Locksmith firms around the Auckland region are warning customers to be wary of a company advertising itself as the "fastest" service who leave a trail of bad locks and big bills.
An undercover investigation by Fair Go found Locksmith Auckland's technician "Lawrence" installing cheap lock sets, then charging up to seven times the retail value of the product for the job.
The lock set he installed for Fair Go in a commercial building was not fire compliant and is only recommended for residential use.
Locksmiths Auckland then charged us $360 - but put the charge through in Canadian dollars without telling us – in breach of the rules set by Visa.
Our investigation was prompted by two customers and three locksmith firms that complained about Locksmith Auckland's business practices.
Homeowners Barbara Knowles and Erica Mulder were both caught out when they hired Locksmiths Auckland to replace their locks – and were then charged hundreds of dollars for substandard work.
The company has since offered a full refund to all its customers dissatisfied with its service and says it has "corrected" the credit clearing company it was using, and fired the locksmith, Lawrence.
Another company, Auckland Lock Services, has been inadvertently caught up with the less-reputable firm because of its similar name.
The company says anyone looking for a locksmith should make sure they hire a member registered with the Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia.
Auckland Lock Services is a member of MLAA, but Locksmiths Auckland is not.