It happens quickly. You leave your flat and even as the door slams into the lock, you panic and think of the key that is still in the flat. But it’s too late, the door is locked and you are locked out.
The only thing that can help is a locksmith if you have no other way to get a spare key. But, first things first:
Please stay calm!
First of all, you should calmly consider whether you have left a spare key somewhere. People often leave a key with their parents, siblings or good friends for just such situations. Good if you have done the same. Bad if the keeper of your spare key is currently on holiday or not at home.
Has your landlord given you permission to keep a spare key for emergencies? Then it is best to call him. This will save you time and money. Normally, a landlord is not allowed to keep a key. You have to expressly agree to this.
If you really don’t have access to a spare key, your only option is to call a locksmith. But as always, this usually happens at the weekend. What costs do you have to expect?
Table of contents
How much can a locksmith cost at the weekend? Locksmiths at the weekend: A cost trap? What prices speak for reputable locksmiths? Why surcharges for locksmiths at all? Locksmiths - An overview of reputable prices What to do if the costs are too high?
How much can a locksmith cost at the weekend?
Locksmiths at the weekend: A cost trap?
The costs for a locksmith vary so much that no general statements can be made. Since it is particularly urgent at night, hardly anyone has the patience to search online for the cheapest offer. It is therefore advisable to compare prices in advance and always carry the number of the best locksmith with you. This way, you are protected against extortionate prices from some providers who take financial advantage of your predicament.
Tip: If the locksmith you call charges overpriced prices and pressures you to pay immediately, you should call the police and file a complaint.
What prices speak for reputable locksmiths?
Normally, reputable locksmiths do not charge too much for a simple door opening outside of special hours. On weekends and at night, these prices may of course be raised slightly. For you, this means that you should not pay exorbitant prices for reputable locksmiths at night or on weekends.
Now, of course, there are also different price models with the various providers. Whether fixed flat-rate surcharges, staggered surcharges or percentage surcharges per quarter of an hour or part thereof – everything is possible. You should always choose the provider with the most transparent pricing model. This way you can estimate the costs you will incur much better in advance.
Why surcharges for locksmiths at all?
Many people do not realise that locksmiths are on call at weekends and during the night. Even if the work is no different from daytime work, there are higher costs for the company just for the night shifts and weekend duties. In principle, therefore, it is perfectly fine to have surcharges for night or weekend assignments. They should just not degenerate into usury.
Locksmiths – serious prices at a glance
Depending on whether you are only ordering a door opening or a lock replacement at the same time, the following maximum costs will be incurred by reputable locksmiths at the weekend and at night:
After 10 pm and on Saturdays: Normal price + surcharge for special times on Sundays and at night on weekends: Price of an opening after 10 p.m. and on Saturdays + a surcharge for weekends.
Please note that only simple work is meant here. Sometimes it is a bit more complicated and then there are much higher costs, which are usually billed in quarter-hourly rates. Here, too, the individual fees sometimes differ so much that only a comparison can help.
What to do if the costs are too high?
In simple cases and without changing the lock, the service at night and on weekends should not cost too much. If this seems too much, then the following is possible: In this case, you have the option of first paying a deposit and then having the bill checked by the consumer advice centre. In the case of very high prices and whenever the locksmith tries to pressure you into signing, you should always call the police.
Before you take legal action, you should always check whether the prices are still just below the so-called usury limit or whether they are above it. If they are just below the usury limit, there is no point in taking legal action – you will be stuck with your costs. Only if the costs are above the usury limit is it worth hiring a lawyer. Often, the lawyer will be able to correct the bill to a reasonable value in an out-of-court attempt. In this case, the lawyer’s fees are usually paid by the locksmith.
Conclusion: The safest solution is always to have the number of the locksmith of your choice ready when nothing has happened yet. It is up to you whether you save the number in your mobile phone, remember the company name or carry a piece of paper in your pocket.
The important thing is to compare prices beforehand, read testimonials and decide on a locksmith. Once you have locked yourself out – and then in the middle of the night – you might be inclined to accept any offer just to get into your home as quickly as possible.