If you check your local listings (yellow pages or online search), most locksmiths are reputable contractors. However, there is a handful that do not possess the necessary licensing or credentials that is required to operate a legal business.
After someone has been locked out of his or her home, they will call what they think is a local locksmith company to come to their home. Over the phone, the representative will usually quote a low-priced estimate, and then upon arrival, the locksmith could add $100 of additional charges. If you refuse to comply with these charges, the locksmith will hold your car or home hostage until you pay the outstanding fee.
AngiesList.com is one of many websites that provides a list of red flags to look for when hiring a locksmith, such as:
- Be wary of companies that answer calls with generic phrases like "locksmith services," rather than a specific name. If a locksmith cannot or will not provide the business' legal name, find another locksmith.
- Most legitimate locksmiths will arrive in a clearly marked vehicle and/or in clothing that carries the company logo. At a minimum, the locksmith should have some sort of company identification.
- When the locksmith arrives, ask for identification, including a locksmith license where applicable.
- If the locksmiths on-site price doesn't match the phone estimate, don't allow work to be performed. Fraudulent locksmiths often inflate the final bill and insist the customer pay in cash.
- If you're locked out, be cautious of companies that recommend or insist on drilling or replacing the lock up front. Most experienced locksmiths have the skills and tools to unlock almost any door.
For more information, go to www.AngiesList.com
then search "Denver Locksmiths."
Nate Chisholm contributed to this report.
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