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Avoiding Shady Locksmiths

Reported by: Brianne Randle
Published: 8/07 6:27 pm

Steven DeMarco called Action Line hoping to help others learn the shady truth behind some emergency locksmiths.

“They will be there in 20 minutes, and they’ll be there in 20 minutes to rip you off,” he says.

DeMarco’s wife googled a locksmith on their phone last week when the lock to her moped would not open.

“She called the first advertisement, the guy came out in a regular car not marked in flip flops no uniform,” he says.

But he told them he needed to go get more tools and the $30 quote over the phone turned into $200.

“The guy comes back 20 minutes later and calls my wife and I said I canceled it and he goes crazy on the phone for 5 minutes and we thought that was it,” says DeMarco.

But there was more… the couple soon discovered the tires on her moped were slashed.  Surveillance video caught the crime on camera, the wife identified the suspect as the locksmith and filed a police report. DeMarco tried contacting the locksmith company.

“Turns out there is no owner, because there is no company, it’s all fake it’s a scam,” says DeMarco.

Experts say locksmith scams are a national problem.

“Over the course of the last year the system as a whole has received over 1,000 complaints about locksmiths or the locksmithing industry,” says Timothy Caminos, Hawaii Better Business Bureau.  “If a locksmith does not have a local presence, a store front I would be wary of doing business with them.”

KHON2 News found dozens of locksmith services across Oahu advertising online.  But when you look closely – some have clear red flags like spelling errors.

“Even if you go to their website you’ll notice that their google maps is somewhere off of the map or a restaurant or a shopping mall or something that is not related to a locksmithing industry,” says Caminos.

Hawaii’s BBB says it has an application where you can punch in a company’s name and pull up a trustworthy business.

Jack Dalton Lock and Key, which has been in business in Hawaii for 30 years, is BBB accredited.  The company says most professionals will have clothing and a vehicle with the company’s name on it.

“There’s a lot of great locksmith companies in Hawaii, and it is a fear that people are going to stay away from locksmiths in general because they are giving locksmiths a bad name here in Hawaii,” says Song Cho, Jack Dalton Lock and Key.

“Ultimately you trust people and sometimes you shouldn’t and do your research before you call someone to help you,” says DeMarco.

Hawaii’s BBB says the locksmith service DeMarco used has an “F” rating and has not responded to a number of customer complaints.

To read the original news article, please visit: http://www.khon2.com/news/local/story/Avoiding-shady-locksmiths/F5V0pDQAnUCVubCnABrZJA.cspx