The Bait and Switch: Classic Scam Move

The Bait and Switch

The locksmith has become known for the bait and switch tactic and has left the industry with a soiled reputation. Most people have had it happen to them before, you call a locksmith service they give you a price of 35 dollars and then when they arrive on scene complete their work and then demand $200. This is a classic scam move because the scammer wants to put you into a vulnerable position whether it be because you are unfamiliar with the operation of locks or you are locked out and in such a rush that you have no choice.


While some unprofessional seedy locksmiths may try to pull such a stunt in order to make a few extra dollars, there are plenty of honest professional locksmiths that offer fair and honest pricing. The truth about the mobile locksmith service industry is that there is a lot of price variety depending on the time required, location, and type of service. While a technician may not be able to give an exact price over the phone without a picture of the lock, he should still be able to provide you with an estimate that is in the range of what your final price will be.

For example, if you call a locksmith to inquire about removing a broken key from a door, there are a lot of different resolutions to this situation. An experienced locksmith will know this and give you a price estimation for each type of service. In this situation depending on whether the key is broken in a car or on a residential door the price will differ simply because the ignition and car lock are much more valuable while also being more susceptible to breaking during extraction. For this type of service a locksmith may give you the following estimations

  • A standard service call charge that the company charges
  • Cost of extracting the key (if successful) and the charge if he is unsuccessful
  • The locksmith will also let you know not all key extractions are successful
  • The technician will then let you know the cost of completely replacing the ignition or lock in order to get back inside and have your door working properly again

That is a lot of information to swallow at once, and all of the prices may make you feel as if you are getting scammed. However, by explaining each individual services’ cost and when they would be needed allows you to get a better idea of whether you service will cost closer to $60 or $260.

It is the nature of the mobile locksmith industry to have flexible prices, however with sufficient information or a picture a professional locksmith can assess the situation. If you are able to send a photograph of the lock in question to the locksmith you should have no issue getting a quote price, this is a good strategy to try next time you have to request a locksmith and hopefully will help you to avoid the dreaded bait and switch.


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