Trustworthy and reliable locksmiths will soon be issued with official identity cards to reassure clients, secretary of state for consumer policy Eva De Bleeker said.
Speaking this morning on VRT Radio’s consumer programme De Inspecteur, De Bleeker (Open VLD) explained that there has been a growth in the sector of dishonest locksmiths who charge too much, deliver shoddy work and change their telephone number multiple times to make them impossible to track down.
In many cases, clients call out a locksmith when they are at their wits’ end, late at night, locked out of the house, unable to contact family or friends. At such times people are at their most vulnerable, ready to strike any bargain to get back safely inside. And the unscrupulous know that.
Google, faced with numerous complaints, has recently blocked advertisements for locksmiths, and now De Bleeker has another weapon to hand.
“We have met with the locksmiths, the training centres, the economic inspectorate and Google,” she said.
“The result is an identification card that will make it possible to distinguish good faith locksmiths from rogue locksmiths. The card will be available from January 2022.”
But the cards will not be available just to anyone.
“They have to meet two requirements: sign a code of conduct and have the technical competence,” she said.
“By signing the code of conduct, they indicate that they follow fair business practices: providing information in advance about the base price and the supplements, prepare invoice transparency and communicate transparently about the price and their contact details. In addition, experience, training and technical competence is also required for the identification card.”
After the introduction of the locksmiths card, De Bleeker has her eye on other sectors where ‘cowboys’ are common: plumbers and electricians.
“I am aware of similar practices in other sectors, and I hope to find solutions for them as soon as possible.”