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Universal Locks

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After knowing for years that my insurance policy states that I need a kite-marked BS-standard lock, I decided to do something about it. Let's face it, there's no point in paying for an insurance policy if it won't pay out if my house is broken into. I therefore took some pictures, and some rough measurements, of the existing lock, and went into a lock shop near work. I hoped that there were only a few types of standard lock size, so that the locksmith would know the type from my rough dimensions.

When I went into Universal Locks, the man behind the counter was very helpful. The brochure that he showed me listed thousands of different locks, so my rough dimensions weren't good enough. He suggested taking the lock in, but I explained that I didn't want to leave my front door without a lock in it. He therefore suggested that I take the lock out of the door (as I'd previously done), but, instead of taking rough measurements, just draw around the lock itself, and take in the bit of paper. It made sense to me, so that's what I did that evening.

The next day, I went into the shop, but the bloke that I'd dealt with previously wasn't there, so I got served by a teenager. I showed him the drawing, and told him that I needed a BS-standard approved lock. He looked at the drawing, and said, "The thing is, I need all the measurements". "Yes, I know", I replied, "That's why I took the lock out of the door, and drew around it". "But, I need to know the distance from here to here", he said. This was beginning to get difficult, so I replied, "Can't you just measure it?". He thought for a bit, and said, "No, because I don't have the lock". He thought for a bit more, and then picked up a ruler, and then measured it!

After taking all the measurements, he tried to find a suitable lock in the catalogue, but couldn't find a suitable one. There was one that was almost identical, except it had a square corner, and mine had a rounded one. He said that if I left the drawing with him, he'd call up the manufacturer, and find out how much an exact replacement would cost. He said he'd call me, and then turned to walk away. Something wasn't quite right, so I said, "OK, but don't you need my telephone number?". This really wasn't going to be an easy job! If only the bloke from the previous day had been there when I went back.

A few days later, the kid hadn't called me, so I called back. He said that he hadn't forgotten, and was still looking into it. Over the next 2 weeks, I called a few times, and was told the same thing. Eventually, after speaking to the kid 4 times (and leaving messages that weren't returned), he said, "Oh yes. I haven't called you to tell you that I've found a lock, have I?". I got excited, and said, "No, you haven't". He then replied, "Well, that's because I haven't found one". What a gimmer! He then said, "I can't find your drawing, so was wondering how we move forward with this". I was not impressed, since this was the only drawing. I said, "I'll tell you how we move forward with this, you go and find the drawing, find me a lock, and then call me back".

I was not happy with the service that I'd received, so tried another locksmith (LockAid), but that's another story. About a week later, the kid from Universal Locks called me, and left a voicemail message saying that he'd got a lock for me. By this time, I'd got a quotation from LockAid, so didn't bother calling the Universal Locks kid back. A few weeks later, I wanted some keys cut, so went into Universal Locks. The kid was serving, and he mentioned that he'd got my lock in. I told him that with the service that I'd received, I'd given up in him ever getting a lock for me.


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