Middle Tennessee's Premier Locksmith Service – Donnie Sherfield – Owner – TN-LF50 – 615-305-3749

Throwback – 2008

Donnie - DNJ - 2008

Donnie shows us what a Locksmith License looks like        DNJ 2008

License key to Locksmithing
BY CHASITY GUNN • CGUNN@DNJ.COM • JULY 1, 2008
Accidentally lock your keys in the car?
Before you hire a locksmith, make sure the individual has a state license.
Starting today, all locksmiths in Tennessee must be licensed. Violators may be fined between $1,000 to $5,000. Offenders are ineligible to apply for a license until six months after their violation.

“I do like the new regulation because ultimately we want to protect the consumer,” said Thomas Sherwood, owner of Sherwood Locksmithing in La Vergne. “We want them to be assured [that] they are getting a quality professional at the highest ethical standard.”

Tennessee has about 2,000 locksmiths, said Cody Vest, executive director of the Tennessee Licensing Program. But Vest estimates only 200 have received their licenses.

Only four locksmiths in the county are in the process of being licensed, including Sherwood, according to the state’s Web site.

Consumer complaints can be filed with the state Department of Commerce and Insurance.

The Tennessee Organization of Locksmiths states on its Web site that the state Department of Commerce and Insurance “has pointed out that the law will likely not be enforced for some time, mostly due to the very short period of time offered between the time applications and testing packets were available and the date the law goes into effect.”

Applications were issued after May 14.

It costs $125 or $185 to be licensed depending on if the fingerprints are processed electronically. Vest said the licensing process can take 30 days to three months depending on the licensee.

“The industry has a tendency to take care of itself,” Vest said.

Last year, state lawmakers made changes to the Locksmith Licensing Act of 2006 requiring all Tennessee locksmiths to be licensed effective today. Educational and experience requirements and fingerprinting are among the license requirements. Depending on a locksmith’s amount of experience, a locksmith exam may be required for licensing.

“It allows people to feel safer when they call [a locksmith],” said Tisha Sherfield, co-owner of AAA Lock-N-Safe in Murfreesboro.

Sherfield’s husband, Donnie Sherfield, is the only licensed locksmith in Rutherford County, according to the state’s Web site.

John Muir, president of the Middle Tennessee Locksmith Association, said the new requirements clean up the industry.

“It gets rid of scam artists,” Muir said. “It gets rid of felons and criminals.”

Locksmiths in Rutherford Country were concerned about their reputation after William Seigler, former owner of A-1 Lock & Safe in Murfreesboro, was charged with five felony counts of child rape.

Under state law, convicted felons or individuals convicted of offenses involving fraud or theft can’t be licensed.

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau have issued national consumer alerts of locksmiths that rip off customers.

According to their releases, some locksmith companies pose as local businesses and have a local phone number and address, but calls are routed to a call center in another state.

A locksmith arrives in an unmarked vehicle and charges the customers significantly more than the customer was quoted on the phone. Many of these locksmiths require payment in cash.

The number of complaints filed to 114 Better Business Bureaus increased nearly 75 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to the release.

Also starting July 1, state agencies, counties and municipalities are prohibited from offering locksmithing services to the general public according to the Tennessee law.

— Chasity Gunn

 

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