If you’re locked out of your car and have a roadside assistance service, call them first. These servic sometimes include emergency locksmith service with the purchase of a car, or as an add-on through your insurance company. You also can buy this service which should include same day locksmith service separately. Roadside assistance plans often have a list of pre-approved companies to perform local locksmith services like unlocking cars, jump-starting batteries, changing flat tires, delivering gasoline, and towing.
Call family or friends for recommendations.
If you find a local locksmith in the phone book, on the Internet, or through directory assistance, and a business address is given, confirm that the address belongs to that locksmith. Some disreputable local locksmith companies list street addresses to give the impression that they’re local. But the addresses may belong to other businesses or vacant lots, if they exist at all. You can verify addresses through websites that allow you to match phone numbers with street addresses. Some legitimate local locksmith companies may not include a street address in their listing either because they operate a “mobile” locksmith business or they operate their emergency locksmith business out of their home and may be reluctant to list that address. If you call a 24 Hour Locksmith who doesn’t list an address, ask why. If the answer is that it's a “mobile” locksmith business, you will understand they have no storefront.
Write down the names of several local locksmith businesses, their phone numbers, and addresses for future reference, in case you don’t want to go with the first emergency locksmith you call.
If a locksmith company answers the phone with a generic phrase like “locksmith services,” rather than a locksmith company-specific name, be wary. Ask for the legal name of the locksmith business. If the person refuses, call another locksmith.
Get a locksmith estimate for all work and replacement parts from the emergency locksmith before work begins. In cases of “lock-outs” (being locked out of your car or home), most legitimate 24 hour locksmiths will give you a locksmith prices on the phone for the total cost of the work.
Ask about additional locksmith fees before you agree to have the local locksmith perform the work. Locksmith 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.
If the locksmith price provides when he arrives doesn’t jibe with the locksmith estimate you got on the telephone, do not allow the work to be done.
Never sign a blank locksmith form authorizing work.
Find out if the24 hour locksmith is insured. If your property is damaged during a locksmith repair, or if faulty work leads to loss or damage, it’s important for the local locksmith to have insurance to cover your losses.
When the local locksmith arrives, ask for identification, including a business card and, where applicable, a locksmith license. Nine states require local locksmiths to be licensed: Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. In addition to a business card, check to see if the invoice includes the company’s name, and whether the emergency locksmith’s vehicle has a name that matches the business card, invoice, and/or bill.
Expect the local locksmith to ask you for identification, as well. A legitimate 24 hour locksmith should confirm your identity and make sure you’re the property owner before doing any work.
Some emergency locksmiths will work out of a car for quick or emergency jobs, but most will arrive in a locksmith service vehicle that is clearly marked with their locksmith company’s name.
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 local locksmith has invested in the tools and education to provide quality service, and can unlock almost any door.
After the work is completed, get an itemized invoice that covers parts, labor, mileage, and the price of the service call.
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