Daily Express

Be­ware not to get picked on by ‘ lock­smiths’

- By Steph Spyro

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.”

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