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Beware Cheap Rotherham Locksmith Prices

31st August 2020

You may be aware that there's a song by Green Day entitled Wake Me Up When September Ends. This year it’s more like Wake Up the Kids When September Starts. Because it seems that months of home schooling are coming to an end, the alarm clocks are being set, and schools are readying themselves for action. Whilst parents everywhere open up the champagne and wonder quite how they got through the last five months, it's back to the classroom for the children.  

As a tenuous connection, I thought I'd take on the mantle of a teacher and impart some of my vast knowledge (stop sniggering at the back). Today it won't be so much a lesson about locks themselves, but rather addressing a note of caution about something that has been affecting the locksmith profession in recent times. 

This scourge is the “bait and switch” con, which is used in many different professions, but has recently become prominent within the locksmith industry. The Master Locksmith Association (MLA) has identified a pattern of it recurring in London, and are warning customers to be on their guard, and for reputable locksmiths (like myself) to spread the word. 

“So what is the bait and switch con,” I hear you ask, for the purposes of continuing this train of thought. Well, it’s nothing as complicated as any of the cons carried out in The Sting or The Grifters. Rather, it’s a fancy name for the circumstances whereby a firm promotes a service with an enticingly low price, but when they have the customer hooked and have done the work, they then bill the customer for an amount many times greater than the initial quote. The low price is the “bait to attract the customer, and the increase in price once they’re in the bag is the “switch”. 

We’re not talking small increases here. The MLA have highlighted cases where the final bills are ten times higher than the initial quote – in one instance they have proof of a final bill totalling £1,604 where the advertised price was £49.. the bill being 33 times that of the first quote.  The advertised price in these cases – which is frequently either £39 or £49 – is usually listed within adverts at the top of online search results as sponsored results. This means they have paid to raise their position to the top of the google rankings – the results will say “Ad” in them. This is not the same as firms who have climbed their way to the top of the results through hard work, popularity, and favourable verified reviews. 

So that’s the issue, but what about a solution? In most cases it comes down to good old-fashioned common sense, and also a little bit of research. If something looks too good to be true, it almost always is. Therefore, for any callout, I would recommend taking a moment to get a feel for what the going rate is for that particular job. The MLA website is good for this sort of thing, and there are also multiple other sites to help consumers find out average prices for work. Once you have this information, you can not only be on your guard against exorbitant prices, but just as importantly, you can note any unusually low prices – these will be tempting, but should be a red flag  to consumers, as there will be a very low chance that the final price will match this initial advertised price. Another thought to bear in mind is that if, by some chance, the price can be honoured, then how exactly is it being done so much cheaper – the parts may be cheap and the workmanship not up to the sufficient standard to keep you and your family safe. 

Any reasonable and reputable locksmith will welcome questions about the work they are intending to do, and how much it will cost. If they are evasive, this is also a warning sign. Ask as many questions as you like – be clear if it is them doing the job themselves or if they are getting someone else in to do it. Ascertain what the price covers, and get a detailed quote – in writing if this is possible. Get it noted whether the quote is fixed, or an estimate. If the extent of the problem isn’t fully known, then an estimate may be all that is given, but in most circumstances an experienced locksmith will be able to identify the issue and have a pretty good idea of the costs involved.

A good way to avoid the bait and switch con is to make sure the locksmith you use is reputable. Word of mouth is still the best way of finding a decent tradesman – any nearby friends or family may be able to point you in the right direction. However, we don’t always manage to get this sort of personal recommendation these days, and so turn to online sources. These can be helpful, but again I’d issue a slight warning tone if relying wholly on these. 

I pride myself on the testimonials I receive from customers, and any reviews that come in, but be warned that there are unscrupulous companies out there who buy positive reviews. These cannot always be differentiated from genuine reviews, but one sign could be the lack of detail in the review. Star ratings with no mention of the locksmith themselves or the job that was done raise warning signals with me as could be a sign of a fake review. Added to this is the fact that on Facebook etc, companies can remove some negative reviews, so the remaining reviews are all weighted on the positive side. Generally, if you can, go for word of mouth first, and then online, but ensure that you don’t just look on one platform – look across Facebook, Google, trade-specific sites, and these all taken together should steer you in the right direction to choose a genuine Rotherham Locksmith.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression here – I’m proud to be part of a profession where the vast majority of members are trustworthy, professional and in the job to make an honest living, whilst also helping people. Ripping off customers is the furthest thing from most of our minds, and this makes it even more infuriating when the tiny minority give the industry a bad name. Reputable locksmiths are as keen as customers to ensure all work is above board, and that customers get a good service, regardless of which individual locksmith they choose. Of course, I’d like it if you called me out, but even if it’s not me, please do take note of the tips above to make sure you don’t fall victim to one of the shoddy tradesmen masquerading as professional locksmiths.

As ever, for any assistance at all with any locksmith Rotherham or security-related matters, please call me on 07990573857



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