Mon 13 June 2016 | -- (permalink)
A business should not operate without a license (Trade license, General Business license, etc.) A business should not collect sales tax without having a valid sales tax license (Permanent or temp). An example of a business without this is a dummy website with no legal entity behind it and a local phone number listed and a tempting offer (i.e. '$15 Locksmith", '$19 car door unlocking service").
A 'locksmith" shows up telling you that your car is the most advanced piece of technology he ever seen in his life and he need to use his super skills and most advanced home depot tools to unlock it, or his super out of the ordinary knowledge to make you a car key for only $800, or his high skills in rekeying a lock that "Will cost you nothing but $1200 – a GREAT deal of the day! I won't be able to hold the price until tomorrow" and more examples to come.
Find a company online, look for a specific $19 locksmith, $15 locksmith and verify the price over the phone. The dispatch will refuse to quote you a total price, but will vaguely explain that 'Only the locksmith on site will be able to provide this information". Bingo! That's probably a scam company with no valid entity with the state.
Ask for service and let the locksmith unlock your car. They may ask you to sign a waiver. Simply refuse to sign it. If there is no waiver, sign with a smile as you were probably given an empty invoice book (Available at WalMart, Office Depot, Staples, etc.) with nothing on it but a hand written text "24 hour locksmith".
Once the car is unlocked and you have your keys in hand, refuse to pay. Ask for documentation. Tell the locksmith that it's your right to see a valid business license, a sales tax license or ask for his ID. Any legitimate locksmith will gladly show you his ID or any other legal documents. A Scam locksmith will show you none because there is no business behind him and the last thing that he wants is for you to know his real name and personal information.
Kindly explain to the fake locksmith that since he represents a fake business, or a non existing business, you are unable to pay him. Ask him to provide proof of the business name, location and tax information, explain to him that this information is going to be used against him and his fake company with the local tax authorities and the state Attorney General, take some pictures of his license plate and ask him to leave the place, or call the local police and have them ask him politely. Instead of paying an explainable fee to get back into your car, you've just got the job job for free.
If you want to avoid the rip-off companies and are willing to pay a reasonable fee for a good local locksmith, please stay away from scammers and you can get your car unlocked in no time, with the locksmith collecting a fair fee of $65, with no hidden charges.