Totty Trains

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After having given up getting a new lock from Universal Locks, I called up LockAid. The man that I spoke to said that if I e-mailed the drawings through to him, then he'd have a look at them, and quote me a price. I didn't mind drawing around the lock again for a different company, but objected to doing it again for Universal Locks. Anyway, I did this, and called the next day to check that he'd received them OK. The woman who answered the phone said that he had.

A day or two later, he called me, and said that he'd got a price for me (for a Union Everest lock). After he'd told me the price, I said that I'd like to buy one. Before putting the phone down, I asked whether the lock was kite-marked."Oh no", he said,"It's not kite-marked". To be fair, I hadn't actually told him that the lock needed to be BS-approved, I just assumed that all locks sold in the UK would be kite-marked. He started explaining a few things to me, but it all got a bit confusing. He suggested that I pop into the shop to see him - it was on my way home, and open until 6pm, so it seemed like a good idea.

In the shop, he was very helpful, and showed me lots of different types of locks. I really wanted one that would fit into the existing position. He said that it might be difficult to get a kite-marked lock that would do that, but that he'd try. A few days later, he called me, and told me that he'd got a suitable lock. I asked him to confirm that it would fit into the existing hole. He said that it wasn't exactly the same size as my existing lock, so it would need a bit of work to get it in. I didn't fancy messing around with a metal door, so I asked him to quote me a price to fit it. He quoted me 55(+VAT) for the lock, and 65(+VAT) for the labour. This seemed quite pricey, but I needed the job done. The only problem was that I didn't have time to take time off during the day to be at home when the fitter came to fit the lock. He said that they'd do an evening call at no extra charge. It all seemed OK, so I asked him to go ahead, and order the lock.

When I got home, I e-mailed him to confirm that I wanted the lock supplied and fitted for a fixed price of 120(+VAT), with the work to be carried out starting at 17:30 on 6th or 7th September. I also asked him to confirm, in writing, everything that we'd discussed.

After a bit of prompting, he confirmed the following points in writing:

This all seemed quite reasonable, and the bloke called me to confirm that the lock would be fitted on 7th September. At about 18:15, the bloke still hadn't arrived, so I sent him a text message. He replied, saying that the fitter was on his way. By 7pm, the fitter still hadn't arrived, so I called the bloke. He said that the fitter was on his way to the shop, so that he could pick up the lock, and then come to fit it. I was going to be meeting Gimmer for a few beers that evening, so told the bloke that I intended going out at 19:45. "Oh, that's not going to happen, is it?". I didn't like his attitude at all, and wasn't going to accept work being carried out after 19:45. The fitter arrived, looked at the lock that he'd been given, looked at the door, and said, "There's no way that this lock will fit in this door". You can imagine how annoyed I was. I explained to the fitter what I wanted, explained that I was going out at 19:45, and explained that I'd already e-mailed exact dimensions of the existing lock through to the bloke in the office. The fitter said that now he knows what is needed, he will make sure that the correct lock is ordered, and come back to fit it.

This all seemed reasonable, but, just to be sure, I e-mailed the office to confirm:

I sent the e-mail on 12th September, and the fitter arrived on 14th September to fit the lock. He arrived at about half-eight. He did spent quite a lot of time doing a very good job, but told me straight away that the new lock would be going in a different part of the door, and not replacing the existing lock! He also said that fitting new barrels to locks didn't stop the locks being to BS3621, and that locks that can be operated by hand can still be covered by BS3621.

Once he'd finished, he told me that the bloke in the shop had told him that the price would be (I think) 350. No chance. We'd agreed a fixed price of 120+VAT, and that was what I was going to pay. The locksmith called the bloke in the shop, and asked me to speak to him. The bloke in the shop said that there was a lot of labour involved, that the new lock was more expensive that he first thought, and that there was a charge for evening working. Fortunately, I had everything in writing to prove that he was lying through his teeth. I felt a bit sorry for the fitter who'd worked very hard, and done an excellent job, but I was quoted a fixed price, so that's what I paid.

I doubt I'll be using LockAid or Universal Locks again, but have no idea who I will use in the future!


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Created on: 10 Nov 2006. Modified on: 18 Nov 2006.
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