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Customers Say Dallas Locksmith Running A Price Switch Scam

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dozens of North Texans said they were locked out of their homes and then fell victim to a bad locksmith.

The Better Business Bureau gives Avenue Locksmith an "F," but when it's the middle of night -- and you have somehow locked yourself out of your car or home, customers say it's easy to fall for false promises.

Andrea Locksmith 3
(credit: CBS 11 News)

When Jarryd Maxwell locked his keys in his car in Arlington, he said it took just 30 seconds for Avenue Locksmith to open the door. But then came the bill.

"I was actually shocked when they told me it'd be $120 versus $50."

Anna Prieto said a man from the same company demanded $350 dollars, which was seven times the price she was quoted on the phone.

When she told him she didn't have that much in cash, the locksmith started pressing.

"'Well what do you have? How much money do you have on you?'" she said he asked.

Andrea Locksmith 1
(credit: CBS 11 News)

The Better Business Bureau received 39 complaints against Avenue Locksmith showing a pattern of customers lured in by low quotes, then hit with a price increase.

Customers also found the company goes by different names and lists various different addresses.

State records show it's run from an apartment in Dallas. CBS 11 paid a visit, but no one answered the door.

Prieto said she might have paid more attention to online reviews in different circumstances.

"I was in a hurry. I was tired. It was cold outside. I just wanted to go get in bed."

Maxwell believes the company may purposely target the vulnerable.

"People are willing to pay almost anything when they're in trouble."

CBS 11 tried repeatedly to contact the company, but never heard back.

The Better Business Bureau suggests if you don't already know a good locksmith, get a recommendation and keep that number on you for emergencies.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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