I-Team: Action News investigation on locksmiths leads to new law protecting consumers

TAMPA - Back in June, our undercover cameras caught locksmith workers preying on desperate customers, quoting them one price over the phone, only to charge them much more in person.

The story captured the attention of the Hillsborough County Commission and on Wednesday they passed a new law aimed at protecting consumers.

The state didn't regulate lock smiths. But beginning November 1, anyone looking to work as a locksmith in Hillsborough County must obtain a license and undergo a back ground check.

In an ongoing undercover investigation, the I-team caught locksmiths tripling quoted prices on both sides of the Bay.

In Carmela Salerno's case, the Sun City Center resident says the dispatcher told her it would cost $60, but the locksmith who showed up charged $150.

In St. Pete our cameras rolled as another locksmith hit Casey Kubly up for what she says was four times the quoted price on the phone.

The I-team also uncovered phony businesses addresses and local numbers we tracked to out of state dispatch centers.

Our story caught the attention of Hillsborough Commission Chairmain Ken Hagan who

proposed a resolution for regulation.

By a unanimous vote Wednesday, commissioners enacted an ordinance that mandates certification, back ground checks and sanctions for those who violate the rules.

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