Our Problems Solvers alert about people being gouged by rogue locksmiths really touched a nerve, especially among honest locksmiths who say the problem is worse than you can imagine.
Some shady locksmiths reportedly base their inflated price on the value and condition of vehicle or home you have. The objective is to get as much money as they can. Reputable local locksmiths also tell me the new scam frontier is to re-key locks on private homes with inflated prices and often inferior hardware.
But researchers at Checkbook.org found there are plenty of good, reliable locksmiths out there. The non-profit consumer rating service surveys its own subscribers and subscribers of Consumer Reports magazine.
Checkbook's latest edition includes customer feedback on more than two dozen local locksmiths with whom local customers have done business. Checkbook President Robert Krughoff says it pays to shop around.
"You can say well, this is what I need done. I need these deadbolts re-keyed. I need a couple new deadbolt locks in a couple doors, and they can give you a price for that," explained Krughoff.
Checkbook's own price survey found prices really vary depending on who you call. Installing single-cylinder deadbolt locks in 2 doors for example, ranged from a low quote of $171 to a high of $340.
Customers rated local locksmiths on getting it right, starting on time and overall performance.
Some local locksmiths get a top rating for quality. Others get a top rating for price. And three companies get a top rating for both quality and price. Those companies are Anytime Lock & Safe in Bremerton, Bill's Locksmith Service in Kent and Corcoran's Lock & Safe in Tacoma.
And while the survey found prices can vary greatly, all of the locksmiths in the survey have two things in common: satisfied customers and a local, physical address-instead of fly-by-night contractors who simply use a local number that belongs to some shady company out of state.
Checkbook is a subscriber based service which provides local ratings and updates with access online as well as in the bi-annual publication. Subscription fees are $34 for two years. A as a special service to KOMO 4 viewers, Checkbook is making the full locksmith report available for the next week