Ask Andy: Locksmiths - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andy Wise

Ask Andy: Locksmiths

Below is the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South's warning about locksmith scams rearing their ugly heads right in our neighborhood.  Very good advice in the release.

Here's a little more:  I recommend Tony Scott's The Lockman, based in Cordova, TN:  901-246-2246.

I also recommend Quality Safe & Lock Co., 2001 Winchester Rd., Memphis, TN:  (901) 396-0933.

Both are terrific locksmith companies with stellar reputations.  You can trust them and tell them Andy recommended them to you.

Now here's the BBB warning:


Locksmith Swindle on the Rise


  • Untrustworthy locksmith companies are ripping off consumers in Memphis
  • A local phone number doesn't always mean a local locksmith
  • TN enacted a locksmith licensing program in July 2008


For Immediate Release - April 8, 2009 - The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be wary of untrustworthy locksmiths operating in the Mid-South. Some "local" locksmith companies are not physically located in the area, but are simply distant call centers that farm the jobs out to unlicensed and unprofessional locksmiths who may end up doing more harm than good.

According to Kara Peifer, West TN Locksmith Association Secretary/Treasurer, a consumer who searches for a locksmith in a yellow pages directory or online may not end up with the local business they think they are contacting. "The local yellow pages directories list over 150 locksmiths in each book," said Peifer, "and if you search online, you may end up with as many as 850 names of reputed locksmiths in the Memphis area. Many have no physical location here."

Peifer says that the proliferation of unlicensed locksmiths is one reason that states are beginning to enact locksmith licensing laws. "Nine states have already passed these laws," Peifer stated. "The TN Locksmith Licensing Program was enacted in July 2008." 

"Unlicensed locksmiths tend to move from state to state, leaving when the heat gets turned up in one location," said Peifer. Pam Smith, Administrative Assistant with the TN Locksmith Licensing Program agreed.  "We're seeing this problem all over the state," Smith said. "It's everywhere."

The State of TN requires individual locksmiths to be licensed and locksmith companies to be registered with the state. Additionally, either the license or registration number must be printed on all business cards and advertising. The State of TN has both education and experience requirements for each level of licensing. And persons convicted of fraud or theft are not eligible.

"Because locksmiths are able to access secure areas and data, they could potentially be a Homeland Security threat," Peifer said. She hopes that public awareness of the locksmith licensing requirements will help protect both consumers and her profession.

The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South offers the following tips for hiring a reputable locksmith:

  • Check out the company with the BBB, preferably before you need a locksmith's services.
  • Ask the locksmith who shows up for identification and his TN license or registration number.
  • Find out if the locksmith is insured to cover any damage incurred during a repair.
  • Expect the locksmith to ask you for identification. A legitimate locksmith will confirm your identity and make sure you are the property owner before doing any work.
  • Be wary of locksmiths who answer the phone with generic sounding names like "locksmith services". Always ask for the legal name of the business and its physical location.
  • Be wary of locksmiths who arrive in unmarked vehicles. Most legitimate locksmith companies will have vehicles that are clearly marked with the company's name.
  • In case of a lock-out, be cautious if you are told up front that the lock has to be drilled and replaced. An experienced, legitimate locksmith has invested in the tools and education to be able to unlock almost any door.
  • If you are a victim of an unscrupulous locksmith, file a complaint with the BBB at Complaints should also be filed with the State of TN Locksmith Licensing Program by calling Pam Smith at 615.532.9170 or online at


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