Sandy Springs Lock & Safe (http://www.therealsandyspringslocksmith.com/) has been in business in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs since 1965 and is the only locksmith business located in the city of Sandy Springs. But this brick-and-mortar established business is steadily losing customers to locksmith scammers with similar names and even fake addresses.
“In the last week, we saw five incidents of clients who came back to us – in a panic – wondering why we were ripping them off, wondering why we were overcharging them,” owner Burt Kolker told WSB television news.
These customers simply Googled “Sandy Springs locksmith” on their phones or computers and called the phone numbers represented as local locksmiths. One such company even claimed to have a local location, which turned out to be an apartment complex, the news report said.
See the full interview here: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/businesses-affected-allegedly-fake-google-ads/ng6Cr/
This problem is plaguing most major U.S. cities. Google locksmith news and you'll see numerous news reports of customers being overcharged and locks drilled for no apparent reason.
A Washington locksmith has filed suit against Google, and Kolker agreed that much of the problem comes from these online ads. He has been fighting this battle for years. Here is a video interview he posted in 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN8PdrFStWg
It appears that Kolker is doing everything right. Sandy Springs Lock and Safe is active in the community, online and in social media. The company is an ALOA member, listed on legallocksmith.com, has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and gets positive reviews from sites like Kudzu.com, Angie’s List and Yelp. Signage and vehicles promote this legitimate locksmith status. The state of Georgia does not require or issue any type of locksmith license.
Short of taking on corporate giant Google, what can a legitimate locksmith do to fight scammers? We are working on a list and would welcome suggestions from our readers for both lock shops and mobile locksmiths, who probably have an even harder fight than storefront businesses. Please email any success stories and tips to Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org.