‘Are you kidding me’: Locksmith charges $400 to unlock vehicle in cold weather

An Omaha woman was charged $400 for a locksmith to unlock her door on a freezing cold day.
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 12:46 PM MST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A woman is sharing her story in an effort to prevent others from being overcharged when in need of a locksmith.

Barb Siebrandt recently locked her keys in her car during a trip to a library in Nebraska, reported by WOWT.

“I realized I left my keys and extra keys in my purse which I left in the car,” Siebrandt said.

Temperatures were near freezing that day and Siebrandt says she needed help fast. So, she searched her phone for a locksmith and got a phone number. A local crew was then dispatched to open her door and handed her the bill.

“He said it will be $400 and I said, ‘are you kidding me,’ and he said it was because it was very bitter cold out and it took them a long time to get it open,” Siebrandt said.

Siebrandt says she withdrew the money from her bank down the street while the locksmith waited outside. However, the worker did not have a marked car or an official receipt.

The Better Business Bureau examined the receipt Siebrandt was given.

“It’s unusual that the company’s marks would not be on the invoices and the name of the company wouldn’t be clearly disclosed,” said Jim Hegarty, with the BBB.

A person made contact with 6 News about the situation from the apparent company, saying the crew spent two hours working in subzero wind chills for Siebrandt and claimed the price was agreed on by all parties.

“I felt uncomfortable and felt I had gotten myself into something,” Siebrandt said.

A device was also used to open the car door, according to Siebrandt.

Tony Siders with Big Red Locksmiths says he prefers his crews to use a more delicate approach in opening car doors in such weather along with never charging $400.

“If you paid $100 on darn near every vehicle on the road, it would be too much,” Siders said.

Siebrandt has since filed a police report and says she plans to hold on to her keys.

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