Authorities are warning Australians to be vigilant following a spike in telephone and email scams from dodgy folk claiming to be from telecoms and energy companies.
While people are rightfully being more alert when called out of the blue, another common scam that’s often ignored by everyday Aussies is auto locksmith scams.
Have you ever had to put up with the frustration of dealing with a locksmith who didn’t just overcharge you, but left work unfinished or poorly finished?
How about a locksmith who didn’t show up at all, but still charged you in advance?
Has an auto locksmith quoted you for one thing, only charge you for something else entirely?
These are just some of the common scams bad apples use to tarnish the locksmithing industry and rip off stranded motorists just like you.
In fact, these people aren’t even locksmiths – they’re con artists posing as locksmiths to get you at your most vulnerable.
Situations like these can make locking yourself out or losing your car keys that much more stressful!
Avoid the frustration of hiring a dodgy locksmith. Keep these tips in mind when calling for a Brighton auto locksmith - who knows, it might save you a small fortune!
Tip #1: Research your auto locksmith first
Hiring the right locksmith isn’t something you should be doing without doing your research first.
That means reading their reviews!
It always pays to verify your locksmith’s story before picking up the phone. Check their website and scour the web for reviews - better yet, ask other members of your community who might be familiar with your locksmith.
Tip #2: Ask for your locksmith’s certifications and registration
Not everyone can be a locksmith. We spend several years preparing for the job, including:
- Studying a Certificate III in Locksmithing
- Completing a mandatory apprenticeship
- Undergoing background checks
You mightn’t be able to find all of this out on your own - fortunately, industry bodies such as the Master Locksmiths Association of Australia (MLAA) do that for you!
Certifications tell you that your car locksmith knows their stuff. Most importantly, Master Locksmiths are held to a strict code of conduct. Breaches of this code (say, running locksmith scams) automatically revoke a locksmith’s registration.
If you’re unsure what qualifications your locksmith holds, you can check the MLAA website to find a licensed auto locksmith in Toorak, Bayside or anywhere else in Melbourne.
Tip #3: ask for a price quote
It’s also a good idea to ask for a price quote in advance.
Getting you back into your car is easy for a certified locksmith. Many dodgy ones will scam motorists by charging absurd prices for their services.
To force you to pay up, they might resort to bullying tactics, threats to call the police or even hanging on to your credit card.
Always ask for a written quote before choosing a locksmith. Any reputable auto locksmith will be more than happy to provide an accurate estimate.
Speaking of pricing...
Tip #4: Be wary of cheap locksmiths
We all love getting a bargain.
But if the initial quote put forward by your locksmith is way under market price, then something’s up - not only might said locksmith be cutting corners, but they might also be ripping you off!
Let’s say that you receive 2 quotes: one for $90 and one for $130. You might choose to opt for the $90 option. The locksmith does his work.
But when they invoice you, it’s for $145!
Turns out, the low initial quote was just for the callout. Perhaps the service itself was excluded in the fine print, or maybe your locksmith found an “unexpected problem” that drastically ramps up the price.
It’s a common enough locksmith scam. That’s why we urge you to be careful of extra hidden charges and to be wary of any unexpectedly low quotes.
When it comes to quotes:
- Ask for an itemised quote
- Find out what the callout fee is
Tip #5: Are they cash-only?
Thanks to wireless technology and mobile internet, mobile locksmiths can now take card payments on-the-go. You can even buy plug-in devices that turn any smartphone with a headphone jack into a card reader!
Some locksmiths might be slow to catch up, and that’s fine.
But if they’re adamant about their cash-only rule and won’t give you a good reason why, chances are they’re trying to hide something. They might be tax-evading, or they could be trying to get away with ripping people off.
Do you really want that type of person looking after your car?
Tip #6: Check your auto locksmith’s vehicle
Bogus locksmiths generally don’t have their company name, logo, contact number or web address on their work vehicle.
If you ask us, any auto locksmith that shows up in an unmarked vehicle should be treated with caution.
Like tip #4, this one isn’t an automatic disqualification. There are plenty of competent auto locksmiths operating out of plain vehicles.
However, there are also plenty of fly-by-night operators that do as well.
Avoid locksmith scammers! Choose an auto locksmith in Toorak that you can trust
If you are looking for a trustworthy and legitimate locksmith in and around Melbourne’s bayside and south eastern suburbs, then you’ve come to the right place.
Galmier Locksmiths is a certified and professional locksmith with 13 years of experience in delivering locksmith services.
Avoid locksmith scammers by calling Galmier today. Better yet, save our number in your phone - you never know when things will go wrong! 0407 022 234.
Got a question or a non-urgent enquiry? Contact us using this form.