BBB Locksmith Warning


Being locked out of your home or vehicle is a stressful situation. Unfortunately, some untrustworthy locksmiths will only make matters worse. Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to beware of untrustworthy locksmith businesses taking advantage of consumers across the country. Many untrustworthy locksmiths have websites advertising their ‘emergency’ services, low rates and reliable service. Customers will be quoted a reasonable price over the phone, but will be significantly up-charged on the invoice they receive once the job has been completed. To avoid getting ripped off, BBB offers these tips to find a reliable locksmith that you can trust

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning about a locksmith business that has received an F rating from BBB. Pick Squad Locksmith, based in Tracy, has received 11 complaints from customers. They say the company fails to make proper repairs and does not deliver promised refunds for canceled appointments. According to the Bureau of Security and Investigations (BSIS) website, the Attorney General of California is also investigating the company. According to complaint filed in March 2014, Pick Squad Locksmith’s owner was convicted of a felony in April 2013 for attempting to extort money from a customer. The company has also been accused of subcontracting with unlicensed locksmiths, failing to properly maintain employee records, and having misleading and untrue advertisements on their company website, the BBB said.

    Know the name

  •  Unscrupulous locksmiths 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?” A reputable locksmith will be happy to answer any of your questions to help put your mind at rest. If they don’t want to answer your questions or seem sketchy, don’t hire them for the job!
  • Check Licensing

  •  A legitimate locksmith should ask for your 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 their identification, usually 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. According to California law, locksmiths are required to carry a copy of their license with them at all times. Ask to verify their license upon arrival. Check Licensing:In California, locksmiths must be licensed with the BSIS. Verify a license by calling (800) 952-5210 or on the BSIS website at If a locksmith cannot produce a copy of their license, consider hiring another locksmith.
  • Demand an Estimate and an Invoice:

  •  When calling a locksmith company, be sure to get an estimate prior to their arrival. Confirm the estimate when the locksmith arrives and get an itemized invoice when the work is complete. The invoice should include contact information for the company, and a breakdown of parts, services, and the amount you were charged.
  • For Repairs Over $500:

  •  If your repair costs more than $500 in labor and materials, the locksmith must also be a licensed contractor with the California State License Board (CSLB). Verify a license by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752) or on the CSLB

    Look for a locksmith that services your area

  •  Supporting local businesses is incredibly important. It might seem intuitive, but finding a locksmith that works in your area is crucial. If the locksmith that you choose has a good reputation in your neighborhood, then there is a higher chance that they will have completed similar jobs to your own. Researching local locksmiths could be as simple as completing an online search for ‘Locksmith Cheltenham‘. Once you have found a few locksmiths that work in your area, you can start to compare your options to get the best possible price for the services that you require.
  • Verify Credibility:

  •  Ask friends and family members for locksmiths they have used in the past, or simply visit to find an Accredited locksmith. If possible, find a credible locksmith before you need one.
  • Critique their advertising

  •  Look closely at the business’ advertisements. 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?
  • Pay attention to the vehicle

  •  Generally, locksmiths should arrive in a marked service vehicle or van that clearly states the business name. Keep in mind that some legitimate locksmiths do work out of a car or unmarked van for quick jobs.
  • Find out about insurance

  •  Ask if the locksmith is insured. If your property becomes damaged during a repair, insurance is important to cover your losses.
  • Pay the right way

  •  Using your credit card to pay for locksmith services can give you added security. Many credit cards have built-in fraud protection.
  • Plan for next time

  •  Once you’ve found a reputable locksmith, keep their information handy in case you find yourself locked out again in the future. Always check with your BBB to find a trustworthy business in your area.

Only fifteen states require locksmiths to be licensed: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Do your research and find a reliable locksmith before you actually need one. Visit to read Business Reviews about locksmiths in your area. You can find locksmiths who are affiliated with the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) by searching or downloading their app on your smartphone.

If you have been a victim of a locksmith scam, file a complaint with your BBB at You can also record your complaint with the FTC or your State Attorney General. If you believe you’ve found a fraudulent locksmith online, contact the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. For more information about reliable locksmiths and other businesses you can trust, visit