You may have heard on the news in recent years about a nation-wide locksmithing scam as mentioned on NBC News, The Huffington Post, and more. It’s a classic bait-and-switch scam: Companies based out of central locations will dispatch “mobile locksmiths” in various cities under generic names such as A-1 Locksmith or Emergency Locksmith. These “technicians” are often unskilled and uncertified locksmiths who do not carry the appropriate licenses and insurance, and they typically arrive in unmarked vans and without appropriate identification or tools. They quote low prices over the phone only to charge three to ten times more once the work is completed, often leaving consumers with damaged property and little recourse.
Please be aware that we are the only company in Philadelphia with the incorporated name West Philadelphia Locksmith Co., despite other companies and websites using deceptively similar names. Other companies may try to use our name to capitalize on our good reputation, so exercise caution when using any phone number other than the one you find on our published materials.
Here are a few more tips to protect yourself as a consumer:
Check the phone book. An ad in the Yellow Pages might seem outdated, but a scam company is less likely to pay for expensive paper advertisements when they can advertise on the Internet for free or cheap. If you need to run an Internet search, make sure to check the website for detailed company information.
Ask for a name and address. While there are legitimate mobile businesses, we have a physical store presence at 31 S. 42nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 where you can meet our technicians in person or come in to buy door hardware and safes. Do not trust a company that refuses to give out their full company name or address.
Ask about licenses, insurance, and certification. Not every state requires locksmith certification. However, legitimate locksmiths are more likely to be members of national bodies such as Associated Locksmiths of America, or ALOA.
Ask the tech for identification. Check for identifying company information in the form of photo ID, a uniform, or a marked vehicle. Our technicians arrive in our signature red and white trucks clearly labelled with our name, logo, address, and phone number. Our technicians wear uniforms and will provide you with professionally printed receipts with our name and address at the top.
Get a second opinion. If you’re simply locked out, and a technician is quoting you hundreds of dollars to drill a lock, try calling another service and see what they have to say.