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You wouldn’t believe what happened

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So, you’ve got to hear this tail of woe from a family member that happened the other day. 

My niece and her husband (I’m going to refer to him as the kid from now as they’re both a fairly young couple) were due to move out of their flat a few days ago. On Sunday the kid went back to the flat for a final walkthrough and managed to inadvertently let the door slam shut - leaving all the sets of keys (which were just about to be returned), his phone, car keys and everything else inside. 

Fortunately he had an Apple Watch on and he was able to lookup and call a locksmith. First one didn’t answer but the second did. 

He agreed to come out and said it would be £60 call-out. Quite good so he agreed. Once he got there that’s when all the problems began. 

It should have been a quick non destructive pick to gain entry and that’s it. But the guy said the lock was not pickable and immediately started to drill and gained entry. Said he’d replace the lock with the highest security one and all was done in about 5 minutes. 

He then presented a bill of £753.60 including VAT. The kid felt really stressed out and intimidated that he paid it. 

Now, this is where I come in. I didn’t know anything about it. The first I heard about it was when my sister assumed I new about it and mumbled something about just the lock was a few hundred pounds. I said whaaattt!!!!

I spoke to them and tried to get to the bottom of what happened and that’s when I learned that he’d basically been robbed. I said all they had to have done was call me and I would have got someone I trusted to come down or even come down myself. 

I got a copy of the invoice and this is how it breaks down:

1 x Emergency Locksmith call out fee £50

1 x Open door by drill £169

1 x Labour lock mechanism install £99

1 x New security lock 3 keys 1 year warranty £370

Sub Total £628

VAT £125.6

Total £753.6


The only reasonable thing on there is the call-out fee. 

So the cylinder that was drilled out was just a Zoo brand rim cylinder. Very pickable. The only item fitted was a basic ERA rim cylinder using the original case.  

I felt really bad for the both of them as they can’t really afford to lose that sort of money. All I could say was that they should report it to the MLA (even though the rogue isn’t a member), Trading Standards and the bank to try and start a chargeback as he paid by debit card. No idea if he’d be successful but it’s worth a go.

I did have a poke around and their company is real on companies house as is the VAT number. I also found Trust Pilot reviews for the company: 



It also seems that they trade under multiple other names and another one of their Trust Pilot reviews is:


I feel really bad for my niece and her husband. I was going to get a couple of Caveo cylinders to try out but I’m going to instead fit some of them at their new house so they at least won’t have to pay for locks at their new place. 

I really hope they’re able to get something back and something is done about this rogue. 

Edited by aam
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Posted (edited)

The first thing I asked them was if they paid by credit card but unfortunately it was debit card. At least it wasn't bank transfer, so a bit of a chance for a chargeback. 


Their bank said they have to contact the "locksmith" and give them 14-days to see what they say and also wait until any pending transaction becomes fully charged. 


Some of the Trustpilot reviews are even worse then what happened to them.

Edited by aam
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common scam thats flooding uk at present , some lure you in with cheap quotes when locked out that result in similar bills .

MLA cant do alot if anything , the best route is trading standards , they can act on this , especially if the price of the job and lock were not agreed prior to work commencing .

worth you contcting the company involved and demand a refund and that its your intent to take this up with trading standards , they normally offer a 50% refund rather than involve trading standards .

the bank and trading standards would be the route to follow.

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They should have had a written quote first before he started the work.  Once you've accepted a quote, the contractor has to do the work for that price. Probably would have been cheaper to shoulder the door in.

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its a scam thats become wide spread across the uk , affectionately refered to as the 49ers across the net , you ring locked out , they quote between £49 and £55 which is alot cheaper than the average locksmith especially at night .

they turn up and state its an unpickable high security lock and will have to be drilled , people desperate dont ask price of new lock and accept this needs doing as need in , they then charge to drill the lock then charge an extortionate price for the new lock they fit.

the average bill they charge is between £700 and £1000 and i suspect they do very well out of it.

the most prolific close down when too many complaints going in , reopen under new ltd company , same directors , new name new business , old business that has scammed all those people has closed down and no longer exists . if you search the company directors and view the companies they resigned from and closed down the same names crop up time and again , all drive nice cars live in nice homes and make far more than working locksmiths do.

customers when vulnerable , desperate and panicking dont spot the scam till its too late and they get the bill , many move on from it and too few actually follow up with a trading standards complaint . they should refuse to pay , but these outfits can be intinidating and many are too worried not to pay.

sadly this is common and gives the entire trade a bad name , been happening for many years and will continue unless regulated .

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So there was a reply. He said if a simple lock picking was applicable the charge would have been £50. Also to resolve the matter they were willing to drop the labour charge to £45 and refund the whole £50 call out - giving a total laughable refund of £114 including the VAT. 


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Did he leave the broken cylinder? These people often do.

Get someone to pick it on video prooving it was easily pickable and the rest of the work was unnessacary.

I had a few round my way now and again charging £1500 and quite often leaving the multistrip broken as well.

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But it is a simple picking job , as the case should only be the £50 charge, every professional locksmiths opinion would be that this is a simple picking job even for the new starts.

then the extra charge to drill is laughable 

and the mark up on a lock thats under £10 is extortionate

definitely one for trading standards 

this may help a little https://www.havering.gov.uk/info/20009/business_in_havering/411/trading_standards/4

and this https://www.locksmiths.co.uk/public/complaints/


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It definitely would have been a fairly easy pick. 

I’m trying not to look at the Truspilot as more shocking reviews are being added each day for this rogue. 

My niece and her husband have spoken to MLA and Trading Standards and they were quite helpful and said they are aware of the company and apparently working with the police. No idea if anything will come if it or how soon. Hopefully a chargeback will be successful but you can never tell with these things or how long it’ll take.

In the meantime their new place has existing Brisant euro cylinders on the front and back doors so I’m going to hopefully one day during the week go there and swap them out as I don’t want them spending anything on locks. The natural choice to replace the Brisant ones would probably be the Ultions, but I don’t like the growing restrictiveness of the company so I’m going to try the Caveo cylinders. 

@grahamparker is helping me out with getting some extra keys cut for the Caveo cylinders by code so they can leave extra ones with family members so something like this is less likely to happen in the future. 


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one question , as this is a flat 

is it just a single point of entry ?

if single point of entry and if its a fire door then if hes fitted a lock thats not the exact brand and model tested with the fire door then the door is now non compliant and they could be liable in the event of a fire and the landlord would have a case against them too.

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