With reports circulating of locksmith impostors deceiving unsuspecting customers, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance's (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs wants to remind Tennesseans to use verify.tn.gov, an online tool designed to check the state license status of many professions regulated by TDCI.
"In Tennessee, locksmiths are required to be licensed by the state and must be able to provide proof of licensure to a customer," said TDCI Deputy Commissioner Bill Giannini. "A professional without a license should be a huge red flag to a consumer. A quick check of verify.tn.gov can help keep Tennesseans from being duped by a con artist."
The Division of Consumer Affairs offers the following additional tips to help consumers avoid locksmith scams:
Research a reliable locksmith before you need one. Verify their license status, confirm that they are insured and bonded, check user reviews, and ensure that the local business address they provide is valid.
View the Tennessee Regulatory Board's Disciplinary Actions reports and the records of your local Better Business Bureau to check the locksmith's complaint and discipline history.
Always obtain an estimate, preferably in writing, before allowing any work to begin. Do not do business with a locksmith that refuses to provide an estimate or provides an estimate that differs from the one you first obtained. Don't forget to ask about any additional charges such as emergency fees.
Ask the company to provide the name of the locksmith who will be coming and, upon arrival, ask to see the locksmith's state and county-issued license. A locksmith that operates with an unmarked vehicle should be treated with suspicion.
Ask the locksmith about the process they will use to get into your car or home. Drilling a lock should only be necessary to open high-security locks, so this should be a red flag.
Do not pay the total amount before the work is complete. If possible, consider paying with a credit card for special protection.
Questions? The Division of Consumer Affairs is here to help. Contact us at 800-342-8385 or visit /commerce/section/consumer-affairs.