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How to Spot a Rogue Locksmith – 3 Red Flags to Prevent Being Scammed

Red Flags When Hiring a Locksmith How to Spot a rogue Locksmith - Prevent Being Scammed

If you are looking to hire a locksmith there a some warnings signs you should be aware of before hiring a locksmith.

Our guide below will cover some major red flags to look out for when searching for a locksmith near you and prevent you from potential hiring a rogue locksmith.

1. Locksmith Google Adverts Stating from £39 / £49 / £59 Price 

The number one sign of a rogue locksmith is usually a very cheap advertised price at the top of search engines – the price we have seen is normally £39/£49 or £59.

How to Spot a Rogue Locksmith advert

A typical bait and switch rogue locksmith advert will likely consist of the following:

  1. 1. Cheap Advertised Price be wary of from £39 / £49 or £59 prices – we have found this is the price rogue locksmiths are using
  2. 2. Top of Google 1st position in the Google Adverts with cheap advertised price (£39/£49/£59)
    – they have PAID to be here, for a reason!
  3. 3. Nationwide Problem – Rogue locksmiths also turn on and off their adverts to appear in ALL areas of the UK and at certain times of the day.

If a low price looks too good to be true then more often than not it will be!

The locksmith bait & switch price scheme is a major problem in the industry currently, resulting in customers being charged over £500 for a simple job such as a lock out.

What a Rogue Locksmith Advert MAY Look Like

Below is what a typical rogue locksmith bait and switch price advert looks like on Google:

Red-Flag-hiring-a-locksmith-£39-locksmith-Google-Advert

The above rogue locksmith advert will draw in desperate customers with it’s cheap £39 price point.

Bait and Switch Price – The final price is highly unlikely to be £39, we have seen some customers ending up with bills over £500 for a quick lock out job where a cheap initial price was promoted on advertising material.

A genuine locksmith will have no problems with providing a rough price quote based on details you provide.

For advice on costing see our locksmith price guide.

This brings us onto the 2nd red flag to look out for, after clicking on their Google advert their website will sometimes make claims of 3rd party approval.

2. Claims of 3rd Party Approval / Certification / Accreditation

One of the other most popular red flags to look out for when hiring a locksmith are false claims of being certified, accredited or DBS checked.

After clicking the Cheap £39 / £49 / £59 Google advert the website usually makes false claims.

Look out for any false claims of the following:

  • False claims of being Approved or Certified by a trade association
  • False claims of being Vetted by a 3rd party
  • False claims of being DBS checked

Red Flag Hiring a Locksmith - Locksmith false accreditation claim 3rd party approval

We come across many false claims of MLA Approved Company status, which is why we recommend verifying your locksmith is a full Master Locksmiths approved company.

As the MLA logo is trademarked we can take action against incorrect use,  false claims of being MLA approved is also against the consumer protection from unfair trading regulations.

Genuine Locksmiths will Provide Details of Accreditations

A legitimate locksmith company with genuine 3rd party approval will gladly provide you with the details of their accreditation, most will link through to their 3rd party accreditation profile as proof.

3.  Locksmith Claims to be Police Recommended or Work with Police Force

Another red flag is if the locksmith claims to be Police Recommended.

A rogue locksmith will usually claim the following:

  • Police Recommended – the Police do not recommend locksmith companies, the Police MAY advise using an MLA approved locksmith due to the vetting process our locksmiths go through, the Police are highly unlikely to recommend a specific company though.
  • Police Approved Locksmith – There is no such thing as being a “Police Approved Locksmith” – the Police DO NOT approve locksmiths!
  • Work with MET Police – The MET Police are aware of locksmiths making these false claims and falsely using their logo.

Genuine locksmiths may carry out locksmith jobs for the Police though, but they will not claim to be Police Approved or Police Recommended.

BONUS RED FLAGS
4. Locksmiths Name & Are They Subcontractors?

An additional red flag to be aware of when calling a locksmith is the use of subcontractors, this is often a clear sign the locksmith is not local and indeed a nationwide company/call centre you are phoning, it will often be the case that subcontractor details are not known or shared and if this is the case please be wary.

Questions to ask a suspected rogue locksmith:

  1. 1. Name of locksmith – Who will be carrying out the work, do you have the name of the locksmith?
  2. 2. Are they are a Subcontractor Ask if they are subcontracting the work
  3. 3. If a subcontractor – ask for the name and contact details in case any problems arise
  4. 4. Who are you paying – find out who your contract is actually with and who it is that you are paying

5. Locksmith is Vague on the Phone about Price Details

A genuine locksmith should be able to provide a quote for the job either over the phone or by email, as long as they know details about the job.

Red flags of a rogue locksmith prices on the phone are:

  • Very vague about price details on the phone
  • Keeps mentioning a low price on the phone
  • Unable to give accurate price quote for the job e.g price of specific lock, cost to unlock your lock

Pro Top: Read our locksmith price checklist here and don’t be afraid to ask for more information on pricing.

6. Locksmith Attempts to Drill Your Lock 

Always be wary if a locksmith immediately attempts to drill to open your door lock as they will normally try other, non-destructive methods first.

Sometimes drilling a lock is the only way to open it though.

Warning signs of a locksmith using a drill:

  • 1st attempt to open your lock is by drilling the lock
  • Drilling is usually a last resort for skilled locksmiths

Pro Tip: A locksmith will normally only use a drill if the lock is broken beyond repair and or the lock will need replacing anyway (e.g. keys stolen)


Summary on Spotting a Rogue locksmith

The red flags to look out for when a hiring a locksmith are:

  1. 1. Cheap Google Advert Price usually states from £39 / £49 / £59
  2. 2. False Claims of 3rd party approval and accreditation, always check any claims of being vetted/accredited by 3rd parties
  3. 3. Claims of being Police Recommended or Police Approved
  4. 4. Refusing or unable to give the locksmiths name usually indicates a call centre subcontracting work.
  5. 5. Vague on Pricing only mentions low price in advert refusing to give further info
  6. 6. Wants to Drill lock as first attempt to gain entry

For advice on hiring a locksmith see our choosing a locksmith guide here.

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