CONSUMER ALERT, Issued: July 14, 2011. FALSE COMPANIES ARE HIJACKING OUR NAME: A.S.A.P. LOCKSMITH. WATCH OUT FOR FALSE ADVERTISING!
Locksmith Scam Consumer Alert Page
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a “Consumer Alert” about a scam occurring across the country with increasingly high incidents in the South Florida area. Unskilled and unscrupulous fake organizations have infiltrated the yellow pages and Internet with false advertising claiming our local TRADEMARK name: A.S.A.P. Locksmith. On any given search query done in Google several results with our name and address are given with a phone number that doesn’t belong to us. Those calls are misguided to out-of-sate hideouts from where the Locksmith scammers contact unauthorized individuals for service calls. A similar situation occurs in the Yellow Pages where there are companies using our name for their unscrupulous profit. A low price is quoted over the phone and many times the lock is destroyed to charge 5 to 10 times more than the quoted price. These criminal locksmiths have no background check. From the South Florida Tri-County area, Miami-Dade requires a Locksmith License and these individuals operate illegally. A.S.A.P. Locksmith has identifiable trucks and uniformed technicians carrying ID’s. If you think you are being scammed immediately contact the police.
Locksmith Scam Modus Operandi
- OUT-OF-STATE COMMUNICATION OFFICE: An out-of-state communication office is established to receive phone calls from all parts of the country. “Service Agents” are identified in every major city where the organization operates to be on call for dispatch. Background checks and technical skill tests are not performed when hiring these agents.
- FASLE LISTING DISSEMINATION: Thousands of FALSE directory listings are disseminated all over the internet and Yellow Pages; entire teams are hired to solely accomplish this task. Addresses are stolen from real locations without the owner’s consent to be paired with an externally routed local number answered in an out-of-state facility. Existing local locksmiths with an established market are also targeted for Identity Theft, their address and names are stolen and phone calls are also deviated to the organization’s out-of-state calling center.
- BAIT ADVERTISING: Deceptive bait advertising is displayed in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The most typical type of ad they use is the $15 Service Call offer.
- AGENT DISPATCH: Once a customer calls requesting a service the out-of-state office calls the first available agent on their list and asks them for availability, if the answer is yes, said agent will be dispatched to the service location. Almost always these agents arrive late since making the customer wait is part of the bait scheme.
- OVERCHARGE: The agent arrives with no uniform and unidentified vehicles to the customer’s location. The $15 Service call and other deceptive form of advertising are not sustainable even for operations like this one, and after opening the lock the agent overcharges the customer up to 10 times ($125-$195) more than the advertised price. Most times the customer ends up paying the amount because he or she is in a vulnerable situation and because time has been invested in waiting for the Locksmith to arrive.
BREAK THE CYCLE BY SAVING OUR NUMBER NOW: 954-457-2727
5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Locksmith
The reality is you need to protect yourself from unscrupulous operations claiming to be professional locksmiths that don’t conduct business in the right manner. There are thousands of news reports, in television, print, and online media, covering the widespread locksmith scams affecting the whole country and South Florida, and this page is dedicated to gathering all the information to educate consumers. In the meantime, It’s very important you protect yourself and do your due diligence when hiring a locksmith, and by asking this 5 questions, you’ll know if you are talking to a scammer or to a real locksmith.
- What’s the name of your company?
- Do you have a Local Shop, where is it?
- Is all your work guaranteed?
- Are you licensed?
- Will you charge what you quoted in advance?
Locksmith scammers who operate outside of your city answer the phone with a generic phrase like "Locksmith Good Morning" because they advertise in many cities with as many different false names so they have to use a generic greeting to cover them all. A genuine locksmith always answers with their name first, for example: "Thanks for calling ASAP Locksmith, this is Alex, how can I help you?"
Locksmith Scammers don’t publish the address of their operations office in their website, nor in any of the places where they advertise. And the reason is very simple, they can’t assume responsibility for any of the agents they send to the field nor for the work they do. A genuine locksmith has a local shop in the city where you live where you can reach them directly with any inquiry.
Locksmith Scammers do not guarantee the quality of the work they assign to their agents. As a matter of fact they don’t even perform background checks, nor technical skill tests, to any of them. A genuine Locksmith guarantees all their work because they know and trust their employees.
Locksmith Scammers are not licensed, nor can they be, since a requirement for obtaining a license is operating in the local area they service. In South Florida only Miami Dade requires a Locksmith License, and all genuine and successful locksmith companies have it, even if they are based in Broward or Palm Beach Counties.
The Locksmith Scammers dispatch office doesn’t quote prices in advance because they have no control over it. Simply, they collect their part, and the agents they dispatch are free to charge whatever they feel like to customers in vulnerable situations. A genuine Locksmith is able to give an accurate because they have a structured price list which is always the same.
Good Locksmith vs Bad Locksmith
|How to recognize a Good Locksmith from a Bad Locksmith?||Bad Locksmith||Good Locksmith|
|Has a Local Shop||No||Yes|
|Has a Locksmith License (where applicable)||No||Yes|
|Is Bonded and Insured||No||Yes|
|All employees are background checked||No||Yes|
|All employees are uniformed||No||Yes|
|All employees have company I.D.’s||No||Yes|
|Hires highly skilled technicians only||No||Yes|
|Has identifiable trucks with company logo||No||Yes|
|Answers the phone identifying company by name||No||Yes|
|Quotes prices by phone with integrity||No||Yes|
|Is willing to provide company information by phone||No||Yes|
|Company Receipts are identified with logo||No||Yes|
|Business Model is based on providing great service||No||Yes|
|Guarantees all work||No||Yes|
|Operates from out-of-state hideout||Yes||No|
|Answers the phone with generic term||Yes||No|
|Becomes rude or nervous when pushed for information||Yes||No|
|Needs to ask long distance agent if they are available for a job||Yes||No|
|Puts you on hold over the phone to check availability of long distance agent||Yes||No|
|Offers $15 dollar service calls to then overcharge customer||Yes||No|
Locksmith Scam Links & Resources
Locksmith Scam Videos
ABC News Story -> "Ruin The Lock to Charge triple the
Minneapolis Locksmith Scam: "There is Plenty of room for
competition but not like this"
Seatlle Locksmith Scam: Hidden Camera
Pheonix Locksmith Scam: Hidden Camera
- Help spread the word about ASAP Locksmith: