Sadly we are all too familiar with scams and tales of fraud these days. But many people are not aware of rogue locksmiths.
Over the last few years the number of people pretending to be qualified locksmiths has risen. It’s important to raise awareness about this because rogue locksmiths often don’t have the skills, training or equipment to do the job properly and this can leave you vulnerable to crime.
So how can you avoid a false economy and be sure your locksmith is qualified?
What is a rogue locksmith?
A qualified locksmith will be a member of a body such as the Master Locksmiths Association or MLA. They will also have gone through training and have qualifications to become a member. But a rogue locksmith is someone who either falsely claims membership or simply offers locksmith services without being qualified to do so.
MLA members reported in 2021 that they had attended over 300 botched jobs in the previous 12 months where rogue locksmiths had done poor quality work that had to be rectified by a qualified locksmith.
Rogue locksmiths are also known for overcharging. While they may advertise cheap prices and great deals, 65% of MLA members reported they knew of rogues overcharging customers by more than £200 per job.
Why is it such a problem?
There are lots of jobs you need doing around the house that don’t require a top-tier qualified professional. But locksmith jobs aren’t in that category.
Instead, you can find yourself with cheap locks that simply can’t handle the softest attempt to break-in. Or you may find windows or doors ruined due to poor quality locks, leading to expensive replacement jobs.
In most extreme cases, locks that don’t conform to British Standards but are declared to be so (unknowingly by homeowners) can cause problems with insurance companies. Most policies will state locks must conform to standards or you might be offered a discount on your premium if they do so. If something happens and an insurer finds these locks aren’t to standard, they can refuse to pay a claim.
How to spot a rogue locksmith
The good news is there are a few simple ways to spot a rogue locksmith and to be sure the one you are considering is legitimate.
- Calls to rogue locksmiths are usually answered at a call centre and you often can’t get a clear picture of who will be doing the work or where they are from.
- The company ranks high in search results when you look for locksmiths in your area but this is due to paid ads, not due to genuinely being the best.
- Their advertised prices are usually much lower than the competition with figures such as £39-59 common, but the final bill is much higher.
- They are vague about qualifications, experience and reviews from previous jobs.
Sometimes you find it hard to get rid of a rogue locksmith after you get a quote and they often try to upsell other products or services that you don’t need.
How to get a legitimate locksmith
The easiest way to find out if a locksmith is legitimate is to ask for the details of their professional membership and then check it out on their website. The MLA has information on their website and you can email them to check someone out.
Never hire anyone who doesn’t provide all of this information upfront and remember, if their price seems too cheap, there’s probably a good reason for it!
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