header photo

Title

Subtitle

Help Prevent Locksmith Scams by John Wild

September 2, 2015
Recently I have had several customers ask me what it means to be licensed, bonded and insured in Florida? Most consumers have the misconception that the person or company doing their locksmith work is licensed. This is not the case in many states, including Florida. Let me first start with insurance, since that is the simplest one to answer and is basically self explanatory. Insured means that the company or individual has liability insurance, workmans comp. insurance as well as auto insurance where it applies. This is to protect the customer in case of an unfortunate event.

Next we will go to bonding. Bonding is a lot like insurance and is either issued through an insurance company, bonding company or through an association like Associated Locksmiths OfAmerica, Inc. (ALOA). It is a preset amount of money that is available to pay for any damages that might occur. There are also bid bonds that some companies and municipalities require. This is to insure that once you are awarded a job, if for any reason you cannot live up to the terms of your contract, the customer can receive money to hire another company to fulfill your obligation.

Next comes licensing. In Florida this is a touchy subject because Florida does not require licenses for locksmiths. Many who advertise being licensed only have an occupational license which is required of anyone in business, not a trade specific license. However some locksmiths hold low voltage electrical licenses to do access control and CCTV. The state designation for these low voltage licenses would be an ES license which stands for electrical specialty. There is also an EF license which is for burglar and fire alarms as well slotenmaker amsterdam zuid as low voltage. Last there is an EC license which is for all electrical both high voltage and low voltage. In the state of Florida, even to install a battery operated lock it requires a low voltage license which most locksmith do not have.

Currently there is a bill before the Florida house (HB 107) that would require all locksmiths to be licensed. This is an industry specific license similar to an electrical, plumbing, or any other trade license. Even though our company is a state licensed electrical contractor, I personally believe it is important for consumers to know the difference. This license would require criminal background checks on all locksmiths, which is not required at this time. As of now the consumer does not know who will arrive at there door, it could be a convicted felon who would then have keys to there premise. It would also require insurance and a license number for all forms of advertisement so the consumer could check with the state to make sure the company they are dealing with is reputable.



There are many benefits for the consumer to get this bill passed through. Florida has already been targeted by what is known as the locksmith scammer or 24/7 locksmith scam that is plaguing many parts of our country and is taking advantage of many people. In order to legally combat this epidemic we must have a licensing system in place. Phony locksmiths prey on the unsuspecting consumer by running multiple ads in the phone book and internet and try to pass themselves off as a local company. They use fake addresses and many times use similar names of existing legitimate locksmith companies. They quote one price on the phone then when they arrive they tell the consumer that was just to come out and does not include the service for which the consumer called for. By the time they get done the bill is 3-4 times greater than was quoted and in most cases they install inferior products and try to pass them of as top of the line products.

Several news orginizations have run undercover sting operations and have caught these people in the act but the attorney general has his hands tied due to lack of licensing. ABCS GOOD MORNING AMERICA even reported this in a recent broadcast because this epidemic is sweeping the country. Now is the time for people to set up and call there representatives and ask them to get this bill approved so we can have some recourse to eliminate this threat. We have opened a blog entry on this subject on our website www.adlocks.com/Blog. Please visit and comment on the pending Florida House bill. We will make sure ALOA receives the information.

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_3650.shtml

Go Back

Comment