If you've ever locked yourself out of your home or car, or if you need to change out the locks on your home, you know what a hassle, and an unexpected expense, it can be. If you're locked out of your car and have a roadside assistance service or insurance company, call them first. These services sometimes are included with the purchase of a car, or as an add-on through your insurance company. Often they have a list of pre-approved companies to perform services like unlocking cars, jump-starting batteries, changing flat tires, delivering gasoline, and towing. You may also want to take the time to call family and friends - not only for recommendations, but to let them know you are locked out.
Tips on Hiring a Locksmith
Some locksmiths advertising locally may not be local at all or they may not have professional training. What's more, some of them may use intimidating tactics and overcharge you. If a company answers the phone with a generic phrase like "locksmith services," rather than a company-specific name, be wary. Ask for the legal name of the business. If the person refuses, call another locksmith. In the case of a lock-out, be cautious if you're 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 can unlock almost any door. Replacing a lock will add to your expense.
Ask about additional fees before you agree to have the locksmith perform the work. Companies may charge extra for responding to a call in the middle of the night. Ask if there is a charge for mileage, or a minimum fee for a service call.
License & Identification
Be wary of fraud or scams. Check out the name of the business as well as the person that is coming to unlock your car or change out your locks. Verify the person who holds the license by checking it against the business. Ask to see the license of the locksmith you hire when they arrive. Locksmiths are required in laws across the United States to carry a pocket version of their license. If the locksmith insists on a charge for showing up, you should call the police immediately. You don't want someone that can come back later and break into your home or steal your car.
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