Beware not to get picked on by ‘ locksmiths’
UNWARY householders are falling victim to a wave of rogue locksmiths in the pandemic, says an industry body.
One customer was handed a £ 1,465 bill for a 30- minute job despite being quoted £ 200.
The Master Locksmiths Association said it has been contacted more than 500 times this year over people masquerading as lock experts.
Steffan George, managing director of the trade body, said: “The industry is unregulated so it’s easy to set up as a locksmith with no training, experience or insurance. We expect the number of incidents involving rogue locksmiths to rise as people under increasing financial pressure see it as an easy way to make money.”
Nearly 70 per cent of specialists asked by the MLA had had to fix a botched job in the past year after customers had hired a rogue locksmith, with 65 per cent revealing scammers overcharged by at least £ 200.
A customer named as Lily called a firm to her London flat at 11.30pm last month when a latch failed. She was quoted £ 200 – then given a £ 1,465 bill for a job that took 30 minutes.
Lily, 24, said: “I said to the tradesman ‘ OMG this is crazy, it’s an insane amount of money’.” He said she would get it back from her landlord and blamed the cost on a night emergency callout.
After contacting Citizens Advice and the company, she was offered a £ 125 refund.
Mr George urged people to be careful: “There are already hundreds of uncertified people working in the industry. People need to be aware of the dangers and know how to select a reputable locksmith to ensure they don’t fall victim to a rogue,” he said.
“Go to a reputable firm which employs insured and trained locksmiths – someone who you can trust to protect you and your home.”