Lockouts are the worst, especially for a busy nursing student like Jordan Cornelson.
"I looked in the door, and I realized that I couldn't get in and my keys were in the cupholder," she explained.
Cornelson Googled Dallas locksmith services and came across Supreme Locksmith.
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Its website said "Our expert team of emergency locksmith professionals are trained and experienced in using the latest technology and locksmith techniques."
So, she gave them a call.
"I just said you know I locked my keys in my car I need some help," she said she told them.
Cornelson said the locksmith arrived in about 15 minutes.
"He seemed really nice. He just came over, kind of gave me the spiel of everything he was going to do," she said.
She said he told her the job would cost $100 up front, and if anything happened during the service, she was completely covered under their warranty. She agreed to move forward, and the locksmith got to work.
"He immediately is having trouble and he says it's the hardest car he's ever had to unlock," she said.
Cornelson took a Snapchat video while he worked on her car. She said it took 30 minutes, but when he finally got it opened, she noticed her door "didn't look right."
She said the frame was bent and it wouldn't close properly. Her window was also damaged, as it wouldn't stay up.
"He said 'your door is kind off of your frame. Don't worry, we'll completely cover this,'" she said.
Cornelson said the locksmith told her he'd give her $50 off and a manager would call to start the claim process, but that never happened. So she called Supreme Locksmith about the damage and her claim. She said the person on the phone told her "they don't do that," and she'd have to deal with the locksmith directly.
Problem is, that locksmith blocked her phone number and she said Supreme Locksmith won't tell her who he is or how she can find him.
Meanwhile, a mechanic told Cornelson the repairs will cost about $200.
"Now, I just kind of feel helpless," she said.
When the NBC 5 Responds team examined her documents, we noticed something strange:
Her receipt says 24/7 Mobile Locksmith, her credit card statement says Avenue Locksmith, but remember, the name on the website says Supreme Locksmith.
"They currently have 55 complaints with the BBB," said Kelle Slaughter, Director of Investigations with the Better Business Bureau.
She said the BBB has been looking into three years worth of complaints.
"In total, I believe we have seven different names that this company is operating under," Slaughter explained. "It is unusual for a legitimate locksmith company to have these types of complaints."
The BBB notified the Texas Department of Public Safety. DPS told NBC 5 Responds it has opened a formal investigation into the companies’ business practices. The Texas Attorney General’s office tells us it is also aware of complaints.
We called Avenue Locksmith and Supreme Locksmith about Cornelson's damaged door. A manager told us they're not liable for any damage. They're just a dispatch and the locksmiths are subcontractors. The manager also said the consumer would have to resolve her issues with "John," the locksmith.
When we called "John", he answered. But when NBC 5's Samantha Chatman told him who she was, he hung up the phone and then blocked her number, too.
We also tried calling the registered owner of Avenue Locksmith, a Dallas man named Matan Abehasira.
We didn't hear back, so Chatman paid the Avenue Locksmith office in Dallas a visit.
Chatman was told no one could answer her questions, and she was asked to leave.
Just hours after we visited the Avenue Locksmith offices, we found big changes on the supreme locksmith website.
Near the top, the site now calls it a "dispatch," telling customers "let one of our customer service representatives connect you with an independent contractor."
At the bottom, it's now called a "locksmith dispatch service."
The line about their "expert team" of locksmiths is now gone. It's been replaced with lines about how Supreme Locksmith dispatch puts the customer first.
A section labeled "trusted locksmith services" has transformed into a disclaimer, warning customers to get all of the locksmith’s information and that service and charges may vary from the cost estimate.
They've also added a line saying it's up to the customer to ask the locksmith for their license and insurance.
If you're going to hire a locksmith, here are Samantha Chatman's solutions:
- ALWAYS CHECK REVIEWS ONLINE.
- CHECK THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY’S WEBSITE TO SEE IF A LOCKSMITH IS LICENSED.
- ASK YOUR LOCKSMITH TO SHOW YOU HIS POCKET CARD. IT’S A FORM OF ID THAT ALL REGISTERED LOCKSMITHS MUST HAVE.
If you have a consumer complaint, click here.