A locksmith “bait and switch” scheme is sweeping the locksmith industry especially in London, as the UK’s largest locksmith association we are trying to make the public more aware of this scam when hiring a locksmith.
Our advice will protect you against the bait & switch scheme to prevent being overcharged, with questions to ask the locksmith and red flags to look out for.
What is the Bait & Switch Locksmith Price Scheme?
The bait and switch price scheme is where a customer is lured in by an initial cheap price advertised, only to be hit with a bill that is more often than not a minimum of 10 times more expensive than the advertised fee!
The ‘cheap locksmith’ will advertise a low cost or quote a low price such as £39 / £49 or £59, only for the final price to be much higher.
Locksmith Quotes £49 but Final Price is £1604!
An example of this bait and switch price scheme can be seen below, quote £49 but final price is £1604, this receipt is real!
Where is Bait & Switch Locksmith Price Scheme Happening?
We have seen the bait and switch price scheme on the rise within the locksmithing industry especially around London and the surrounding areas.
Always be wary of £39 / £49 / £59 Locksmith Google Adverts.
Locksmiths using the bait and switch scheme we found are using price points of £39 / £49 / £59 when advertising in the Google Ads at the top of the search.
These low prices are unrealistic for a job especially if you hiring a 24-hour locksmith after 8pm.
Read our average locksmith prices for how much typical locksmith jobs may cost included are prices of locks as well.
How Can I Protect Myself against Bait & Switch Scheme?
It is important to do research when hiring a Locksmith, to avoid the bait and switch scheme we recommend the following:
Ask Locksmith the Correct Questions:
You should ask any & as many questions you want in relation to the locksmith job such as:
- 1. Will they be doing the work or are they subcontracting the work out to somebody else?
- 2. If subcontracting who are they using and who do you pay/contact in case of any issues.
- 3. What does the advertised price specifically cover?
- 4. Is there a call out charge and what does this cover?
- 5. Ask for a quote based on a detailed outline of what is required
- 6. Whether it’s a firm quote or an estimate?
Get Multiple Locksmith Quotes
Try to get multiple quotes to ensure you are comfortable with the service you are asking for, and look for reviews in more than one location.
Look for Locksmith Reviews on Multiple Platforms
We suggest looking for reviews on multiple platforms e.g. Google, Bing, Facebook,
- Paid for Reviews – reviews CAN be bought on platforms
- Hidden Reviews – bad reviews can be hidden on certain social media platforms
- Review Has Detailed Job Info – Make sure you find positive reviews with detailed job information
Do not just base your choice on one platform only.
Red Flags When Hiring a Locksmith
The red flags to look out for when hiring a locksmith are:
- 1. Claims to be “Police Recommended” are likely to be false
- 2. Cheap locksmith price such as £49 / £59 in Google Ads
- 3. Claims of 3rd party approval – always check and verify any claims
- 4. Not giving name of locksmith – this could be signs of a sub contractor/call centre
For more tips of hiring a locksmith see our choosing a good locksmith guide.
Summary on Locksmith Price and Bait Scheme
In summary the price and bait scheme for hiring a locksmith is on the rise, watch out the following:
- Low Price advertised such as £49 / £59 are usually too good to be true
- Commonly found at the top of search in Google Ads
- Prominent in London and areas near London
To protect yourself always ask as many questions as possible, our locksmith price checklist is a great guide.
MLA Approved Locksmiths are Vetted