I found these comments from a trusting member of the public, who found out the hard way, that if you don’t be very careful you can leave yourself open to some very unfair charges !
tip 1: Always look for the “Master Locksmiths Association” registered logo!
tip 2: Give the locksmith as much information as you can, i.e. wooden or PVC door? mortice lock or night latch?
tip 3: Ask for a quote, most locksmiths will not give a quotation over the phone, but an estimate. these two words are very different! If you are given an estimate of, say, £55 ask what it includes, does it include ant parts likely to be used? VAT? all labour? tell them a maximum ceiling total you are prepared to pay without further authorisation.
“Please someone tell me that I’m not the only victim of locksmiths from hell.
First let me admit that I’m to blame for starting this disaster. My only defence for doing something as stupid as locking myself out of my house is that I’ve just moved and hadn’t yet worked out the new front door.
But what followed definitely wasn’t my fault.
That left me with two 0800 numbers, which is what I wanted to avoid, but what was I to do? For all I knew, there was only one local locksmith, and he’d closed down.
I called one of the 0800 numbers and got UK locksmiths (www.uklocksmiths.net and www.unitedkingdomlocksmiths.com). So I asked the obvious questions: how much and how long.
The answers were £55, which seemed reasonable, and “he’ll be there very, very soon”, which sounded great.
Both answers proved hopelessly wide of the mark.
That first phone call of mine was made about 9am.
At 10.45 I was told: “He’s ten minutes away.”
At 11.20: “He’s just around the corner.”
The locksmith must have been going backwards, because at 11.45 he was “30-35 minutes away”.
Perhaps I should have told them to get lost and have tried the other 0800 number. But most people, I expect, use a locksmith once in a blue moon and for all I knew this kind of delay was normal.
After three and a half hours he finally arrived.
Only then was I told the full cost of the service.
£55 was just the call-out fee. Drilling the lock and replacing it, plus VAT, would bring the total bill to £293.
I don’t know why I didn’t ask him politely to leave. Sticking a brick through a window and then calling a glazier would surely have been cheaper. Perhaps I was suffering from borderline hypothermia (it really was a very cold morning).
Or maybe, like so many people who’ve locked themselves out of their own house, the desperation to get back inside over-rode my normal critical faculties.
The first thing I did when I got inside and the feeling returned to my frozen fingers was to flick through Yellow Pages. It was full of locksmiths whose phone numbers began with the local code.
Why didn’t 118118 give me any of them?”