- Home Improvement
Find a Locksmith You Can Trust
Find a Locksmith You Can Trust
a locksmith has the potential to be a very stressful ordeal. It’s not exactly like hiring a mechanic to change your oil or a landscaper to mow your lawn - we’re talking about
inviting a stranger to you home, and conceivably giving him full-blown
access to everything. Even if the guy doesn’t have any intentions of
robbing you down the road, there's the distinct possibility that he's a scam artist, robbing you for his
services right there on the spot. Unfortunately falling victim to false
advertising, questionable estimates, shifty negotiations, and flat-out
bogus legitimacy are all potential risks when hiring a locksmith.
Fortunately, however, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that the guy you hire to change the lock on your front door or let you into your car at 3:00 AM is someone who you don’t need to fear (you have enough to worry about). While paid sites like Angie’s List and Service Magic can certainly help point you in the right direction, there are still reported issues of conflicts in legitimacy - not to mention - you have to pay for them.
It's a lot easier to take a couple minutes, and let someone else do the legwork for you - for free. Whether you need a locksmith service for you car, home, or business, there are two great sources you can use; the websites of the Better Business Bureau and your local Attorney General.
Search the Better Business Bureau
Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been thumping out the bad guys in the name
of consumer justice since 1912, and based on my personal experience working with
them, they do things properly. They have a fantastic search function
on their site called “Check Out a Business or a Charity” which allows you
to search for locksmiths (or any other service provider or vendor) in
your area, and browse through their BBB report card.
The BBB grades businesses just like your teachers graded you in high school - on a scale from A+ to F. If the locksmith you’re looking at received an A - holy crap - he deserves it. The Better Business Bureau’s grading requirements are extremely strict and mercilessly brutal. They hold them accountable for everything from complaints submitted against them to the amount of time they’ve been in business.
You’re bound to find plenty of solid B to A+ range companies in your area, but on the flip side, it’s not too hard to find a nice collection of Ds and Fs as well. One quick way to weed out the good from the bad is to only search by BBB Accredited Business. Locksmithing companies with this title aren’t messing around and you can darn near bet your life on solid work, fair pricing, and trustworthy service.
The information you find on BBB.org is extremely candid. They’ll show you details on every report that the company in question has received, on what level, and whether or not they resolved it. There’s no hiding from these guys, which is why the Better Business Bureau is an excellent place to start your search for a locksmith.
Your Local Attorney General
you’ve gotten yourself a name or two from BBB.org, head on over to your
Attorney General’s site for a second opinion. Every state’s site is a
little different, but the easiest way to get where you need to go is to
navigate to the main page (naag.org), and click your state on the map.
This site’s pretty cool - you can search for sex offenders in your neighborhood (I promise you’ll be creeped out), look through missing persons reports, and, of course, search for complaint records against locksmiths and other service professionals.
Once you’re on the site, you should see a “Consumers” tab - hover over that, and select to search for “Consumer Complaints”. Type in the name of the locksmiths that you found on the Bureau, and search away. If they come up clean, or their issues are minimal, they might just be your guy.
Again, you don’t want to just invite any old locksmith (or con artists claiming to be one) over to your house - you can get overcharged for the job, or a whole lot worse. Use the above strategies to conduct some screening ahead of time, and be as thorough as you wish - the important thing is, you’re taking proper precautions, which will likely result in find the right man for the job. Good luck, be safe, and lock up!