Homeowners complain about local locksmith
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Getting locked out of your home can make you feel helpless. And some valley homeowners say when calling for help, they were quoted one price over the phone, and given a very different price when it came time to pay up.
Locked out of the house and frustrated, Tom Hatfield needed help.
"So I called a friend of mine, and asked her to please find me a locksmith," says Tom Hatfield.
It's not uncommon for most people to call the first company they find. John Andrews did that when he was locked out of his home.
"I asked information and they gave me a number and I called," says John.
But Tom and John both learned the hard way that you've got to know who you're dealing with. Tom was locked out back in November. He says the company told him over the phone it would cost at least $14. And once they arrived, everything happened pretty fast.
"He parked in the driveway. Showed me no ID. No nothing," says Tom.
He says the locksmith pulled up in an unmarked vehicle and wasn't wearing any type of uniform and he just started picking the lock.
"15 seconds he had the door open. And I said oh wonderful. He hadn't given me any prices or anything," says Tom.
But that's when Tom was slapped with a big surprise. The locksmith wanted $295.
"So what did you do?" asks Tricia. "I said I don't have that kind of cash. He said that's okay, I'll follow you to the ATM so you can get it," says Tom.
So he says they went to the bank, withdrew the money and paid the guy. Tom got this receipt with a couple scribbled lines, and the business name 24/7 Locksmith. John also had a similar experience with his locksmith last November.
"He came in a regular car, a compact car. Regular street clothes. He didn't present us with any credentials," says John.
He wasn't sure who he was dealing with, but says he was told over the phone there would be at least a $15 charge. John says the locksmith had trouble picking the lock and eventually had to use a drill. He knew the extra work meant a bigger fee, but says he didn't expect this, a bill for $209.
"I said I'm shocked. I never expected this. You never told us it was going to cost us this much," says John.
He says the locksmith asked for cash, but John wasn't willing to do that.
"I knew that I might have recourse with American Express. So I gave him my American Express and he charged the bill," says John.
He got a receipt that also included the business name 24/7 Locksmith. So John and Tom reached out to Contact 13, both feeling they were overcharged.
"Really the work that they did was not more than $50," says John. "Too much money for a minute of work," says Tom.
Problem is, Tom's receipt shows a business address on West Sahara near Arville. But as you can see, there's nothing here but this wall. And John's receipt has an address on West Sahara, near Valley View that doesn't exist. It's actually the location for a CVS.
Contact 13 learned, the City of Las Vegas has only one active business license for 24/7 Locksmith on Charleston, near Decatur. We stopped by and spoke with the owner who claims someone is using his business name and handing out receipts with fake addresses.
So what about the company on these receipts? We called their number and tried to get some answers. But they refused to answer any of our questions and eventually hung up on us. Katie Robison with the Better Business Bureau calls that a bad sign.
"Any legit business should be transparent. They should supply you with their address, their license number, as much information as a consumer wants," says Katie.
Angry customers like John and Tom say, they want to warn others looking for a locksmith.
"Find out if the individuals have a license and get an assessment of how much it's going to cost," says Tom.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line: The City of Las Vegas says as of August 2012, a locksmith is required to have a vehicle showing the business name and license number. They're also required to wear identifying uniforms.
The city says make sure the locksmith you hire meets these requirements, and ask to see a copy of their Metro work card. The owner of the licensed 24/7 Locksmith says he plans to contact the city about someone else using his company's name.
And if you have an issue with a locksmith or any other business, remember we have your back Las Vegas. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll see what we can do to help. For Contact 13, I'm Tricia Kean.