Locksmith ripoffs: Hidden camera investigation (Marketplace)

Locksmith ripoffs: Hidden camera investigation (Marketplace)


[♪♪♪] [Makda] It’s a chilly
night in late November. And a woman sits in the
middle of an emergency. I’m locked out of my place. [Makda] Help is on the way,
she’s told. But as we’re
about to find out… Hey! [man] Sorry about the wait. [Makda] There are no guarantees
when you’re picking a locksmith. The woman, in fact, is a
Marketplace producer. And this house is a testing
ground that we’ve rigged up with hidden cameras. Well, I think those
all look pretty good. Yeah, it’s pretty good. [Makda] Our plan is
to call locksmiths over the next few nights. -There we go…
-There, we know that one. Check Point Door and Lock. We’ve heard a lot
about this one. [Makda] From companies
we’ve heard might not give us a fair shake. It says $15– 15
minute response time. [Makda] John Seitz is with us. He’s got ten years experience as
a locksmith, and we’ve hired him to help with our test. I wanna show you– we’ve
got some cameras set up. -[Makda] Let’s go inside.
-[John] Sounds good. [Makda] Together,
we’ll be in a back room… And if I just click here,
we get a closer look. [John] Lovely. [Makda] Watching for signs of
shoddy service, and much more. Like what happens
to Dorothy Sterling. He just couldn’t
get the lock to work. [Makda] She’s 94. And needed the antique
lock on her front door fixed. And he kept trying and he just
couldn’t get it to work because he didn’t know what to do. [Makda] The locksmith is both
inexperienced, she says, and threatening. He told me he was going to
remove the lock, and leave me with nothing. [Makda] Now it’s her carpenter,
Titus, who’s fixing the mess left behind. So as you can see here, he broke
the door in several places. [Makda] Titus feels bad
because he’s the one who found the locksmith. So I called three different
companies, and the one that responded to me
first was Check Point. [Makda] Online, Check Point
promises safety, trust, and peace of mind. Customers, though, post reviews
that use words like “horrible”, “overpriced”, and
“highway robbery”. As you can see, this is the
lock which they installed. [Makda] The Check Point
locksmith can’t fix Dorothy’s old lock. And the new one he
installs is poorly designed. -Every time you turn this–
-You’re knocking against that? You’re knocking– your thumb
would be knocking against this right here. [Makda] To top it off, Dorothy
says she is charged twice what she’s quoted. And by the end of the
ordeal, pays $1,500. It was not a good
experience for anybody. Especially for…a woman, alone. [Makda] Back at our test house,
we’re going to call Check Point. So that’s the housing… [Makda] But first, our expert
John is helping plan our test, with a brand new
lock he’s re-setting. So you’re replacing the pins
with ones that would be easier to pick? Yes. [Makda] He says just about
anyone will be able to pick this lock. Maybe even me. He gives me a few pointers. And then you’re just going to
get the pins to move up and down just like the key
would, one at a time. [Makda] And in roughly
three and a half minutes… Take it all out? Take it all out,
because it is picked. And then it’s with a
flathead screwdriver, you finish the turn. -That’s it?
-That’s it. [Makda] We’re in. Is this a fair
experiment, though? Yes. It’s obviously been made easier,
I would call it a good test for beginners. So anyone claiming
to be a locksmith, they should be able to
get through it. [Makda] As day turns to night,
we set our test in motion… Hi there, I hope
you can help me, I’m locked out of my place… [Makda] With a
call to Check Point. [Makda] It’s one of the
cheapest quotes we find. How much do you think
it usually costs then? Like 15, plus 35? [Makda] It’s over an
hour of waiting. And then… I think that might be him. Are you the locksmith? Are you check–
you’re Check Point? [Makda] The one thing he
makes clear quickly… There’s no way to pick the lock. [woman] No…
No. [Makda] Not true,
says our expert. Any locksmith seeing this
lock should know it can be easily picked, but his
only solution is to drill. Does that mean
it’s more expensive? [She gasps] $350! Okay, ’cause they said it was
going to be like, 35, plus– [Makda] Plus about
$90 for a new lock. Our producer urges him
again to try picking. Are you sure you
can’t just pick it? You can’t pick this? A year? That’s what he said. He said it– that you
couldn’t pick this lock. Can you pick that lock? I picked it in 3 minutes and 30
seconds with your help there. And I do remind you that I
did not teach you very well. [Makda] Before he breaks out
the drill, we ask one more time. Okay, and you don’t
think we can pick it? [Laughing] Okay. Okay. [Makda] He spends the next
two minutes or so trying, but with no luck. Thank you for trying. [Makda] Locksmiths are
supposed to ask for ID, proof we live here,
right off the bat. But this Check Point technician
is well into destroying our lock by the time he finally asks. Y-yes…
Yes. Yeah, I’m renting it, yeah. I rent it, yeah. Uh, I couldn’t get a hold of
her today– but it’s okay, she’ll be okay. [Makda] He doesn’t
finish the thought, but does finish the job. [woman] You got it. [Makda] Including a new lock. Our expert, though,
is not impressed. What are you thinking right now? That was everything
I didn’t want it to be. [Makda] A bigger surprise
awaits, when it’s time to settle the bill. Okay, so how much– I’m totally
confused as to the price. No! No. If I give you cash
can you do like 450? [Makda] And with that,
the call ends. [woman] Bye… [Makda] We contact Check Point. They admit their locksmith
should have asked for ID, tried harder to pick the lock,
and should have quoted a final price before
starting the job. Check Point is now
updating its procedures. And agrees to
compensate 94-year-old Dorothy. This is your industry. Yeah. This is the worst
part of my industry. This is the worst part. I’m glad you’re taking
a good look at it, I have heard all about it,
but that was sad. That was just really sad. You almost look like
you’re taking it personally. This is my livelihood that I
just watched someone make a joke out of. [Makda] This is
your Marketplace. [Phone ringing] Oh, hey, is this
Locksmith Experts? [Makda] It’s the second night of
our test house, and we’re on the phone with a company
called Locksmith Experts. I have locked myself out of my
house, I can’t find my keys. [Makda] The Better Business
Bureau says Locksmith Experts has a “pattern of complaints,”
mostly about over-charging. As one reviewer puts it,
“these people are not experts, “they are thieves.” The company admits it has a
few unhappy customers– but says most are satisfied. Yep. Oh, how much, how much do
you think that might be? [Makda] We heard a similar quote
last night from a different locksmith, and it
ends up costing $450. He said the lock was
un-pickable and insisted on destroying it to let us in. Our expert John is back with us. And once again, he’s reset a
brand-new lock to make it easier to pick. [Makda] This is night two,
what are you expecting? [John] I’m hoping for
much better tonight. Just a straight call, honesty,
an attempt to pick the lock. [Makda] Oh, there we go,
car’s pulling in. Hi, are you my locksmith? Hi. I’m okay. [Makda] He says his name is
Serge, and the very next thing he says is the proper thing. Uh, I do. [Makda] We show Serge ID and a
rental agreement to prove we live here– and he immediately
tries picking the lock. Okay, okay. Is that like, on top of the… Okay. Like a service call,
sort of thing? You’re not? Oh, wow.
Thank you! You’re smiling, is that how
it’s supposed to be done? Yeah, that’s how it’s
supposed to be done. [Makda] Unlike the many
complaints we hear about Locksmith Experts, our
experience with Serge is going well–
until it’s time to pay. How much can I give you? Uh, yeah. Oh, wow.
Okay. [Makda] $80 And a Google review. [woman] Thank you. [Makda] Problem is, it’s
against Google guidelines to offer incentives
for a review. And when we tell
Locksmith Experts, they say it shouldn’t have happened. It’s against their policy. But there are other things
about this company that are raising questions. Like for some reason,
they show up when you call Port Credit Locksmith. Or Brampton Locksmith. Or Rouge Locksmith. So we couldn’t open the door
and the next day we had a big gathering here in the garden… [Makda] It’s Birchmount
Locksmith when Tom Gehrels calls them last summer. I looked on Google Maps because
I wanted to use somebody local that had a good reputation, and
looked at three different ones, found this one called Birchmount
Locksmith which you know, seemed to be right up
the street from us. [Makda] They quote Tom a price
of $30 for the service call. 45 and up for the
lock replacement. So what was your impression
of this locksmith when they showed up? The $45 “and up” now went to
$100 just to open the door and on top of that, $185
to replace the lock. [Makda] Tom fights back,
and gets a discount, but what he really doesn’t like
is the fact Birchmount Locksmith doesn’t actually do the job. It turned out he was working for
a company out of concord called “Locksmith Experts”. [Makda] Sure enough, the
receipt says Locksmith Experts. So what happened to Birchmount? We invite Tom to go looking
for answers, just up the street. There’s 530 there. Okay, it’s on this
side of the street, then. [Makda] Google Maps tells us
Birchmount locksmith should be right around here. What’s the number again? 572. Okay this is a
building at 570… And this should be 572. [Tom] There’s nothing here. It’s just an empty lot. There’s no locksmith here. [Makda] It doesn’t
look like it. No. Why do you think they
would pick this address? I guess they just
don’t want to be found. Clearly there’s
something scuzzy going on. [Makda] We ask
Locksmith Experts to explain. They say they act as a
subcontractor for many companies. And did not create
any fake listings. Back at our test house, we want
to know how far the fakery goes in the locksmith industry. Okay, so this is right
near where we are… [Makda] So we try
searching Google for “a locksmith near me”,
and find a company called Certified Locksmith Etobicoke. Right there. Yeah, Certified
Locksmith Etobicoke. Let’s just pull it up. It’s supposed to be
right in the neighbourhood. Oh hey, I’m wondering
if you can help me. [Makda] But when we call
Certified and ask who, exactly, will be coming,
things get confusing. What’s the name of the
locksmith that shows up? It’s FC Locksmith. [Makda] FC Locksmith claims to
be one of the best locksmith companies in Toronto. And seems to have
branches in Ottawa and Calgary. So why is FC coming up as
Certified on Google Maps? We decide that instead of a
locksmith coming to us, we’ll go to the locksmith. So we’re going to go to
Certified Locksmith Etobicoke, it says it’s six minutes away. [phone] Certified Locksmith
Etobicoke may be closed by the time you arrive. [Makda] Our GPS leads
the way toward Certified– or maybe FC– Locksmith,
and in minutes… There it is,
2975 Bloor Street West. -It’s right there.
-It’s right there. That does not look
like a locksmith company. That does not look
like a locksmith company. But it says right here, it
says 2975 Bloor Street West, Certified Locksmith Etobicoke. But Parama is there,
which looks like– -A credit union.
-A credit union, yeah. [Makda] The deception,
we discover, doesn’t end here. We find more than 20 fake
locksmith locations around Toronto saying they
are linked to FC Locksmith. Which makes us wonder about all
these five-star reviews we see on FC’s Google business listing. When we dig deeper, we figure
out most of them are fakes too. Dalton Fincher is actually
American astronaut Clayton Anderson, seen here on
the Space Shuttle Discovery. And Denver Cothron is actually
Ian Roland, a lawyer who happens to work just next door to us. So we head over to see
if Ian Roland knows his image is being used to
promote FC Locksmith. So this is the company here,
you can see there’s 57 reviews. And if I scroll down,
there you are. That’s your picture, right? [Ian] Denver!
[He laughs] -[Makda] Your name’s Denver?
-Denver. Interesting. “I got locked out of
my car the other day. “They responded right
away and solved the problem. “The technician that
came was a real lifesaver.” I have no idea
what that’s about. I certainly didn’t get
locked out of my car. That’s not you? That’s not me. No, it’s not me. Well, the picture’s me,
but nothing else is. And I have no idea
how they got it. There are a lot of fake
reviews on this site. I’m a lawyer, it’s an
appropriation of my image. I may have to pursue it. -Thank you for that information.
-You’re welcome. [Makda] A one-star review
we managed to find on FC’s Google listing comes with
a twist of irony. A man named Colin tells
people to not use this company. He says the locksmith “mangled,
scratched and dinged” his door. In response, FC calls it
a fake review, and says, “It’s just one of our
competitors.” But we track down Colin, who
doesn’t want to come on camera, and both he and
his review are real. FC denies allegations of
fake reviews or locations. It says all those positive
reviews could have been posted by anyone,
and they’re checking with their marketing company about
any fake locations. [Makda] This is
your Marketplace. We’re mapping out deception
in the locksmith industry. [woman] So you’re in your house. You’re locked out. You want something nearby,
you call something that looks ten minutes away.
Like, ten minutes away, tops. -A local locksmith.
-A local locksmith. And what you actually get is
a grocery store, not the locksmith company
you have called. [Makda] Each of these red dots
represents a supposed locksmith company in the Toronto area. But after months of digging,
we discover none of them are real locksmith locations. Here’s what they really are… Drug stores and retail stores. Parking lots and gas stations. Strip malls and banks. It makes us wonder,
how much can you really trust Google map searches? Mike Blumenthal is a
search engine consultant. He helps businesses get exposure
through local Google searches. In locksmiths,
in appliance repair, in moving and
garage door opening. Any home service business,
you see a massive amount of fake listings at the present. What’s the harm in that? Well, the harm is severalfold. One is legitimate businesses
can’t compete, the other is it’s very deceptive to the consumer. A lot of times these businesses
that are willing to cheat on their listings are also willing
to cheat on the reviews, willing to cheat at who they
send out to repair. They could be sending people
into your home that are not either qualified to be there or
shouldn’t be there because of background issues. But doesn’t Google have
rules against fake listings? They have a lot of rules
against fake listings, but they don’t
enforce the rules. [Makda] We tell Google and the
locksmith companies about all the fake listings we’ve
uncovered, and now all of them have been taken down. Google says because of our
investigation, they’re auditing all locksmith
listings across Canada. But Mike says it will take more
than investigations like ours to solve the bigger problem. It’s gone beyond trusting Google
as a business to fix these issues. After watching this for 11
years, the only solution is a political one. There needs to be rules at the
regulatory level with serious consequences. Financial and perhaps even
criminal consequences to both the businesses that create fake
listings and deceive people, as well as to Google. [Makda] It’s the only way, he
says, we’ll ever truly close the door on deception.

100 thoughts on “Locksmith ripoffs: Hidden camera investigation (Marketplace)”

  1. Canada seems like a place full of rip off artist with the way market place reports on all these different industries.

  2. Third world scammers. When you deal with third world scammers you deserve to be scammed. This will be your multicultural bill.

  3. Sadly this issue extends to the US also, never call a lock smith. learn to pick locks , it doesn't take long and can help you in the future.

  4. I've been wanting to get into lock picking for this reason exactly. I've played thousands of hours of Fallout and have seen nearly all of YouTube's LockPickingLawyer videos, and I'm ready to buy my first kit:D

  5. And Google will fight tooth and nail to make sure their goose that lays golden eggs is not interfered with by governments trying to protect their citizens from fraud and theft.

  6. Marketplace can you please do a hidden camera investigation on MOVING COMPANIES. I moved two years ago and was charged $2000 for items contained in a one-bedroom within 20km, plus they broke my 50inch tv; to find out the company has no location or customer support. Thanks

  7. What's funny is that in Ontario locksmiths must have an provincial licence to operate legally. The licence is issued by the province like a driver's license…..but there's no institution in place to issue a license.

  8. OMG! Some random guy using another guy picture on his Google profile without ever claiming to be that guy? That is so national TV material. Good catch by the CBC!

  9. I watched a locksmith attach a pair of vice grips behind the knob and rip it off. Doing damage to the door. I asked about picking it. Said he didn’t have a lock pick set. I’m glad it wasn’t my door.

  10. I wouldn’t say the second was totally dishonest all he said was do you know how to leave a google review NOT leave a positive review just can you leave one

  11. funny how these shows provide free advertising for giant corporations that hire minimum wage workers that have no idea what they are doing and constant employee turnover so they rarely have anyone with experience.
    but these shows always choose to go after small business's.
    guess they jsut dont wanna help alota people and wanna just help a few?
    course not. big companies are just so corrupt they will rip you off then sue, have you sign an NDA so you cant have a tv show or tell anyone they are crooks. you dont beat competition by being better these days, you do it by lying more and hiring lawyers. alot cheaper than hard work.

  12. Huh. I'm surprised this ended up in my recommended. I'm also really surprised by the quality of the video. The content certainly is up to standards, It would be nicer if it's dug more in depth.

  13. NOT COOL. There should be a legal cap on how much (max amount) a locksmith company can charge to open / break open a lock. $1500.00 that should be illegal.

  14. for that $452 locksmith dirt bag, it would be funny if guy who made lock super easy to open just chilling in living room waiting for door to open

  15. At what point do you just watch a damn YouTube video on how to replace a lock? Wake up people and learn how to maintain the property you own/live in!

  16. the only way it will be fixed is to get the politicians involved and create more laws,,,,because government fixes everything right,,,,i see it in my DMV..its awesome

  17. so locksmith #1 gets bonus for additional charges they can get customers to pay. smith #2 gets a bonus for positive reviews and customer feedback. smith #3 is just a call center that outsources everything, even customers.

  18. Great report! I work for a locksmith in Birmingham, Alabama. There are several scam companies that work our city as well. We quote a price over the phone for a lockpick, flat fee, no service charge (exceptions being time of day and distance, we do charge extra for). You are given a price over the phone and that is what you pay. Example, you call at 10pm with 2 locks needing picked> $75 for first lock, $15 for second lock and $10 for evening rate for a guaranteed fee of $100. You call at 3pm with one lock, it is only $75 guaranteed.

    The only time it could be more is if it is damaged or can not be picked, bumped or bypassed due to either malfunctioning lock, added security features, or even the lock having a higher skill required than the Smith has (yes, it does happen to the best of them).

    I am considered a "pick tech" and am not supplied the key cutters , drills and replacement lock sets. I just go and do pick entries. If I can not pick the lock, I DO NOT CHARGE THE CUSTOMER. I give them the option of calling another locksmith or setting an appointment with the full time locksmith on staff who has the service van equipped to handle full locksmith service.

    What really burns by backside, is that when a potential customer googles my company name, one of the scammers has placed an ad at the top of the results using a name similar to ours. Very often, the customer does not realize they are calling another company. If the customer asks them if they are speaking to "my company name", they will lie and say yes. Someone goes out, overcharges the customer, and they blame us. Grrrr.

  19. Thats really done by greedy person … talk to much to switch things out

    Liar … shamed company .bogus.

  20. The exact same thing goes on in the car lockout business too. Always have insurance to cover this thing, or you're at their mercy. I called a mobile locksmith to make me a spare key once (I was not locked out). Price listed was $79. A guys shows up in a beat up dirty car with no signage or anything, no uniform or ID badge, and worst of all, doesn't have the right key fob! Says he'll make me a "key that will work" for $300. I told him to get off the property after calling the service. They said they "contract" with various "providers" who can charge whatever they want. I said not in my world, BYE.

  21. Idk what's up, but after This, & another RANDOM recommended video this morning from the "Lockpicking Lawyer", I will be TAPING my keys to my body for the foreseeable future! Smh & LOL😂😂

  22. locksmith:did you pick that lock?

    girl:yha,i did it in 3 minutes with your help.

    lock smith:then i do remind you i dident teach you well.

    is he trying to make a point or insult himself?😂🤣

  23. Thank you so much for doing this! Your work is so important and you are very brave for taking on these corrupt companies. Thank you for your service to the public!

  24. Marketplace highkey has some of the best tea 😂 I love watching these!! Should really do towing companies too. Those guys are the worst too

  25. Here in NZ they just.. send you a letter to confirm your address, and snag your drivers liscense to confirm identity.

  26. Sept 26, 2016 the podcast "Reply All" talked about this scam. Listen to episode #78 and you will learn how this scam really works. This is informative but old news sad to say.

  27. These people have a whole operation and all the company owners know each other and send random uncertified techs to your house … do not use these services unless you have visited the actual store. I have a lot of information on them. Contact if more information is needed.

  28. I went into a home as a plumber that I believe the customer was conducting a similar investigation. There was lots of jewelry laid out on a countertop like bait. I augered the toilet and charged the customer the regular book price while making a point to show her the price guide.
    There wasn’t any sign that said the property is under surveillance, only a eyewitness news investigations ball cap and an overwhelming sense of being watched and set up. If I closed the door and used the restroom while being filmed then they are criminals for violating my privacy.
    There are huge overhead costs running a reputable business, and obtaining the education and experience developing skills to become a professional. Driving to a site and doing a job for an agreed upon price is still billable for an hour of labor even if it takes 5 seconds of raking the lock. People are always going to complain about prices and online reviews are notoriously biased so I take take that with a grain of salt.

  29. i think serge could have gone about asking them to leave a review better. you don't need to ask them to leave a positive review. when you tell them the price you should be able to see if they are happy or not especially if you are giving them a bit of a discount on a easy job. most of the time just asking people to leave you a review is enough to get a good review if they were happy with your service.

  30. People nowadays just don't give a crap about others. Even legitimate businesses will try to RIP you off for your money.

    This is why you educate yourself to defend yourselves.

  31. A mortise lock just the part can run from $600.00 to $3500.00 and some even more. Not every lock is easy to pick. It depends on the pin types. In San Francisco it's $95.00 to come out. $35.00 to pick if it can be picked. Otherwise you have to drill. $250.00 is fair if you drill. Google and yelp say the same thing about not paying for a review, But a review has value. So screw them . They are both extortion companies themselves that are needed to run your business.

  32. I had a similar experiance locking myself out of my car, I was quoted $50 over the phone, and charged $180 by the tech, was never asked for ID, waited 1.5 hours when I was told it was a 30 min wait time………it would have been cheaper and easier to break the window and replace it than deal with those scam artists

  33. I am Locksmith here in Calgary, Ab. Been in the industry for over 20 years. This scam artists are here now in our city.

    Always recommend calling a locksmith who has been established for many years.

  34. All industry are greedy bastards, plumbers, electricians, home electronics repairs, construction work, mechanic's, oil change on cars, everything is rotten, to many greedy bastards trying to rip you off,

  35. It's like the Apple iPhone..it's 150 dollars to made but you have to pay 1500 dollars as it is so special …

  36. mmm I locked out my keys in my vehicle one night at Costco phone a towing company they had a truck there fast but did not lest to their office 4 hours later and other truck showed up did what the officer told the first driver to do in the first place the other driver did say the vehicle locks are harder to pick then what he did to get into the van now it harder for then to pick the van locks I do have a key outside of the van now in case I need it I had a damage wheel cover all the parks were there just had to glue it together but the key sets inside very well no one know that has the key for the van inside did have the towing company

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