Action 9

Action 9 investigates rogue locksmiths

ORLANDO,Fla. — An Orange County man said he lost hundreds of dollars after calling a locksmith for a car key repair.

He claims the company grossly inflated its prices and caused extensive vehicle damage.

Thomas Smith showed Action 9 everything that didn't work inside his 2009 Hyundai.  Locks, lights, and sensors are some of the electronics Smith said a locksmith broke while doing a simple ignition repair. “They just wanted to take our money and go,” Smith said.

Express Locksmith offered $15 service calls online.

Smith said his key was sticking.

The company’s tech said a repair cost $120, but then charged him $275.

Then Smith discovered the busted electronics and the company stopped taking his calls.

“Then when I call back, it goes straight to voicemail because they don't want to deal with me anymore,” said Smith.

Action 9 discovered Express Locksmith doesn't have an office. Its business license is a condominium near International Drive.

An Action 9 producer called for service, and a tech from Express Locksmith showed up in an unmarked car.

“I have a lot of questions about your company and how it does business,” said Todd Ulrich.

The tech could not say where Express Locksmith is located or how it charges customers.

“What training do you have as a locksmith?” asked Ulrich.

“OK, sir have a good day,” replied the tech as he drove away.

It's one of several rogue locksmith companies Action 9 has exposed over the years.

A Seminole County woman called Action 9 after a $250 estimate turned into a $1,500 bill.

“And I said, ‘Are you out of your flipping mind?’” she said.

The state's Locksmith Association warns against using companies without storefronts or marked vehicles, offering cheap service calls.

“They just wanted to come out and make a quick buck,” said Smith.

Express Locksmith made a failed attempt to repair the damage.

So far, they have not responded to Ulrich’s calls.