MARYSVILLE, Wash. – The Better Business Bureau is warning against fake locksmiths taking advantage of the vulnerability of motorists and residents. A local locksmith said on average it should cost $60 to pick a lock, but a Marysville mom said she paid almost four times that.
As a single mother of four, Rachelle Nuttall has a lot on her plate.
“I’ve got a 14-year old, a 12-year old, a 9-year old and a 5-year old and they’re all really good kids, and it’s the 5-year old that keeps me on my toes,” said Nuttall.
So when she locked herself and her children out of the house last week before school, she panicked. Nuttall said she called the first locksmith that came up through a search on her neighbor’s phone, one was advertising services for $19 and up, but when all was said and done, she ended up being charged more than $200.
“I was kind of in a crunch for time,” said Nuttall. “I had three kids I had to get off to school, I had to be into work in an hour and 45 minutes, I just felt so rushed into it that I jumped into the first thing.”
“It’s the very situation the Better Business Bureau sent out a warning about last month, fake locksmiths using phony websites to prey on desperate drivers and homeowners.
And the very scam upsetting licensed locksmiths like Anna Fouts of Anna’s Lock and Key in Tulalip.
“It’s just so frustrating that this keeps happening, even if I wasn’t a locksmith, this infuriates me because this is my family, my friends, my community,” said Fouts.
Fouts says on average, it would cost between $50 and $75 to unlock your home or car unless it was extraordinary circumstances, like needing to drill or replace entire deadbolts.
It’s a lesson Nuttall might have learned the hard way, but one she’s now wanting to share with others.
“Don’t always assume that your first choice is your best choice,” said Nuttall.
The Better Business Bureau says these are the red flags to look for:
-Dispatcher is vague (name/location)
-Open ended prices
-Doesn’t look the part (no proper identification or markings on their vehicle)
The best advice Anna Fouts offered is to research emergency service providers like a locksmith or a plumber before you find yourself needing them.