Have you left the apartment in a hurry, slammed the door, and unfortunately forgotten to take your key with you? You’re not alone. Many consumers face this problem. Sometimes the only answer is a locksmith. Here are three tips to help you avoid falling into the trap of any dubious locksmith service.
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Have you left the apartment in a hurry, slammed the door, and unfortunately forgotten to take your key with you? You’re not alone. Many consumers face this problem. Sometimes the only answer is a locksmith. Here are three important tips to help you avoid falling into the trap of any dubious locksmith service providers.
First: Search for the right provider!
Although the situation is certainly stressful for you, we advise that you keep a cool head. The best thing to do is to do a little more research online and find a local locksmith service provider. Avoid any companies that only provide their telephone number and no address and registration information.
Our tip: Companies with premium-rate numbers (0900) or with the name “AAA...” are a no-go! These are most likely scams!
A serious locksmith will want to know from you whether you are authorised to access the house or apartment. So it's OK if the locksmith asks for the address in your ID.
Second: Ask for a price!
Here, it is once again important to remain calm. You should tell the locksmith in as much detail as possible what happened. Is the door just closed or locked? Usually it is enough just to open the door again. Say what needs to be done to avoid unnecessary costs. For example, the replacement of an entire lock. With this information, a reputable locksmith service provider can tell you the estimated total cost - including travel costs and hourly rates.
Our tip: Try to negotiate a fixed price! Opening a door is not time-consuming and should not exceed 100 euros for one working day.
Third: Request a bill!
Locksmith service providers cause the most trouble when they demand excessive sums of money. Many companies demand that the amount be paid immediately in cash or by card. Don't let them trick you! Request a bill with all line items and only pay the previously agreed-upon amount. Furthermore, “immediate surcharges”, “provision surcharges” and “special tool costs” are not allowed!
Surcharges for work outside normal working hours (e.g. on Sundays or at night) are permissible, but they may not exceed 100 per cent of the normal remuneration.
Did you pay too much? You can come to the Verbraucherzentrale (Consumer Centre) and have your bill checked. However, usurious locksmith services can often no longer be reached and the money is very difficult to get back.
You can read another text on the subject of “Locksmith Services” and some brief information in Arabic and Turkish here.