Text Box: Protecting The Consumer and The Locksmith Industry     Updated 11/06/12

StoreFrontLocksmith.com

This Story was found on the

BBB website  and posted here for your information.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST "PHONY LOCKSMITHS"

Below are links to various news outlets, consumer protection agencies and state Attorney General offices addressing the issue of "phony locksmiths". The story is familiar in many states: an out-of-state company hires a number of unscrupulous individuals in the area to sub-contract its work using assumed business names, fake addresses and phone numbers. Many times consumers have been over-sold, under serviced, or just plain lied to!

The Illinois Attorney General filed criminal charges against a New York locksmith operation for setting up phony storefronts with unlicensed individuals practicing locksmithing that lead consumers to believe they were dealing with local companies. The action was successful, and the company was ordered to pay thousands in restitution, to cease operations and to no longer do business in the state under a new name or any of the 25 different names the company had been using in local telephone directories!

ALOA encourages locksmiths who are facing this same situation to go to their state's Attorney General who can take the appropriate legal action against these fraudulent companies. ALOA recently sent a letter to all Attorneys General urging them to pursue this matter in their state. For a copy of that letter, Click Here . To contact your state's Attorney General, go to Click Here .

ALOA is also empowering you to take immediate action when these fraudulent operations show up in your city. Click Here for a Press Release that you may send to your local print and broadcast news media outlets. Make sure you put in the date and the name of your city in the highlighted areas.

For further assistance, contact ALOA Legislative Manager, Tim McMullen at 214-819-9733 x300 or tim@aloa.org

 

Click here to view the Phony Locksmith Press Room with various reports of Phony Locksmiths

BBB Warns Consumers of Nationwide Locksmith Swindle

You may have been a victim and not even know it.

For Immediate Release

Arlington, VA – July 10, 2007 – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) today is

warning consumers to beware of untrustworthy locksmith companies that are

ripping off consumers across the country.  Victim complaints to the BBB reveal

that several locksmith companies, all using similar methods, are significantly

overcharging consumers, charging consumers for unnecessary services, using

 intimidation tactics, and failing to give refunds or respond to consumer

complaints. “Ironically, these companies operate under names like

‘Dependable Locksmith’ but in reality they exploit the vulnerable situation of

consumers who are locked out of their house or car,” said Steve Cox spokesperson for the BBB System. “We’ve found that some locksmiths have made taking advantage of consumers’ misfortune part of their business model.” Complaints about locksmith services to the 114 BBBs serving the U.S. increased almost 75 percent from 2005 to 2006, and have continued to come in steadily during the first half of this year. The BBB has identified Dependable Locksmith – which operates under more than a dozen different names – as a particularly disreputable locksmith. This company poses as a local locksmith in cities across the country and advertises in the yellow pages using local phone numbers and fake local addresses. A consumer might think they’re dealing with a local locksmith but their phone call is actually connected to a call center located in the Bronx borough of New York City. Consumers are quoted a reasonable price over the phone but when the locksmith arrives – typically in an unmarked vehicle – he demands significantly more money than originally quoted, often only accepting cash. A complaint from Cleveland, OH, where Dependable Locksmith was operating under the name “Superb Solutions,” alleges the company quoted fees of $39 and $84 for separate jobs, but the bill ended up at $471, which included add-on fees such as a $65 breaking in fee and a $58 fee to uninstall old locks. Another complainant reported that the locksmith sent to let her into her car demanded she pay twice the price quoted over the phone. The locksmith offered to drive her to an ATM to get cash – feeling unsafe the victim refused. The victim was ultimately forced to write a check made out personally to the locksmith as he would not let her into her car until she did so. She cancelled payment on the check the next morning, but eventually filed a police report after the locksmith harassed her with continuous phone calls about payment. The BBB has also heard many complaints from victims who say they were charged for unnecessary services. For example, complainants suspect locksmiths sent over by Dependable Locksmiths of pretending they couldn’t simply pick the lock so that they could charge more and install all new locks in homes. Some of Dependable Locksmith’s aliases include, Superb Solutions, Locksmith 24 Hour, Inc., USA Total Security, Priceline Locksmith, and S.O.S. Locksmith. Two other locksmith contractors fleecing consumers are Basad, Inc. – which operates under more than 50 names nationwide, such as A-1 Locksmith Service, A-1 24 Hour Locksmith, A-1 Lock & Key Locksmith, and AAA Locksmith 24 Hour – and Liberty Locksmith. Similar to Dependable Locksmith, they pose as local locksmiths and run full-page yellow pages ads with multiple phone and address listings. The phone numbers appear to be local, but connect to national call centers such as Liberty’s in New York City, while the addresses end up belonging to other established businesses in the local area, or are simply non-existent. Liberty Locksmith had been a BBB member in Tulsa, OK, but during normal BBB member validation processes, it was discovered that the addresses provided by the company were false. In June 2007, the BBB terminated the membership of Liberty Locksmith for providing false information in its membership application and providing misleading advertisements to the public. Like others, Liberty Locksmith and Basad, Inc. use common cons such as quoting one price over the phone, but then charging significantly more on site. “These companies are very good at posing as trustworthy locksmiths,” said Mr. Cox. “Before you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being locked out of your car or house, do your research and find a truly dependable locksmith in your area. Ask around and always check with the BBB first to find reputable businesses.” If you feel you’ve been taken advantage of by Dependable Locksmith, Liberty Locksmith, Basad. Inc., or others, please contact the BBB to file a complaint, or do so online at www.bbb.org.

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Reporters and journalists may contact Steve Cox, CBBB's Vice President, Communications, or call 703.276.0100 to request an interview or additional information.

If you are a consumer who is seeking additional information, or need assistance with a complaint against a business, please contact your local BBB, visit the BBB web site (www.bbb.org) or call 703.276.0100.