MLA Master Locksmiths are Vetted Inspected Qualified

Complaints about a locksmith – Here’s what to do

Locksmith complaints and overcharging

Do you think a locksmith has overcharged you? Have they done work you are unhappy with? Do you feel ripped off?

If you’ve recently had work conducted by a locksmith that you’re not satisfied with and you wish to complain, here’s what to do.

Think You’ve Been Overcharged? Check against our locksmith price list with estimated costs of different locksmith jobs in the UK.

We are the UK’s Largest Locksmith Trade Association

As the largest locksmith association in the UK we are recommend by Police and Neighbourhood Watch.

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Complain about a locksmith

This first thing you should know is that there is no government regulation in the locksmithing industry.

Important: No Government Regulation for Locksmiths

No regulation in the locksmith industry means:

  • Anybody can call themselves a locksmith with no ID
  • Anybody can trade as a locksmith with no qualifications
  • Anyone can advertise as a locksmith
  • Anyone can train to be a locksmith with no vetting at all
    – the MLA runs background checks on those who attend our training courses
  • Anyone can buy locksmith tools

What does this mean for locksmith pricing?

No regulation means there are no standard price rates that locksmiths must charge.

1. Complaining about a Locksmith that is NOT MLA Approved

The MLA has no control over locksmiths that are not MLA Approved & with no government regulation for locksmiths, complaints about non-members are more challenging.

Complain about Non-Member

Is the Locksmith an MLA Approved Locksmith?

First, we need to know if the locksmith is approved by the Master Locksmiths Association, read about MLA Approval here.

>> Check locksmith is MLA Approved here.

If the locksmith is not an MLA approved locksmith, two courses of action we recommend taking:

Option 1 – Contact Trading Standards

If you cannot resolve the issue with the locksmith or your complaint is being ignored you may need to escalate your complaint to Trading Standards.

>> Contact Your Local Trading Standards here

Option 2 – Contact Citizens Advice Bureau CAB

Once you’ve made reasonable attempts to remedy the issue and the locksmith fails to comply, you can your local CAB for free legal advice.

>> Contact Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) here

How to get a refund from the locksmith

For advice on getting a refund if you have been overcharged by a locksmith you can file in our complaint form, we can send you tips on what to do next.

>> Complete our Complaint Form

>> Advice on refunds from

Check a Locksmith is MLA Approved

To verify a locksmith is approved by the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA), click the below link.

Find a MLA Approved Locksmith here

2. Complaining about an MLA Approved Locksmith:

Is the locksmith you wish to complain about a member of the Master Locksmiths Association?

If so, in the rare event that one of our vetted and inspected members carry out inadequate work, you can submit a complaint, in writing, to the MLA so we can investigate the complaint.

We ask that before making any complaint, you have made reasonable attempts to mediate with the locksmith in question initially.

Complain about MLA Member

Reasons For a Locksmith Complaint?

The most popular complaints in the industry are usually some of the below:

Locksmith has Overcharged me

Overcharging and locksmith prices is usually the number one complaint we hear about, such as the locksmith quoted a price for a job beforehand and then quoted me significantly more once the job was completed.

Final Price not matching Quote – Hugely Overcharged

Rogue locksmiths usually avoid disclosing the final price before the job has been done and don’t explain what the costs the quote actually cover.

Other times the quote will be much cheaper than the price on the final invoice leaving you with a larger bill than expected.

Always question what the price quoted covers, and what extras could be involved in the job.

Locksmith Price Checklist
Questions to Ask

Find out questions we recommend asking a locksmith to prevent being overcharged.

Read Locksmith Price Checklist

Locksmith Price May Be Accurate – Here Is Why

A word of caution though; just because a locksmith has done a job for you quickly, it doesn’t mean that it’s worth less than quoted.


If a locksmith quotes you £90 to gain entry and they do so in a matter of a couple of minutes, you’re not paying for that couple of minutes.

What you are Paying For

You are paying for the years a locksmith has spent training, buying specialist tools and equipment, the vehicle to get to you, the insurances etc.

So if you’ve agreed a rate beforehand, just because they’ve done their job quicker than you’d thought, it’s no reason to then question the amount charged.

Examples of Customers Overcharged by Locksmiths

Below are examples of invoices of rogue locksmiths overcharging customers:

Example #1 – Charged over £700

A clear example of overcharging a customer can be seen below, who was charged over £700 for a locksmith to:

  • Drill open a door
  • Change the locks
  • Fit a British standard lock with 3 keys.
Locksmith ovecharged receipt

Example of a rogue locksmith charging over £700 for a job

What is wrong with the above invoice:

  • Most locksmiths do not drill and will attempt non-destructive entry.
  • If drilling is only option, why has the ‘locksmith’ charged £180?
  • A British Standard Lock with 3 Keys does not cost £345 unless the lock is gold plated!

More Examples of Overcharging


A customer charged £750 by a rogue locksmith


A customer was charged over £3000 by a rogue locksmith

Locksmith Has Damaged My Door/Lock

Another complaint is the damage a locksmith has done to either a lock or door.

Has the locksmith maybe drilled the lock? or maybe you are no longer able to shut your door properly?

Please note that despite Non-Destructive Entry being the first thing that a locksmith should attempt, there may be instances when locks need to be drilled.

Should a locksmith drill a lock?

The lock may be drilled if the lock is malfunctioning– however, when a lock is drilled the damage should be minimal and repaired by the locksmith.

Damaged wooden door

Significant damage done to a wooden door lock

See our locksmith hall of shame for more examples of rogue locksmiths damaging locks.

Locksmith Provided No Receipt

Another common reason for complaints is the locksmith didn’t provide a receipt for the job, despite numerous requests.

Prevent Being Overcharged by a Locksmith Again

Read our locksmith price checklist and make you have it handy when hiring a locksmith in the future.

Alternatively, using an MLA approved locksmith means your locksmith is vetted, inspected and is qualified.

Ourselves at Master Locksmiths Association HQ will investigate any pricing complaints we receive about our approved company locksmiths.

Summary on Overcharging by Locksmiths

The best advice we can give about being overcharged is making you use a locksmith approved by the Master Locksmiths Association.

For complaints, we advise to contact your local trading standards office AND local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice.

Find a MLA Locksmith Near You

Locksmiths approved by Master Locksmiths Association are Vetted, Inspected & Qualified

Find a MLA Approved Locksmith here

Further Reading

Why use a MLA Approved Locksmith?

All locksmith companies approved & licensed by Master Locksmiths Association are:

Vetted Locksmith
All our Master Locksmiths are criminal record checked


Our Locksmiths are criminal record checked.
How we check our locksmiths

Locksmith Inspection
All our Master Locksmiths are criminal record checked


Our Locksmiths are Regularly Inspected.
How we inspect our locksmiths

Locksmith Qualification
All our Master Locksmiths are criminal record checked


Our Locksmiths have passed the MLA exam.
Read about MLA Exam here

Vetted Locksmiths In the UK

Find Nearest Locksmith

Become a MLA Member

Join the UK's largest locksmith association, all levels of membership available for those new to locksmithing to trading locksmiths.

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