You lost your keys and need a locksmith. Finding one is easy nowadays with smartphone technology – just search “locksmith,” call one of the results that pops up, and a locksmith is en route to the rescue. So simple, right? Wrong.
What the search engine doesn’t tell you is that unlicensed locksmith activity is a growing problem in California. The search results could potentially lead you to someone seeking to conduct illegal activity at your expense. What you also might not know is that California has requirements locksmiths must meet in order to legally do business.
The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) regulates locksmith companies and locksmith employees in California and wants you to be an aware and informed consumer. An informed consumer is one of the best deterrents against illegal locksmith activity.
Here is some handy information to keep in your back pocket when it comes to locksmiths:
- By law, a locksmith company must hold a BSIS locksmith license and an employee of a locksmith company must hold a BSIS locksmith employee registration.
- Identify a licensed and reputable locksmith before you need one. Individuals who possess a locksmith employee registration, but do not work for a licensed locksmith company are operating illegally.
- Check the license online or by calling (800) 952-5210.
- Check the business name and license number on the vehicle.
- Ask the locksmith to provide proof of his or her BSIS license or registration.
- Check the Better Business Bureau’s website for information.
- Get an estimate of the charges before you authorize the work.
- Always get a receipt for any work completed.
- If something doesn’t seem right, do not authorize the work to be started.
- Contact BSIS to file a complaint or report unlicensed activity.
Conducting business with unlicensed individuals is risky. Remember to check the license and report unlicensed activity online or by calling (800) 952-5210.