Homeowners and businesses needing a locksmith in the Hamilton and GTA area should be careful who they contact. According to recent news reports, there is a growing number of dubious companies putting up listings online and using the addresses of legitimate businesses.
Bruce Eccles, a mechanic from Dundas, Ontario, recently got a call from a friend letting him know that a locksmith service was using his business address in their Yellow Pages listing. He did an online search and found that indeed a company called Dundas Cheap Locksmith was listed at his address.
When he called the number at the listing asking why they’re using his address, the person answering the phone immediately hung up on him. By doing further research, he found 19 other listings for locksmith services using addresses that don’t belong to them. For example, a company using the name Burlington Cheap Locksmith used an address belonging to a car dealership, while others used the business locations of a restaurant and tire shop.
When reporters tried calling some of the numbers listed, they reached a call center where agents told them the service is a “mobile locksmith” that sends a technician to the customer’s location. Once again, agents hung up when asked why the company uses fake addresses in their online listings.
Local authorities believe that the locksmith services using false addresses could be part of some type of fraud scheme. When contacted by reporters, Yellow Pages carried out an investigation and took quick action against the locksmith businesses.
The online business directory confirmed that 19 listings appear to be connected to the same person. According to Joelle Langevin, a Yellow Pages spokesperson, they consider the listings to be fraudulent, as the addresses listed don’t belong to them. Langevin futher stated that the company believes in providing consumers with accurate information on all their platforms and is taking measures to prevent fraudulent listings from appearing in their directory.
Legitimate locksmiths such as this locksmith in North York have heard complaints about such online listings for more than a decade. According to Alvin Dorder, who runs a locksmith business in Mississauga, fake listings for locksmiths are quite common. He says that the companies in question advertise a cheap price to entice customers, but the real cost of the labor ends up being several times the original price.
Dorder added that the phenomenon of fraudulent locksmiths can happen as there is a lack of regulation in the industry. He tells people who need a locksmith to take the time to ask around in order to be sure that the business they’re dealing with is legitimate and has an actual physical location.