Before you decide which locksmith to hire, you should be wary if:

  • They cannot provide you with a valid business address
  • The address they give you has been associated with dodgy practices in the past
  • Your requests for an address are met with confusion, surprise or reluctance

Ask For A Quote In Advance

It should be possible to get a general idea of the cost of what you need right away, when you’re talking to a Islington locksmiths on the phone before you book them. This won’t be completely accurate, of course – and you would be wise to be wary of any locksmith who claims that it will be. All you need is a general ballpark figure, to make sure that you’re going to be okay with the bill when it comes and to satisfy yourself that this is a firm with good business practices.

Alarm bells should sound for you in the following circumstances:

  • The quote you’re given is dramatically lower than others you can find (this could be a scam, and you’ll inevitably end up being asked to pay far more than that in the long run)
  • Whoever you speak to is reluctant to talk about pricing before you book a locksmith, and tries to fob you off with vague promises of ‘good value’
  • There’s no way to verify the price structure you’re quoted online – they don’t have a number you can call for a more accurate quote, or they claim not to give you paper bills

Examine The Van When It Arrives

There are actually plenty of reasons that a locksmith might arrive in an unbranded van. There’s no harm in hiring independent contractors, and you don’t need to always stick with big companies – in fact, some of them are much more likely to try and rip you off than a local  Manchester locksmith working out of a one-person setup. You do need to be sure that they’re legitimate, though, so if the van arrives unmarked it’s more important than ever that you make a note of the license plate number (do this subtly and don’t tell the locksmith you’re marking it down) and ensure that you ask the locksmith for identification before they start work.

So far as the van and the arrival of your locksmith goes, you should be extra careful if:

  • The name on the side of the van is different to the name of the firm you’re dealing with (this could indicate a previous failed operation, or something else you’d rather not deal with)
  • The locksmith is reluctant to provide you with identification when they ask, and doesn’t seem to have any kind of official ID to prove that they really are from the firm you were expecting
  • The van seems to be in particularly poor repair, and the locksmith doesn’t seem to have much in the way of equipment available to them when they arrive

Keep An Eye On The Locksmith As They Work

Obviously, Locksmith in Southampton are the professional and you are the customer – and there’s no need to for you to watch over them like a hawk or understand everything that they do. If you could do that, you may as well carry out the work yourself! They’re the expert, and you are going to have to trust them to be able to do their job properly. That said, you do need to ask the right questions and watch them as they work if you want to be sure of your own safety and security. There’s no harm in keeping an eye on a locksmith as they work, and any good locksmithing professional will be only too happy to keep you in the loop and talk to you about what they’re doing as they work.

Some of the warning signs at this stage in proceedings include:

  • A locksmith who immediately resorts to drilling a lock without first trying many other ways of gaining entry – this is part of the most common locksmithing scam and is a huge warning sign
  • Anyone who is reluctant to tell you what they’re doing as they do it, and doesn’t seem to be interested in putting your mind at ease and making you feel like you’re a part of the process
  • Someone who repeatedly doesn’t have the right tools at their disposal, and seems not to have much equipment to try and give you the best service that they can

Carefully Investigate The Bill You’re Given

There’s no problem at all with being asked to pay in cash up front. It’s not a bad thing or a warning sign – in fact, it can make the whole process far more stress-free and convenient for all concerned. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t be extra careful with these kind of payments; while they’re not in and of themselves problematic, they definitely would make it easier for an unscrupulous firm to get your money. Don’t rule the idea of paying up front out, but do ask for a written invoice before you pay and keep it. You also need to ask them for a receipt as well, so that you have proof of having already paid for the services you’ve received.

Be wary of any payment situation that seems to fit into the following categories:

  • The locksmith you’re speaking to won’t provide you with both a written invoice and a signed receipt to prove that they quoted a price to you and you paid it in full
  • The amount of money you’re asked to pay is dramatically different from the amount you were told to expect to be charged, and the locksmith doesn’t have a good explanation for this
  • If you ask if you could pay using another method, the locksmith doesn’t seem to be prepared to deal with this and won’t give you details of another way that you can pay your bill to them

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