The Internet has become a primary place of research, particularly when on the hunt for business services—from locksmiths to electricians. But a recent lawsuit puts the breaks on moving forward too quickly with the first business that pops up in your results.
Can you trust online advertising to promote reliable service?
A Virginia locksmith recently filed suit against Google, Yellowbook and Ziploca, alleging they allow non-licensed locksmiths to appear in search results, which in turn negatively impacts his business by increasing advertising rates altogether.
The federal RICO lawsuit claims $8.4 million in lost earnings and profits from false advertising and racketeering. Many times these non-licensed businesses appear higher than legitimate locksmiths in search results.
The plaintiff, a family-owned locksmith business, operates in Virginia and Maryland, two states that require a license to do business (and FYI—California does, too!). With nearly 700 licensed locksmiths in these states combined, Google, Yellowbook and Ziploca still allow non-licensed businesses to post ads. They’re aware of the activity and continue to do it anyways.
How it affects locksmiths
The advertising of non-licensed businesses increases the cost of advertising for licensed locksmiths.
To remain competitive, they must dedicate more dollars to their advertising budget. If not they risk losing revenue and business.
How it affects you
The public suffers, too. For a number of reasons it is important to hire a licensed locksmith.
Here’s a snapshot of the dangers posed by unlicensed locksmiths.
- No professional training
- May not actually be located in your city
- Often charge higher prices than originally quoted
- Damage to your car and unnecessary repairs
As any trusting member of the general public you may assume a company that partners with Google for advertising space is reputable. This lawsuit makes us think twice.
Be cautious next time you call a locksmith, or even better, do some research now. Find a trusted locksmith with positive reviews and a confirmed identity as licensed.
Concerned that you may have been fooled? Contact us today. We’re happy to talk to you more about locksmith services and ensure you’re in good hands next time you get locked out of the car.