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National Locksmith Call Centres

15 replies 4K views
dvdrdldvdrdl Forumite
104 posts
An elderly relative of mine was recently, in my opinion completely ripped off by a company advertising on yell.com as a local locksmith.

She was charged £350 plus VAT to drill open the lock on her wooden front door which I know to be an old 3 lever deadlock as I fitted it!!!

When i heard i began to chase up the company to try and get a breakdown of these costs since it was enither out of hours, a weekend or any other inconvenient time.

Anyhow We failed to get in touch again and eecided to try and find the place. We found a locksmith in the same street and after a good talk discovered he was nothing to do with the company but they were advertising using a fake address in his street.

Aparently this is common practice for national advertisers to create false addresses and publish them on yell.com :mad:

Firstly why the hell are yell/hibu allowing this to happen!? These are paid adverts and surely they know exactly whats happening when a company appears to have hundreds of locations around the country!

Really !!!!ed off that this can happen. I will refrain from naming said company until I have concluded my investigation as I will be pursuing this through court if need be. It is down right crafty and intentionally misleading.

Found an article online about these dodgy call centers http://www.locksmith-directory.org.uk/nationals-article.html
It seems they are easy to spot when you know what to look for and may be worth taking note of.
I would imagine the same problem exists within all the emrgency trades judging by the tactics they use preying on the vulnerable.

Sorry for ranting had to get it off my chest. :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
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Replies

  • MyserMyser Forumite
    1.8K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
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    If you find a company or tradesperson through a directory, expect to pay a huge amount. The companies advertising as offering a national service are usually very expensive and often don't always provide the best service.

    Companies offering an emergency service know that people are desperate and will always charge an exorbitant amount.

    Good luck tracking down the company/one-man-band! Have you tried contacting Yell/hibu?
    If my post hasn't helped you, then don't click the 'Thanks' button! ;)
  • spacey2012spacey2012 Forumite
    5.8K posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    Drilled ?
    They were no locksmith.
    A good locksmith can open a 3 lever lock faster than you can with the right key.
    Be happy...;)
  • edited 31 August 2013 at 8:08AM
    dvdrdldvdrdl Forumite
    104 posts
    edited 31 August 2013 at 8:08AM
    spacey2012 wrote: »
    Drilled ?
    They were no locksmith.
    A good locksmith can open a 3 lever lock faster than you can with the right key.

    Exactly, i could have opened it myself had i been around at the time.

    Yell have since removed the listing but the point is that it shouldnt have been there in the first place if it were not genuine.

    This guy resolved our problem, nice chap, http://www.locksmith-walsall.com
  • MathewJMathewJ Forumite
    44 posts
    dvdrdl wrote: »
    An elderly relative of mine was recently, in my opinion completely ripped off by a company advertising on yell.com as a local locksmith.

    She was charged £350 plus VAT to drill open the lock on her wooden front door which I know to be an old 3 lever deadlock as I fitted it!!!

    When i heard i began to chase up the company to try and get a breakdown of these costs since it was enither out of hours, a weekend or any other inconvenient time.

    Anyhow We failed to get in touch again and eecided to try and find the place. We found a locksmith in the same street and after a good talk discovered he was nothing to do with the company but they were advertising using a fake address in his street.

    Aparently this is common practice for national advertisers to create false addresses and publish them on yell.com :mad:

    Firstly why the hell are yell/hibu allowing this to happen!? These are paid adverts and surely they know exactly whats happening when a company appears to have hundreds of locations around the country!

    Really !!!!ed off that this can happen. I will refrain from naming said company until I have concluded my investigation as I will be pursuing this through court if need be. It is down right crafty and intentionally misleading.

    Found an article online about these dodgy call centers http://www.locksmith-directory.org.uk/nationals-article.html
    It seems they are easy to spot when you know what to look for and may be worth taking note of.
    I would imagine the same problem exists within all the emrgency trades judging by the tactics they use preying on the vulnerable.

    Sorry for ranting had to get it off my chest. :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:

    Thing is - you just boosted their ranking in Google, good or bad...

    It amazes me that people buy locks and padlocks from Ebay traders - errm they know where you live and they can copy your keys before sending....

    Master locksmiths are not that expensive - and you get a registered license on the invoice, recourse if it goes tits up.

    Consumers make a lot of noise about gas registered, corgi etc - but they dont seem to care about who has the keys to your front door?
    If you stay loyal all the time, you get treated like a dog.
  • ilikewatchilikewatch Forumite
    1.1K posts
    MathewJ wrote: »
    Consumers make a lot of noise about gas registered, corgi etc - but they dont seem to care about who has the keys to your front door?

    If someone breaks into my house and steals my stuff I'm insured. As soon as someone starts selling insurance that will bring me/my family back to life after carbon monoxide poisoning I'll stop being so particular about using Gas Safe tradesmen.
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • edited 27 June 2013 at 9:37AM
    al69al69 Forumite
    65 posts
    edited 27 June 2013 at 9:37AM
    This is very important as i used to be an ex locksmith did the company involved get the person to sign to waive her right to the 7 day cooling off period.Were they even given the 7 day cooling off period in writing to keep ?

    www .gov.uk/doorstep-selling-regulations

    This is a very powerful bit of legislation and trading standards will take up the case on your behalf to pursue to culprits.

    if you didnt get the cooling off period in writing then THEY HAVE BROKEN THE LAW.

    When this legislation first came out it caught a lot of us out but most of the legit operators soon got their act together and their paperwork in order to comply.The rogue traders havent because they think they are untouchable.

    Using fake addresses to lure a consumer into making a decision on using that service also falls foul of the consumer protection regs ie the bit about misleading customers into making a choice.

    www .oft.gov.uk/713560/publications/guidance/cprregs/#.UcwGftgyGSp


    Go legal on them as they are pure scum and deserve everything they get.They are the reason many skilled independent locksmiths have left the trade myself included.

    Pm me if you would like some more specific info about the culprits i may know of them but i can guarantee i can find out about them as i have a lot of trade contacts who will know.

    I would love to help as i have a real issue with how these companies operate.
  • al69al69 Forumite
    65 posts
    MathewJ wrote: »
    Thing is - you just boosted their ranking in Google, good or bad...

    It amazes me that people buy locks and padlocks from Ebay traders - errm they know where you live and they can copy your keys before sending....

    Master locksmiths are not that expensive - and you get a registered license on the invoice, recourse if it goes tits up.

    Consumers make a lot of noise about gas registered, corgi etc - but they dont seem to care about who has the keys to your front door?

    Their is no licensing in the uk for locksmiths its a myth.The master locksmith association is something you pay to join there are plenty of skilled loocksmiths who choose not to be members of it.

    As for ebay and locks, im sorry but what a load of tosh.
    Do you honestly think thats how thieves operate ? ok im a thief i sell a lock i have a key to on ebay.I go around and burgle the house with no signs of forced entry.The police ask where the lock was bought from then go to the sellers house to ask where they were that day.

    The only way to beat burglars is to create layers of security to create more time for them to get in.

    Good locks,alarm,cctv (optional but useful) and a decent safe.Hide all car keys at night,fully lock up and arm the alarm EVERY time you go out or go to bed.

    Its not hard but too many people are lazy and dont fully lock up especially upvc doors a common point of entry.I could get in a non fully locked up upvc door in seconds so can a thief.
  • muckybuttmuckybutt Forumite
    3.8K posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    Interesting read from you al69, i'm currently thinking about a career change and getting into lock smithing.
    I often have to change locks and install the digi locks at work at the moment and its kinda given me the bug to take things further.

    Be nice to know locks inside out so to speak and learn about nde techniques.

    Any pointers ?
    You may click thanks if you found my advice useful
  • edited 29 June 2013 at 8:20PM
    MathewJMathewJ Forumite
    44 posts
    edited 29 June 2013 at 8:20PM
    al69 wrote: »
    Their is no licensing in the uk for locksmiths its a myth.The master locksmith association is something you pay to join there are plenty of skilled loocksmiths who choose not to be members of it.

    As for ebay and locks, im sorry but what a load of tosh.
    Do you honestly think thats how thieves operate ? ok im a thief i sell a lock i have a key to on ebay.I go around and burgle the house with no signs of forced entry.The police ask where the lock was bought from then go to the sellers house to ask where they were that day.

    The only way to beat burglars is to create layers of security to create more time for them to get in.

    Good locks,alarm,cctv (optional but useful) and a decent safe.Hide all car keys at night,fully lock up and arm the alarm EVERY time you go out or go to bed.

    Its not hard but too many people are lazy and dont fully lock up especially upvc doors a common point of entry.I could get in a non fully locked up upvc door in seconds so can a thief.

    Fortunately the general public seem to appreciate the Master locksmiths association MLA is NOT a 'pay as you go' membership - just the same as GAS / old Corgi registration - you have to complete the training and be accountable for fire regulations, master key design and be vetted for security / registered key keeping.

    There are no 'good locksmiths' who 'choose' not to be in the MLA - just those who have not been trained or those that are not up to our standards.

    The legal requirements mean nothing - but having a respected industry body to control standards is much better than saying 'hey I'm a good locksmith cos I stack shelves as Tesco's Mon-Fri'... Really? You know about BS fire regs on locks/doors? You are authorised to design and manage master key systems for schools, hotels etc? Errrm No you are not - you are just another 'pretend locksmith' who charges your 'mates' £150 for a £4 cylinder that is made of cheese from China.

    And for the original poster - I worked for Yell for over 20 years as a National Account Manager (so maybe I know more than most here, who are happy to help)
    HIBU/Yell what was Yellow pages are a advertising / publisher / media - they will sell listings online or in their directories to anyone at 'face value' IE they take everyones order in good will.
    HIBU will offer nothing to you as a consumer who got ripped off by one of their advertisers, as they are 'just the messenger'.
    HIBU/Yell offer no validation, guarantees or endorse any content they publish - everything is taken in spirit, and money is exchanged.
    You as the consumer have no recourse with the publisher - HIBU/Yell/Google etc.
    So my point above this makes more sense - choose someone with something to lose and a history longer than 5 minutes...
    'Lots of good locksmiths' blah blah - really? Are you registered on a national database? Are you insured? Are you trained? Are you vetted? Can you open a safe? Can you cut and re-program car keys for 95% of the cars in the UK?
    We don't charge £350 for a euro lock change or to open a 3 lever lock - we charge £102 and for neighbourhood watch customers we do it for £78 - this includes measuring and fitting a new lock that's well beyond any current insurance standards.
    If you stay loyal all the time, you get treated like a dog.
  • MathewJMathewJ Forumite
    44 posts
    al69 wrote: »
    I could get in a non fully locked up upvc door in seconds so can a thief.

    This made me giggle sorry - but a 3 year old can pull the handle and open a non locked door..

    If you are talking about snapping a locked euro cylinder then I can challenge you to break into my home with 3 star cylinders - and we will video you failing to even get close to entering my house.
    But as a Pro Locksmith I'm sure you can do it...... it takes us 14 drill bits and we know exactly where to drill as we make these locks from scratch. (not from B&Q or Asda)
    If you stay loyal all the time, you get treated like a dog.
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