One part of the locksmith business I hate is when customers buy key blanks over the internet, then bring them in to our shop to be cut and programmed – for almost free, of course. They try so hard to save money it is kind of insulting. And fairly often they make their lives more difficult without saving money anyway.
With non-transponder keys for cars, motorcycles, etc., it is common for customers to pay more online just for the key blank than we charge for the key and cutting it, so they gain nothing.
Transponder keys, the keys with “chips” embedded in the plastic head, are cheaper online, but there are two important reasons. 1) Internet sellers frequently provide low quality off-brand keys, a high percentage of which cannot be properly programmed. 2) Online sellers pass all the risk on to the locksmiths who actually cut and program the keys. Those risks include wasting time on defective keys that will not program, keys that affect the car’s electronics or computer, and those times when the locksmith makes a mistake on cutting the key. The locksmith’s regular price factors in these risks.
Therefore, when key blanks are purchased elsewhere and brought to us to cut and program, we do not accept the risk – we pass the risk back to the customer. That means:
- We will be paid for our service, even if the key does not work.
- If the key will not program we will spend no more than ten minutes attempting to fix the problem.
- If the car’s computer or electronics are affected, our involvement ends.
- We will do our best to cut the key properly, but if the key does not work we will not replace it for free.
- We will not pay for towing the car or any other related costs.
If these policies are not acceptable the customer is welcome to go somewhere else. We assume all the risks and stand behind the products we sell, but we will not pay for problems brought on by internet sellers.