Rogue locksmiths have been scamming Hackney residents and businesses, prompting a new initiative to combat illicit traders.

Selve Krishnan of Stoke Newington was one of many to have been ripped off by cowboy locksmiths. Ms Krishnan contacted a locksmith she found online to replace her Chubb and Union locks.

After the work was completed she was charged £8 above the estimate, and later found that her Chubb lock had been replaced with an inferior model, and that her original lock and keys had been taken.

When Ms Krishnan called the locksmith to complain, they denied any wrongdoing.

She then noticed that the address on her invoice did not match the locksmith’s online listing, and that other locksmiths are listed at the same address. It became apparent that she had been the victim of a scam.

Ms Krishnan tried to track down ‘The Locksmith Shop’ and found that a genuine outlet, G.K. Locksmiths of Stoke Newington, was having its address used by cowboys.

Ms Krishnan contacted G.K. Locksmiths who confirmed the workman was not one of their staff. Julian Korosec, owner of G.K. Locksmiths, only found out that his company’s address was being used by rogue traders when a customer complained of poor service.

“The problem is endemic,” he says. “Just the other day I checked online and there was yet another rogue locksmith company trading out of our address.”

Experiences like these have prompted the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) to launch an anti-scam initiative to create a nationally recognised qualification for locksmiths, and to work to identify and report rogue traders.

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