Don't get locked in to locksmiths' tricks

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

GOODYEAR, Ariz. - A Goodyear man says he was ripped off big time by a locksmith.  

Locksmithing is a respectable career but here in Arizona, calling a locksmith can be a little dicey and this is why.
The industry isn't regulated and, as a result, consumers say they're getting taken advantage of.

“We just closed on Friday of last week so we're very excited to be in the house. We got it for an awesome deal.”

Casey Seitz is thrilled to be in his new home but right after moving in, the first thing he wanted to do was make sure it was secure.

“We wanted to make sure the locks were fresh and new to us, so only we were getting in until we can get the house secure with an alarm.”

Casey looked online for a locksmith who could re-key three different locks. That's when he came across a company called 24/7 Locksmiths.

Casey called them up and, according to him, got a reasonable quote over the phone.

“Twenty dollars per door and there was a $14 service fee to come out.”

Casey was expecting to pay less than a hundred dollars but when the locksmith came out to re-key the doors, Casey says he was given an invoice that said $163 but Casey says the price gouging didn't stop there. 

After the guy was done re-keying three doors and handed over the final bill, Casey says it changed from $163 to $463. That's nearly six times what Casey was initially quoted but he paid the bill.

“Now that I'm trying to get a hold of the company I can't find the same website anymore online. I called the company. I still get the same dispatcher but I'll never get a manager.”

3 On Your Side experienced the same problem. We found the website for 24/7 Locksmith with the same phone number Casey had called. The person on the other end always told us a manager would call us back but they never did.

Curt Anderson is a master locksmith and instructor with the Arizona School of Locksmithing. He says what happened to Casey happens all the time in Arizona. Why?

“There's no licensing in Arizona which is silly. You have to be licensed if you want to cut hair, if you want to drive a truck, if you want to work on AC, give someone a massage, yet I can call someone into my home, have them re-key my locks, change the combination to my safe, change the code to my alarm system and it doesn't matter to the state whether they're a convicted felon or have any experience as a locksmith or not.”

Curt says Casey was grossly overcharged when he was stuck with a $463 bill.

“My charge for that same job within a five-mile radius would've been $82.50. Anything under a $100 would have been a reasonable charge.”

Casey says he's upset that companies can do this to people and hopes other's can learn from his situation. “I'm very angry. I'm very disappointed in myself but I'm very disappointed in them taking advantage of the situation.”

There are many legitimate locksmiths who use 24/7 in their company names, and a lot of unscrupulous locksmiths try to resemble that name, so use caution.

If you're looking for a locksmith who is a member of the Associated Locksmiths of America go to www.findalocksmith.com/.

Arizona School of Locksmithing - Curt Anderson, Master instructor and locksmith. For more information, call 602-861-2460.