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Question DetailsAsked on 5/2/2011

locked out of your house?

Be very careful when calling! I was locked out of my house for the first time ever. I called this business as they listed my city in their yellow pages ad, just to see what their prices were like. I was told $15.00 for the lock and $35.00 for the service call, (those words exactly) with no mention that the $15.00 was a minimum charge and most likely would be higher. I could afford $50.00, so I told him to send someone out. When the technician arrived at my house, he said something about the charge being considerably higher if he had to drill out the lock or cause other damage. He could not open my front door, so he tried opening my rollup garage door. He was successful that time and presented me with a bill for $149.00 to open the door and $35.00 for the service call, which if I knew beforehand, would have resulted in my refusing service, as I did not have that much in my debit account. I called the next business day, to speak to a manager to dispute the charge, and as you might expect, my call was never returned. They got their money when money was automatically added to my debit account. So, I have no recourse, but to call the BBB and warn everyone who might fall victim to what happened to me!

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2 Answers


What you've described is a nation-wide epidemic widely covered by the news media and even prosecuted in certain states. Here are some steps you can take to be sure you're getting a reputable locksmith:

1) Hire only locksmiths that have been subjected to background checks. The Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) has a website called that lists only members that have undergone a background check. The same applies to Membership with a local locksmith association may imply a certain level of accountability as well but will vary by region.

2) Hire a locksmith that has undergone ALOA proficiency testing. The following acronyms will follow the name listed on CRL (Certified Registered Locksmith); CPL (Certified Professional Locksmith); and CML (Certified Master Locksmith).

3) Expect a locksmith to be able to provide an unchanging, flat-rate quote for certain services such as vehicle lockouts, key origination, rekeys, and, in most cases, residential and commercial unlocks. The only time there should be a deviation from the quoted rate is if there is something that cannot reasonably be expected to be identified over the phone, or if there is a change in the scope of the project. Any changes should be described as early as possible in the project, giving the client the opportunity to approve or reject the new bid. Never should a locksmith be confrontational during such a discussion.

4) Expect your locksmith to be professionally dressed, preferably in a company shirt, and to be driving a marked service vehicle.

5) Remember that it is within your rights to refuse to pay when you are presented with a bill that represents an exorbitant deviation from the original quote, except when there is an unanticipated situation or change in scope as mentioned above. If the locksmith has been forthcoming and diligent in his efforts to provide an accurate quote and fair assessment of the situation, you still have the right to refuse to pay for work beyond the original quote, but you will be expected to pay the service call and for any parts/labor expended. The right of refusal is intended to protect clients from paying $300 for a lockout that was quoted at $30, not to provide an excuse for non-payment. Probably the worst thing that can happen by refusing to pay a scammer is that they might re-lock your house or vehicle and refuse to provide you the keys. This simply gives you the opportunity to call a reputable locksmith and have the job done right. It's better to suffer the inconvenience to your schedule than to fume after the fact over having paid too much.

6) If you feel that you are the victim of a locksmith scammer, you may contact your state attorney general, who is most likely collecting a file of such complaints for use in future prosecutions.

7) More questions? Call Brett Miller, CRL at Lockstar, 303.887.3737.

Answered 9 years ago by eslllc


So sorry this happened to you! Not that it helps you now but for others a good best practice is to keep an extra key with a reliable neighbor or family memer.


Answered 8 years ago by HMDhome

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