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Tips for choosing a locksmith

What's in a name? Unscrupulous individuals often operate under many business names or aliases. They may answer the phone with a generic phrase like, “locksmith service” or simply “locksmith”. If the call is answered this way, ask, "What is the legal name of your business."

Unclear advertising: Look closely at the ad(s) in the yellow pages. Is the specific name of the business clearly identified? Does the ad look similar to other ads but have a different name? Does it appear that the dealer actually operates under several names?

Unmarked car: Some legitimate locksmiths will work out of a car or unmarked van for quick jobs, but most should arrive in a service vehicle that is clearly marked with the name of the business.

Ask for identification: A legitimate locksmith should ask for identification and some form of proof that you have the authority to allow the unlocking to be done. A legitimate locksmith should also provide you with identification in the form of a business card or invoice with the company name on it. Identifying information should also match the name on the service vehicle.

Get an estimate: Find out what the work will cost before you authorize it. Never sign a blank form authorizing work.

Demand an invoice: Insist on an itemized invoice. You can't dispute a charge without proof of how much you paid and what you paid for.

Just say no: If you are not comfortable with the service provider, you can, and should, refuse to work with the locksmith.

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Should I hire a locksmith to rekey my locks or should I buy new ones?

If you have one deadbolt and one knob lock then buying them yourself would be cheaper. Of course, you will have to replace them yourself to save money. I have found a deadbolt and a knob lock together for about $20.00 to $30.00.

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