Getting locked out of your car or home is no fun. Maybe your keys have gone missing; maybe you know you locked yourself out. Don’t panic. Start off by grabbing your spare keys if you have them available. Next, contact anyone you’ve entrusted your keys to – relatives or friends. If these resources aren’t available, it’s time to call a locksmith.
You need to exercise a little common sense and act with due diligence when choosing a suitable business when looking for locksmiths in Leicester. According to UK Trading Associations, misrepresentations and false advertising are all too common within the locksmith industry. For example, some of the “local” locksmiths you see advertised in your phone directory may actually be out of town companies. More seriously, there are unethical locksmith companies out there who won’t hesitate to send untrained, unqualified “technicians” out to help you. Their “help” can actually cause damage instead of solving your problem!
Verifying That a Locksmith Is Local
As noted above, the common appearance of non-local locksmiths passing themselves off as community businesses is a problem that has been noted. This becomes downright deceptive in some cases; a firm that is not based in Leicester may actually pick out a name that sounds like that of an established local firm. It will advertise online and in phone books using a local address and phone number.
The reality of the situation is that the local address is an empty storefront and the local phone number simply transfers you to a national call center. The operators you speak to may refuse to give you a quote for the service you need, or even feel free to simply make one up. Once a locksmith arrives in person, he’ll frequently demand more money to complete the job. (Locksmiths who demand to be paid only in cash are definitely not local or reputable.)
On some occasions, a reverse phone number search can clue you into the fact that you’re dealing with a shady company. A single number that’s listed for dozens of different “local” locksmiths is a sure sign of foul play. In every case, the individual “local” company is simply a front for the centralized operation working from a gigantic call center. The operators there are the ones who will dispatch technicians of unknown quality and trustworthiness when you call for help.
Being Sure Your Locksmith Is Reliable
All of this discouraging news doesn’t mean that it’s impossible – or even difficult – to find an honest, reliable locksmith who’s genuinely based in your community. The best way to do this is to plan ahead. You can do the necessary research to find a trustworthy locksmith at any time; once you’re satisfied as to a firm’s credentials you can hang onto its number until you need it. You may want to store the number in both digital and non-digital formats – write it on a slip of paper that goes in your wallet as well as storing it in your mobile phone’s contact list.
In many cases, you’ll find yourself researching locksmiths and security firms due to a non-emergency purchase you want to make. (e.g. adding deadbolts, changing your house locks, installing a burglar alarm) When you’re not feeling the pressure of an emergency lockout situation, you’ll take the proper steps to vet your locksmith. Confirm that they’re local, check their pricing, and read reviews online. If you have friends, relatives, or co-workers who’ve used a locksmith recently, make sure you ask them for recommendations.
Protecting Yourself In An Emergency Lockout Scenario
It’s all well and good to say that you should be prepared, but what if you aren’t? Here’s how you should deal with a lockout situation if you don’t have a pre-selected locksmith to rely on:
* Call roadside assistance (if you have it available) in the case of auto lockouts. If they don’t cover lockouts themselves, they can contact a reliable locksmith for you.
* Operators who answer the phone generically (“locksmith services”) instead of using a company name are red flags. Ask for the company’s legal name, and hang up if the operator is hesitant to give it to you.
* Always get an estimate – both over the phone and from the locksmith in person – before having any work done.