Local Business Extortion on the Rise

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When you think of ‘local services’ you might just think of plumbing and electrical work but they actually include anything from computer repair and roofing to dog walking and nanny-ing; so you might use local services a lot more than you think. Even though there are some massive benefits to these local businesses (i.e. they are great for our economic climate), there are also some cons too. A lot of small local businesses are not regulated by the financial conduct authority which gives a lot less structure when it comes to pricing up their services. This flexibility can be great for the business, but not so great for the¬†customer.

Underneath are some examples of online searches for local services to show just how commonly these businesses are used. This information is based upon searches across the whole of the United States of America and is measured on averages on a monthly basis.

Local Services Chart

We met with Benny who works for Lee’s Locksmith to hear his take on local services and to gain some advice on what to watch out for:

Tell us about your service work and what you provide.

Benny – I work for a 24 hour locksmith company which is based across Las Vegas. We provide a range of services anywhere from automotive to commercial services.

What would you advise that our readers look out for when searching for locksmith services across America?

Benny – Once you receive a quote, make sure you ask for the license number of the locksmith who you’ll be dealing with. Some people might feel uncomfortable asking for this information so soon, but if a locksmith has nothing to hide, this is a perfectly reasonable request. By law they are required to give this information when asked. Some ‘so called’ locksmiths are not professionally trained, these are the ones you need to watch out for.

What are some of the cons that these ‘so called’ locksmith run on their customers?
Benny – Many locksmiths will perform a “switch and bait”, which means they quote you a ridiculously cheap price, show up to your location, give you an inaccurate evaluation and drive up the price. For example, they’ll tell you that your front door lock is actually broken and needs to be completely replaced, (which could cost the customer an additional $150) when they could’ve just simply picked the lock for a small service fee. The average customer wouldn’t be aware of this tactic.

So is requesting a license number all the customer needs to worry about?

Benny – I would also advise that you ask for a range of quotes with that company. They tend to give you the price based on the best case scenario, so find out how much the worst case scenario would cost you, and then make your decision.

 

Unfortunately, these cons¬†aren’t only used by locksmiths, but by other services too. When dealing with all local services, be wary! Ask lots of questions and make sure you do your research. Online reviews are a great way to research companies and see other peoples experiences and don’t forget, if you have a bad experience with a company make sure you leave a review too!

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