At 8:30 AM I get a call for a car lockout. I ask the customer for his location and the nearest cross streets. He is near the Safeway and the AM/PM gas station. Before ending the call the customer asked for a price and I told him $80, but if you like us on Facebook you get a 10% discount and the price goes down to $72.
8:50 AM I arrive at the AM/PM gas station. I see a police car, a locksmith van, and a white Honda Accord. Turns out the “locksmith” wanted $200 to open the car. The phone dispatcher told him $55 and up. Clear case of price gouging. The guy got angry and called the cops. He thought he could stop this “locksmith” from doing this ever again. In reality, this is a civil matter and the police stay out of it. I opened the car. The other locksmith drives away.
Car Lockout Price Gouging
You are locked out of your car. You have been waiting outside in the heat or cold. You’re stranded. All of this makes you an easy target for locksmith price gouging. Over the phone locksmith companies will say anything to get your business, “I have a tech right around the corner from you finishing a job as we speak” and “We charge $19 to come out and $35 to open”. You reply “So, $55?”. “Yes, that is our starting price $55”. It sounds like this is what you’re going to pay, $55, you can handle that.
What is a starting price?
A starting price is a low number that makes you feel that this company has good prices. It has nothing to do with the real price. In fact, most of these companies don’t even have price list. They tell the contractors to charge as much as they want! Why would the company tell you it won’t be more then, that might limit the contractor from charging you more!
Can any locksmith give me a straight answer?
Yes, A trusted locksmith like Squaw Peak Lock and Key can give you an exact price for the work. We ask guiding questions that let us know what the situation is and then give you the price to do the work. The only time there would be a change in the price would be due to unforeseen circumstances, such as if the customer gives us incorrect information about their vehicle or keys on the phone.
Questions Help Us Determine the Locksmith Price
Can you see the keys in the car? The customer indicates they can see the keys. When we get there we open the car and the keys are in the trunk. And the handle to open the trunk is not working. We charge extra to drill the lock.
Why is it more?
The customer said they could see the keys. If they would have told the dispatcher that the keys were in the trunk, the price quoted would have included the extra fee to drill the trunk lock.