5 things to check when Choosing a Locksmith

5 things to check when Choosing a Locksmith

We’ve been asked to write a quick and helpful guide for finding a reliable locksmith in the UK

Unfortunately, a large proportion of locksmiths are so desperate for work, they advertise anything to help them get it. As a highly reputable company, we’ve been asked by a collection of neighbourhood watch groups to write a short piece for them to publish about the lies and false claims that litter the locksmith industry’s advertising.

So let’s get started on the Top 5 Misleading Claims:

  1. Qualified Locksmiths – If they’re not a member of the Master Locksmiths Association, then they’re not qualified. There is no half way point, and no reason not to be a member (other than the reason that they’re not good enough to pass the various tests / inspections). We can’t give you any better advice than to use the MLA website to find a proper locksmith.
  2. Police Recommended / Approved – There is no such approval scheme in the UK… any claim is false, and a very misleading lie. The police are also not allowed to recommend any tradesmen, it’s in the code of practise. Avoid anyone attempting to suggest this!
  3. DBS (Previously CRB) Checked – Although not always a lie, 99% of companies advertising this aren’t checked, so ask them to prove it and you’ll soon see how trustworthy they are.
  4. No Call Out Charges / Fees – Every locksmith needs paying for their work, regardless of what they call it, there is a charge. If they’re trying to mislead you into thinking it’s free, they’re probably worth giving a miss.
  5. Super Cheap Prices – You get what you pay for. If you wanted a new door anyway, then I’m sure you’re ok with the hammer and crowbar bad-locksmith approach. Take a look at some of the wonderful work on the Master Locksmiths Association rogue traders gallery here, I’m sure their charges were very completive; until you take into account the new locks, door and frame in some instances. Get a few quotes, compare the prices so you don’t go with the cheapest.

Updated ~ Following this article becoming a very popular search result, we’ve added the below comments and suggestions from external sources:

  1. Portraying there are lots of employees, when it’s actually a single person – There is room in the industry for all types of locksmith. The one man in his van locksmith has a purpose and place, as do larger companies like Rossells… However, trying to pretend they are something they are not is misleading to the customer and should probably be questioned. Using phrases like ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘one of our locksmiths’ indicate that there are many staff, but if they’re showing a mobile number, a specific contact name or operating from a home address, there is a good chance they’re not being upfront with you.
  2. Call Centres – If it sounds like you’re talking to a call centre, then you probably are… They create multiple adverts, take an upfront payment, and then pass the work to anyone in your local area. Unfortunately it could literally be anyone; you don’t know who it is, whether they’re qualified, and what their credentials are.
  3. No known address – Transparency is important; they will know your address, so what’s wrong with you knowing theirs? If they don’t show a full address on an advert / website, you have no backup if things go wrong. Check for an address, and make sure it’s genuine using Google Street view or similar.
  4. “We are Professional Locksmiths!”.. but we also do Plumbing, Electrical Work and General Property Maintenance – Although being the master of any trade is a skilled craft and deserves the utmost of respect… Locksmith work is something that needs to be practiced regularly, and with a specific amount of experience. If you do want to use a general contractor, do a little interrogation first to check they’re not another ‘Have-A-Go-Harry’.
  5. Avoid Checkatrade, RatedPeople, TrustATrader etc – Yes this might be a surprising suggestion to some, but those expensive adverts year hear on the TV, and radio need paying for somehow, so they won’t turn down any trader as long as he’s paying their bills. Fake reviews, bad review filtering and failure to interrogate new members are regular rumours around the forums. Check out just one article here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2671559/Can-trust-website-claims-banish-cowboy-workmen.html
  6. Use an MLA Locksmiths – Yes it’s been said already, but it really is the only way to ensure you’re receiving the correct advice, high standard of workmanship and a vetted professional. The Master Locksmiths Association carries our regular inspections and takes any complaints of poor workmanship, criminal convictions or bad business practises very seriously.

A statement from the company director:

In reply to any more locksmiths about to pick up the phone and attempt to argue with us for publishing this… Please refrain… What better advice can we give to the general public, other than to contact the official trade association and ask for recommended approved locksmiths in their area. In my opinion, there is no excuse for not passing the inspection / vetting process, and becoming a member of the Master Locksmiths Association. The MLA is a government backed, non-profit Locksmith trade organisation with a proven commitment to reducing crime.

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