Key stolen, lost, stuck, or broken in the lock … Worse still, break-in or burglary, when you get home, you are stuck in front of the door! You will need to urgently find a locksmith to help you out. What recommendations to avoid getting ripped off? What recourse in the event of a dispute with a locksmith?

Getting stuck outside your home because of a lock problem is never a pleasant situation. On the one hand, you really don’t want to stand around your door for hours. On the other hand, we quickly feel helpless, not knowing who to contact in an emergency. 

The most common reflex is then to call the first number of convenience stores found in a hurry. With the risk of running into a scammer who, for example, can charge you up to $ 9640.21 * to replace your lock! A staggering price when we know that the average cost of intervention during the day is between 160.67 and 803.35 dollars ** depending on the type of lock.


Before the lock repair

Take some time to think about who you are going to talk to. The ideal is to build up a list of serious professionals in advance (locksmiths, but also plumbing or electricity). Ask your neighbors if they have a reliable business to recommend, recognized or valued professionals. Otherwise, consult the ratings and opinions on the Internet of locksmiths near you.

Beware of advertising leaflets left in your mailbox. If they seem serious in appearance (blue white red color, official logos), they often come from unsavory companies offering several breakdown services (plumbing, electricity, locksmith, etc.) at ruinous prices.

Preferably choose a locksmith with a storefront. If it is part of a network approved by a reputable manufacturer, it is an additional guarantee of seriousness.

Ask the company to communicate to you the hourly labor rate, travel costs, the price of the various flat-rate services, the additional cost in the event of public holidays, the free or chargeable nature of the estimate it will have to hand you over when you arrive. This information must be sent to you on paper, by e-mail, by text message. They should also be clearly displayed on the company’s website if one exists.

If the estimate seems abusive to you, you have every right to refuse the breakdown. But once signed, it is worth a contract.

Follow the progress of troubleshooting. If the door is simply closed from the inside, the door slammed but not locked, the locksmith will usually try the famous unlocking technique by sliding an X-ray into the slot: by pushing the bolt, the door should open without damage, which saves you from having to change the lock.

After the locksmith troubleshooting

From an amount including tax of 40.17 $, the professional locksmith must give you an invoice at the end of the repair. This invoice must correspond to the amount of the estimate.
Do not let the craftsman leave with the damaged parts he replaced; keep them for proof in the event of a dispute.


Reinforced by the decree of January 24, 2017, regulations govern the commercial practices of many building sectors (locksmiths, plumbing, electricity, glazing, masonry, etc.). Its purpose is to protect consumers from regularly observed abuses.

Lack of quotation

No estimate was given to you by the craftsman and the invoice is steep? You can object to the fact that the provision of an estimate is compulsory according to the decree of January 24, 2017. It makes it possible to estimate in advance the nature of the work to be carried out and the exact cost of the service.

You are entitled to request a reduction in the invoice if it seems excessive to you.

Poorly executed work

The locksmith craftsman didn’t do his job right or botched it? For example, he had fixed your lock but it got stuck again.

The professional is obliged to come back to solve the problem free of charge.


Referral to justice

In the absence of a response from the locksmith within 15 days, your last solution is to go to the District Court to try to win your case. The accused professional will be summoned to court and the judge will render his decision. However, be aware that this type of process with the courts can be long and expensive.

Legal Protection Insurance

Litigation is very frequent in everyday life, whether with a craftsman, a bank, an administration, an energy supplier, etc. Knowing your rights is already not easy, defending yourself alone is even more difficult. An expert lawyer takes charge of your case each time you encounter a dispute and helps you find an amicable solution. If you have to take your case to court, your legal and procedural costs are covered up to 16067.02 dollars, within the limits set by the contract.

Do not wait until you are in a conflict situation to insure yourself: only disputes arising after taking out the contract will be covered. Make sure without delay!

To make your life easier and prevent you from being the victim of a locksmith scam, there is another solution that is both economical and effective: Emergency Breakdown Insurance. This type of insurance allows you to be repaired quickly in an emergency at home: for any locksmith problem but also water or gas leaks, electricity or heating failure, broken window.

Another article on this blog that may interest you:

Locksmith’s working conditions