Thursday, February 25, 2016

#414 Lock And Key

The following is not only a story, but also a public service announcement.  Last Thursday I got home from work, let myself in my house, and proceeded with my evening.  I had plans later that night and locked up before leaving at approximately 7:30 p.m.  I realized I had forgotten something and returned to the house.  My deadbolt opened with the key.  The door knob did not.  It didn’t move a bit in the lock. What is going on?  I tried wiggling it, then hitting the door knob.  Nothing. 

I got in my car and looked up “locksmith Indianapolis” on my phone.  The first entry was for Locksmith Indy.  They boasted an “affordable $19 service fee.” And that “a technician will usually arrive at your location within 15 min. or less.” 

I called and was told they would arrive in 15-10 minutes.  After 30 minutes, I called again and they said they would be there very soon and there was traffic.  (At 8 o’clock on a week night?)  The technician finally arrived an hour after I called. 

As the technician worked, he mentioned the price of unlocking my door - $178.  He also said it would be more if he had to unlock the inside door.  I was stunned.  I should have said something, but I was actually speechless.  And mad at myself for not asking how much the end result would be.  He opened my door, ran my credit card, and left. 

For two days I played the “do not lock the doorknob” game and it worked well until Saturday evening.  I had been out twice in the morning with no problems.  The third time I came home the doorknob was locked.  AGAIN.  I don’t know if I locked it subconsciously or if it turned when I closed the door.  I was so careful!  Regardless, the door was locked.  This time I called Pop-A-Lock.  They had good reviews and when I called they quoted my $74.95.  Yes, that was all.  The only problem I had with them is when I called, my first question was, “How much do you charge?”  The guy told me they had to enter my address because prices are based on location.  He quoted the price and then said they would be there in 50 minutes.  After an hour, I called back.  The woman who answered the phone was very quiet except for the occasional “Hmmmmm”.  This didn’t sound good.  Turns out I was not entered in their system as getting a technician.  What?!  She entered me in the system and then I said, “I assume this will take an additional 50 minutes.  Or more.”  She replied, “Yes ma’am.”  By now it was 8 p.m.  And I had to pee.  I had made plans to watch the IU-Purdue game at my brother’s but by the time they got there the game would be half over.  I continued to sit in my car and read a magazine. 

During situations like this I try to look on the bright side.  I am thankful the temperature was pleasant.  I was warm and comfortable in my car, sitting the garage.  I was just so frustrated. 

After 15 minutes the Pop-A-Lock guy called me and said he would be there in 15 minutes.  He also texted me a link with his location and his photo.  Nice.  He was in Beech Grove and did indeed arrive in 15 minutes.  So half an hour total. 

He tried several ways to unlock the door, saying I had a really good door.  He tried using a tool the previous guy used, just in a different way.  I was not about to admit that this was the second time I had called a locksmith so I made little suggestions to see if they would help.  He did end up opening the door (my suggestions didn’t really help) and it did take a bit longer than the other guy, but he was very pleasant and I was ecstatic the price was so much cheaper than Locksmith Indy. 

After 2 ½ hours, I was in my house.  And have quickly fixed my door knob. 

My advice – no matter who you use, ask questions.  “You say you will be here in 15-20 minutes?  What happens if you’re not?”  “How much is the total price?”  I did ask each technician if they would hurt my door by what they were doing.  Both said no.  It looks fine. 

Another difference between the two companies is that Locksmith Indy did not ask me to verify that was my house.  He showed up, unlocked the door, and that was it.  Pop-A-Lock asked on the phone if I had proof that was my house.  When the technician arrived he also asked for proof (I gave him my driver’s license) and I had to fill out a form with this information also.  I hadn’t thought about it the first time, but it’s something to think about. 

For those with an AAA membership, I did learn that with a premier membership, you will be reimbursed up to $100 for locksmith service for your car or residence.  Unfortunately, I only have the basic service.  

Final advice – use a company that you are comfortable with.  Ask friends.  Find someone before it happens so you have the number programmed in your phone.  I never imagined I would be locked out of my house with a working key.  Do your due diligence!  Stay safe out there!  

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