For Immediate Release - March 14, 2014 - Consumers who are locked out of their homes or cars can be at the mercy of unethical locksmiths who quote one price over the phone, then increase the price considerably once they arrive. These tactics have been typically reported about locksmith services that claim to be nearby, but are actually located miles - or even states - away.
A North Royalton woman who was locked out of her car (which was running at the time) searched online for a Cleveland locksmith located near her who could help. She found UTS Cleveland Locksmith who quoted her a $45 service call fee and $19 to start the work. When the locksmith arrived, she was immediately handed an invoice for the $45 service call fee and a surprising $100 “open car” fee which was never disclosed when she called.
“At this point, I needed my car to be turned off (it had been running for almost two hours by this point, I had called the police to help me first),” she told BBB. “I told him to do the work. It took him literally less than five minutes to open it. “
UTS Cleveland Locksmith lists a Cleveland address of 1924 East 6th Street on its website (locksmith-cleveland.com). BBB has confirmed that address is vacant and has been so for several years. Locksmith-cleveland.com was registered through GoDaddy and lists 1867 Prospect Avenue East, Cleveland, as the registrant’s address. BBB has confirmed that address houses an antique store that has no knowledge of the locksmith service. BBB tried to contact the business using its firstname.lastname@example.org, but the message was returned indicating no such email account existed. The Ohio Secretary of State has no record of UTS Cleveland Locksmith.
BBB called UTS Cleveland Locksmith and tried to get an address for the business. The first employee we spoke to said they had “no stores” and were a mobile service. When asked where the employee we were speaking to was located, he would not reveal the address and hung up. After more calls, BBB was able to speak to someone at UTS who provided an address and email for customer service. The address is a UPS mail forwarding location in Kensington, Maryland - we still do not know the actual location of UTS Cleveland Locksmith.
To date, the North Royalton consumer’s complaint has not been answered.
Local Locksmiths Also Victims of Deceptive Practices: BBB has also been contacted by local locksmiths who report their addresses are being falsely used by other questionable locksmiths. High-Tech Locksmith alerted BBB that their Dover Center Road address was being used by an unknown business referring to itself simply as Locksmith in North Olmsted Ohio. Locksmith in North Olmsted Ohio also uses the BBB Accredited Business Logo without authorization on its website, locksmithnortholmstedohio.com. BBB's review of that website found a phone number, 216-273-6939, which cross-references online to yet another site, locksmithbereaohio.com, which also contains false claims of BBB accreditation.
An Avon locksmith, Denny & Lynne’s Locksmith, reported their address is being used deceptively by A 1 Locksmith in Avon on several online directory sites and even a Twitter account.
Keys to Choosing a Trustworthy Locksmith:
Best practice is to find a trustworthy locksmith before you need one. Keep the phone number in your wallet or saved on your cell phone.
Be cautious of businesses who answer your call with “Locksmith” or other generic terms.
Ask for all fees before agreeing to the service. Service call, parts, labor, mileage, etc. A trained locksmith will be able to quote you their fees over the phone with no need to pile on additional charges when they arrive.
When the locksmith arrives, ask for identification. Ohio does not require locksmiths to be licensed, but you do want to get the name of the business, its address and phone number on your receipt.
If searching for a locksmith online, look for information about the business and also its address. Take advantage of maps and other services to make sure the company is being truthful about its location. You can also search the phone number for multiple listings under various names - this could be a clue the locksmith is falsely posing as a local business.
- See more at: http://www.bbb.org/cleveland/news-events/news-releases/2014/03/bbb-cautions-consumers-to-pick-a-locksmith-carefully/#sthash.KO4DFrH4.dpuf