An elderly woman who had locked herself out of her home in an assisted living facility in Den Bosch on Wednesday was billed €850 by a locksmith to be let in again and similar scams have become increasingly commonplace, broadcaster NOS reports.
Bart Adema, chairman of the Dutch association of locksmiths, told NOS the woman should have paid no more than €150 euros at the most for the service.
When people who find themselves ‘in a panic’ because they can’t get into their home try to find a locksmith in the area via internet they will see three companies which have paid Google for the top position, Adema points out.
‘There’s a call centre that will connect a client to a manager somewhere in the country. He tells them the service will cost €35. But then they don’t turn up on time, say the door has extra security or that the lock is very complicated one. People are asked to sign an empty form on the spot that is legally binding,’ Adema is quoted as saying.
‘After that the costs just mounts up to hundreds of euros, and as there is usually no company name on the bill it is impossible to get your money back.’
Last year consumer organisation Consumentenbond launched a campaign against fraudulent locksmiths.
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