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Unlocking Hidden Locksmithing Costs

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Getting locked out of your home or car can be pretty frustrating. Getting locked out of your home or car can be pretty frustrating.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Getting locked out of your home or car can be pretty frustrating. And figuring out who to call can be even more of a hassle. But how do you know if you're getting a fair price or if you're being taken for a ride?

We decided to do a test of sorts. First we talked with a legitimate licensed locksmith about what we should expect if we are locked out of our car or our house and then we started calling random companies. We teamed up with licensed locksmith James Perry. He's a member of the board that governs locksmiths and owns a metro company. After a quick search on Google, we called one company and their prices seemed reasonable.

They told us there would be $19 service fee and to $29 to unlock, so you're looking at about $48. They said they would have someone out in about 20 to 30 minutes. Then we contacted another company and the same person picked up the phone. The person on the other line says they are a dispatching service for multiple companies, but quotes me the exact same prices and time frame.

True to their word they are there in 15 minutes. The locksmith tries everything he can to open the deadbolt lock on the front door. After almost 45 minutes, he tried a second door and opened it. Final price? $90, $20 for the service call and then $70 to try to unlock both doors. We had Perry review the video.

"Should they be double charging me," I asked him. "No," Perry said.

Next, we called a third company to help us with a car lockout. This time we used our producer. This company quotes us a price of $19 for the service call and at least $29 to unlock the door. They say can be out there in just 15 minutes. An hour and two phone calls later, they finally show up, but the price to unlock the car is not the price they quoted. It was $65 to open the car which is $35 more than she quoted me on the phone. And the excuse the locksmith told us was it depends on the make and year of the car. What does our expert say?

"The make or year of the car really has no bearing they all open basically the same way," said Perry.

Even though we called different companies, the receipts were the exactly the same.

"These companies have one owner, multiple names," said Perry, who says that in itself is frustrating. "Because its tearing the integrity down of our profession."

Perry says the prices we paid weren't unreasonable, but the tactic these locksmiths use to lure their customers is highly unprofessional.

"They quote you a price to do a job that's what it should be when it is finished," Perry said. "Nothing more nothing less."

Now one thing you should always do is ask a locksmith if they have a license with the Department of Labor. If they don't, go ahead and send them away and call someone who does. If you do have a bad experience with a locksmith, call the Labor Department at (405) 521-6100. (https://www.ok.gov/odol/)  You can also contact the attorney general's office, so they can investigate whether or not a locksmith is taking you for a ride. http://www.ok.gov/oag/

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