Bogus locksmiths doing business in Douglas County

Posted: Dec 28, 2011 3:22 PM Updated: Jan 25, 2012 3:23 PM

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, GA (CBS ATLANTA) -

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is warning residents to be cautious when contacting locksmiths online or in the phone book.

Rogue locksmiths are luring customers with misleading ads and then hitting them with outrageous bills.

If you look around Jones Safe & Lock Company in Douglasville, you can tell that owner George Jones knows a thing or two about being a locksmith.

He's been in business for 45 years and is properly licensed.  He has old equipment in his shop and even an old cash register, but it's what's new that's hurting his business.

"You've got to be some kind of scum to do it," said Jones Safe & Lock Company owner George Jones.

Jones said his business is down 50 percent, thanks to unlicensed locksmiths that he says keep popping up in Douglas County.

"They're ruining the whole industry really is what they're doing," said Jones.

Jones isn't the only legitimate locksmith complaining.

"It's ridiculous," said McTyre Lock & Safe Owner Frances McTyre.

Mctyre Lock & Safe up the road is also taking a hit.

"Normally, our service calls would be seven to eight service calls or more a day and now it's gone to three or four," said McTyre.

Mcytre said she spends most of her time cleaning up after the bad guys and she's reported the problem to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

"We're hearing that sometimes these people will do a bait and switch type tactic saying it will cost you $29 and they get out there and find out it's a bill for $240," said Major Tommy Wheeler with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Wheeler said that if a locksmith is operating in the county without a license they're doing it illegally.

"It used to be when you opened up a business as a locksmith, you had to have a business license for every county that you went to and now you don't," said Jones.

Copyright 2011 WGCL-TV.  All rights reserved.

Original link: http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/16406984/bogus-locksmiths-doing-business-in-douglas-county

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