Daily I receive calls from customers locked out of their car who have called other companies listing their services for only $19 or even $14. These companies can easily be found on Google and other search engines. Customers usually Google businesses that they can request service from to unlock their car. The fact is these businesses are scammers. In fact, they advertise their services for a low price, for example $14, which is only the charge for the service call. When the scammers arrive, suddenly the reality of the costs begin to sky rocket. The service call fee is $14, and then there is a fee for labor, and then an additional fee for tools. When all is said and done, the scammers often charge over $75.00 (sometimes up to $120 or more) to unlock a person’s car. This is simply known as the bait and hook tactic.
Consumers who are locked out of their car are often in a panic because they are in a parking lot, have left the motor running, need to get to work, or any other scereio you can imagine. When these stressors present themselves they cause the consumer to act without out investigating in most cases. There are many reputable businesses out there who can unlock your car, with professional tools, for under $50 in most cases. As a roadside assistance business owner in San Antonio, Texas I only charge $35 day or night with no additional hidden fees. So what can you do to prevent getting taken for a ride? Well, here are a few suggestions:
- When you call a phone number, it often time forwards to another phone number that can be several states away. Do they answer with the business name? Can they tell you the physical location of the business? Can they give you the name of the manager or the tech that will be arriving?
- Ask for a written estimate.
- Request to see the license of the individual providing the service.
- If you get a feeling that things are not on the up and up – just call another business.
As a small business owner, I am saddened to see honest individuals taken advantage of by scam artists. The scammers often do not even care about the customer at all, and are only interested in how much money they can deprive the person of. Knowledge is power. Before you get into a bad situation, look around for a reputable business and save that number in your phone.
Paul Brown – Owner – EZ Lockout & Roadside Service – www.ezlockout.com