La. consumers warned to remain wary when hiring locksmiths
BATON ROUGE - Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a consumer alert for residents who need to hire a locksmith on Thurday morning.
AG Jeff Landry says that some locksmiths advertising themselves as “local” may not in fact be local at all. Some may not be licensed and others may use intimidating tactics in order to overcharge customers.
“While many Louisiana consumers may believe they are getting a local locksmith company, they too often are actually getting service from a non-licensed worker dispatched by an out-of-state company,” said General Landry. “And when the untrained individual arrives, often in an unmarked vehicle, he or she may want significantly more money than the original quote with payment made in cash only.”
Consumers should consider researching locksmiths ahead of the time when they find they actually need one, according to Landry. It’s a good idea to program his or her number into your phone in advance. Also, the AG’s Office offered the following tips when hiring a reputable, local locksmith:
- Ask trusted sources for recommendations.
- Confirm the address of a locksmith you find in the phone book, on the Internet, or through directory assistance.
- Be wary if a company answers the phone with a generic phrase like “locksmith services,” rather than a company-specific name. Ask for the legal name of the business. If the person refuses, call another locksmith.
- Get an estimate for all work and replacement parts from the locksmith before work begins. In cases of “lock-outs” (being locked out of your car or home), most legitimate locksmiths will give you an estimate on the phone for the total cost of the work – including any additional fees or extra charges for mileage and responding to a call in the middle of the night
- Find out if the locksmith is insured. If your property is damaged during a repair, or if faulty work leads to loss or damage, it is important for the locksmith to have insurance to cover your losses
- When the locksmith arrives, ask for identification – including a business card and a locksmith license. In Louisiana, locksmiths are required to be licensed through the Office of State Fire Marshal
- Expect the locksmith to ask you for identification. A legitimate locksmith should confirm your identity and make sure you are the property owner before doing any work
- Some locksmiths will work out of a personal car for quick or emergency jobs, but most will arrive in a service vehicle that is clearly marked with their company’s name
- In the case of a lock-out, be cautious if you are told up front that the lock has to be drilled and replaced. An experienced legitimate locksmith has invested in the tools and education to provide quality service, and he or she can unlock almost any door.
For more information on how to properly research locksmiths, contact Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.