When it comes to emergency services offered by the likes of plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, drain companies etc many people fear the dreaded “call out fee” a seemingly made up amount of money that these tradesman add onto their bills for no other reason than to increase their earnings, but in modern society, in the age of online feedback and reviews should any emergency call out company still be involved in this con?
In all honesty, no emergency call out locksmith, plumber, electrician, drain company etc should be using this tactic, you don’t order a taxi and pay the fair and then a call out fee on top because the taxi had to come out to you, this would be ridiculous, your paying the fair from A to B anyhow so the taxi driver is earning his or her money, so the same should go for an emergency locksmith for example, you call them out and you pay for the work they do whether that’s gaining access to your home or vehicle or changing your locks.
Most emergency call out companies these days do not charge a call out fee but there are few who still do, these companies should be avoided at all costs, I mean, if they are dishonest about this fabricated fee then they’ll probably be the sort of company who overcharges too.
The reason companies got away with this in the past is because there was no internet, no social media, no checkatrade, no trusted trader websites etc so people couldn’t be warned to avoid them. How people found emergency tradesmen in the past was via the yellow pages, the phonebook or by ringing directory enquiries and the person answering the phone was trained to avoid mentioning a call out fee unless they where specifically ask about it..
The call out fee was only discovered when you got the outrageous bill at the end. Of course after being taken for a ride you wouldn’t personally call on the services of this particular company again, however how could you warn others with no internet or social media, so these companies continued with their legal yet immoral scam.
Nowadays its not so easy to keep your little scam a secret. Get a some bad feedback on Google or a Tradesman site such as checkatrade or trusted trader and you’re more or less finished, which is why most companies no longer charge a call our fee, although some still get away with it, here’s how.
We’ll take the emergency locksmith industry, because this is where is happens the most. Now the majority of locksmith are in fact independent so do not want any bad feedback online so almost every independent locksmith forgoes the call out fee, however we have recently seen an increase in national locksmith companies claiming to have engineers (locksmiths) all over the country. Let’s start first by saying that these companies do not employ any engineers, in fact they are not even locksmiths themselves, they are simply a call centre who charge independent locksmiths to be on their books, so to speak. The locksmiths pay an annual fee and the call centre manage all the marketing.
The call centre also sets the fees and takes a percentage for themselves so not only are customers paying a lot more than they would pay an independent locksmith for the same job but the invoice will always include the dreaded “Call out fee”.. They get away with this because you won’t find these call centres on any tradesman website because they are not an independent tradesman. This also means that you won’t find any bad reviews, not on the trusted tradesman type sites anyway, the independent locksmith who arrives will claim not to set the prices, which is true, however if these tradesman marketed their own services rather than leaving marketing to these national companies they wouldn’t be in this situation so not entirely blameless in my opinion.
So be careful when calling on the services of an emergency call out company, make sure you do actually use an independent company and always ask about call out fees.
Looking for a list of independent Local Locksmiths?
Here’s some trusted local independent locksmiths from various areas of the UK…. please add yours to the comments, we’ll accept plumbers, electricians or any other independent tradesman offering emergency call out services