NJ Attorney General goes after illegal locksmiths

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths,Legislative by Administrator on the December 23rd, 2010

While the rest of the country continues to go after the illegal Israeli locksmiths, the state of Georgia still refuses to take action.

MO attorney general goes after AT&T and illegal locksmith

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths by Administrator on the May 1st, 2010

Missouri Attorney General Files Locksmith Lawsuit
Mo. AG Targets Phony Locksmiths, AT&T Yellow Pages After KCTV5 Investigation
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Another KCTV5 News investigation got real results. The Missouri attorney general has launched a campaign to stop fraud by phony locksmiths after KCTV5 exposed a scam.

KCTV5 exposed a network of so-called locksmiths who are flooding a Kansas City phone book with fake addresses.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a lawsuit to try to stop the fraud and get locked-out victims their money back.

On Thursday, three days after the KCTV5 News investigation aired, Koster announced what is believed to be the first legal action of its kind in the country, going after locksmith fraud and the Yellow Pages, as well.

“Clearly the Yellow Pages has made lots of money off of this,” said Koster.

The state is suing Dependable Locks Inc., out of Florida, a company accused of flooding the phone book with dozens of company aliases and hundreds of phone numbers.

And the attorney general’s office has given the AT&T Yellow Pages five business days to shut off hundreds of phone numbers linked to the fraudulent companies.

“We view that as the most practical solution to the problem. We’ll check back in five days and see,” said Koster.

Sammye Guenther called one of those phone numbers when she locked her keys in the car, but the number that looked local in the phone book wasn’t local at all. She ended up paying more than originally quoted to a technician who said he had to use an expensive device to open her door.

Because of the special device, the technician charged Guenther $176, three times the going rate for local locksmiths.

Koster said his office moved quickly after the KCTV5 News investigation aired. He said AT&T is making money off the fake listings, leaving locked-out customers to pay the price.

“KCTV5 talked extensively about it. The story raised awareness, and now our office is following up to get money back — and more importantly, to shut down the practice,” said Koster.

The lawsuit lists 20 company aliases pointed out in the KCTV5 News investigation and demands the parent company and all of its aliases stop doing business in the state of Missouri.

Koster’s office also demanded AT&T hand over billing records connected to the locksmith network so that his office can get a better idea of how the tangled network of so-called locksmiths set up shop in the first place.

The attorney general’s own investigator went undercover. She said Thursday that she was quoted a price of about $55 and ended up paying $109.

KCTV5′s Dana Wright called AT&T again Thursday for a comment about the attorney general’s actions but got no reply.

The attorney general wants money back for some of the Kansas City customers who have been overcharged. Anyone who believes he or she has been a victim of Dependable Locks Inc. is asked to contact the attorney general’s consumer hot line at 800-392-8222.

Previous Stories:

* March 31, 2009: KCTV5 NEWS INVESTIGATION: Beware Locksmith Listings

Copyright 2009 by All rights reserved.
The Attorney General’s listing of related companies had a familiar ring to it and many are still present in Google’s index. “The following are the alternate business names used by Dependable Locks, Inc.”:

–A#1 24 Hour Locksmith
–A 24 Hour Locksmith
–AAA 24 & 7 Day Locksmith
–A Always Available 24 Hour Locksmith
–A Emergency A Locksmith
–A Locksmith Always 24 Hour
–A Locksmith A 1-24 Hour
–A Locksmith 00 24 Hour
–A Locksmith O Always 24 Hour
–A Locksmith Service 24 Hour
–A Locksmith 24 Hour Emergency
These are only a few of the names used by this and other illegal companies. Conusmers need to beware when shopping for a locksmith in Georgia. As other states crack down, these crooks are flooding our state.

more legal problems for Israeli locksmiths

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths by Administrator on the April 20th, 2010

New York locksmith faces $25,000 judgment in Wisconsin

State Journal staff | Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 5:53 pm
Related Stories

* Related: State sues N.Y. locksmith company with multiple Wisconsin identities
* Related: Locksmiths battle new competitor; some claim unfair tactics
* Related: Choosing a locksmith: Authorities offer advice for consumers

The New York locksmith company that created illusory phone listings for phantom businesses in southeastern Wisconsin has been ordered to stay out of the state and to pay $25,000.

The Department of Justice got the default judgment last week against Locksmiths Inc., and owner Gabriel Munteoreanu, of Brooklyn, N.Y., in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

The state filed a civil lawsuit against Locksmiths Inc. last November, accusing the company of establishing numerous telephone numbers, bogus business names and phony addresses to deceive consumers in need of locksmith services. The addresses were to fool consumers into believing they were contacting a local business, but all calls went to the company’s out-of-state call center, which dispatched a contract locksmith. Such a business template using multiple identities, in this instance, violates the state’s deceptive advertising laws, the complaint charged.

The practice, especially as set in place by a web of locksmiths, has come to the attention of consumer fraud investigators across the country.

In Wisconsin, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has received a handful of complaints from lockout victims angry about overcharging and deceptive marketing, and companies distressed at what they feel is unfair competition.

Tenn. cracks down

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths by Administrator on the April 20th, 2010

Tennessee cracks down on illegal locksmiths from Israel. Georgia continues to do nothing. Citizens beware of corrupt locksmith practices. Dependable operates here in Atlanta under several different names.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Consumer Alert
Judge Orders Locksmith Company Out Of Tennessee
Posted: Apr 06, 2010 10:49 PM EDT
Video Gallery
Judge Orders Locksmith Company Out Of Tennessee

By Jennifer Kraus
Consumer Investigator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A judge ordered a locksmith company out of Tennessee and ordered it to pay a hefty fine for repeatedly breaking the law on Tuesday. NewsChannel 5 Investigates exposed the questionable business practices of Dependable Locks and its employees.

Consumer investigator Jennifer Kraus showed us how the company responded to the charges against it.

Dependable Locks was accused of repeatedly violating the law.

“Dependable Locks did business in Tennessee with complete disregard for the Tennessee laws governing locksmiths,” said State attorney Laura Betty to the judge.

No one from the locksmith company bothered to show up for the hearing to answer the charges.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates first exposed the company last summer after we went undercover and showed how Dependable Locks quoted one price for services and then tried to charge customers significantly more.

Unlicensed Locksmiths Take Advantage Of Consumers

Nashville resident Kevin Rittenberry testified during the hearing how the same thing happened to him. He said he first was told opening his locked car door would be $39.

“He [the Dependable Locks employee who got his car open] turned around and said, ‘$125.’ I’m like, ‘No, no, no. That’s not right,’” said Rittenberry.

The state also said neither Dependable Locks nor its employees are registered as licensed locksmiths with the state. Other violations included locksmiths driving unmarked cars and employees failing to carry any sort of company identification or license, just like we found in our investigation.

Administrative law judge Steve Darnell presided over the hearing.

“It appears that Dependable Locks is engaging not just in Tennessee but across the nation a series of fraudulent acts, and I believe the maximum fine of $5,000 per violation is appropriate,” said Darnell.

With 15 violations, the judge fined Dependable Locks $75,000 and ordered the company to stop doing business in Tennessee.

“I wanted somebody to stop these people because they’re out there gouging people all across the nation. It’s something that needs to be done,” said Rittenberry.

The hearing came nearly two years after Rittenberry’s run-in with Dependable Locks. The state said the case took longer to prosecute because the company is based out-of-state.

Why Isn’t State Doing More About Locksmiths?

Tennessee investigators could not find some of the company’s associates, and because Dependable Locks operated in the mid-state under a variety of different names.

Back in November, the two owners of Dependable Locks were arrested at the Florida headquarters of the company by federal agents. The two are awaiting trial on money laundering, wire and mail fraud charges. They’re also accused of instructing employees to overcharge and deceive customers.


Florida cracks down on illegal locksmiths

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths by Administrator on the March 11th, 2010

Here is another article on Florida’s attempt to crack down on the illegal locksmiths plagueing America.

Locksmiths find hope

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths,Uncategorized by Administrator on the November 17th, 2009

With the recent events in Florida, we can now allow ourselves to hope that the “locksmith landscape” will see better times in the future. As the federal authorities investigate Dependable Locksmith, we can assume that the trail of fraud and deceit will lead them to Atlanta, we hope so anyway, and that there will be many arrests here as well. It is a fact that 80-90% of the advertisements that people view when looking for a locksmith in Atlanta are in fact tied to these types of companies. Customers deserve to know that when they are calling in need of such a personal service, they will be served by a technician who has been cleared by the authorities and approved by their peers. This in turn will give them the assurance that when a locksmith sells them a high security lock, like Multi Lock, they will indeed receive that product and not a cheap substitute,(refer to the customers invoice posted previously)or that a simple lockout will not turn into a multi-hundred dollar ordeal.
When we at Abbot Safe and Lock/Master Locksmith Co. set out to install Multi Lock high security locks on a customers home or business, there is never any doubt that they will receive the product promised and that it will be installed according to the most demanding standards. Trust me, there is more to installing a lock(especially a Multi Lock high security lock)than knocking a couple of holes in a door. There a several parts and steps that can be omitted in order for the technician to save time and effort. This type of attitude does not fly around here. When a customer decides to share their hard-earned money with us, they are damned sure going to get more than they pay for.We are going to work hard for that money. We use all the parts that are included in a lockset and do not skip steps during the installation. These types of practices would deprive our customers of the full quality of the products that they have entrusted us to install for them. We want to earn and keep our customers trust.
Now is the time for Georgia citizens to renew their efforts to call attention to this crime wave. Call the office of the attorney general and demand that they take action to protect Georgia’s citizens. If you feel that you have been victimized by one of these companies call the US Postal Inspectors office at: 877 876 2455
Even if you have not been a victim, call anyway. Don’t wait until it happens to you.
Keep it real,

More arrests

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths by Administrator on the November 7th, 2009

more on the federal raid

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths by Administrator on the November 7th, 2009

Read more about the raid on Dependable Locksmith here.

Feds raid Dependable locksmith

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths by Administrator on the November 7th, 2009

Federal authorities have raided the offices of Dependable Locksmith in Florida. It’s about time that federal authorities have made arrests in this scam. Now is the time to put pressure on the authorities here in Georgia to act against these companies operating here.

MA attorney general fights back

Posted in legal actions against illegal locksmiths by Administrator on the October 22nd, 2009

Here’s what the MA attorney general is doing to protect citizens.