It is often at the most inconvenient times that you need an automotive locksmith. You locked your keys inside your car or trunk, you can't open your car door because your key is acting wonky, or you broke your key in the lock. These are just a few of the reasons that would warrant calling a locksmith. However, all locksmiths do not operate legally and you need to be careful that you do not end up spending far more than you need to or suffer damage from unskilled labor.
While it may be difficult (or near impossible) to predict when and where you might need an automotive locksmith, consider taking these steps to be better prepared to prevent yourself from being picked by a locksmith scam artist.
The trick is in the number
Probably the best way to be prepared is to have the number for a reputable locksmith in your area already stored in your phone. However, not many people are likely to have done this, especially if they have never needed the services before. The next alternative is to search through the Better Business Bureau or the Associated Locksmiths of America Incorporated (ALOA) websites for the names and contact information of reputable locksmiths.
Even though you may be in a hurry (especially at 1 or 2 am or during bad weather), it is suggested that you avoid just picking a number from an ad in the yellow pages or on the Internet as unscrupulous locksmiths are most likely to list their businesses through these means.
Where's your sign?
If you somehow found yourself in a situation where you had to just take your chances on the first name you found, then there are signs to look for to help you determine the legitimacy of the locksmith. The person answering the call should clearly state the name of the company and the locksmith who arrives should be in a marked vehicle with the company name on display. Outside of these, you should expect a locksmith who asks for identification from you and presents identification to you.
Try to ensure that there is clear understanding and agreement on the cost before the locksmith starts to work on your vehicle. If an agreement cannot be reached, then it is your right to refuse the service. It is also suggested that you ask for an itemized invoice to see exactly what you are paying for.
Locksmiths, such as A-Okay Lock & Key Inc, can be a great advantage when you need them, but be sure you take necessary precautions to avoid further issues with your car.