When people ask me to rekey their locks I like to ask them to walk through the house and show the locks to me. I try the locks out to see if there are any blatant issues with them because sometimes you change the key for a lock and the customer gets upset that some problem wasn’t fixed in the course of changing the key. In most cases locks won’t magically get better after changing the key, unless the key or the pins were the problem.
Typical lock problems include strike misalignments or even locks that aren’t installed correctly or worn out parts like old schlage b160 bolts not retracting. If it is easy to fix the installation by repositioning the lock after rekeying it I will do so but if it isn’t I expect to be paid to fix other problems.
An interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed more and more recently is people expecting their locks to defy the laws of physics after I work on them. Recently one gentleman was disappointed that he had to push the door closed to latch it. He would touch it with his finger as lightly as possible and look at me as though I had broken his lock in the course of rekeying it when it didn’t latch. I had to explain to him that there is a spring in the latch and to get the door to shut one has to exert enough force to overcome that of the spring in the springlatch to shut the door.
The interesting thing about this is that the lock was the exact same one an hour before, the guy was just paying more attention to the lock after I had worked on it and expected some kind of behaviour from the lock that wasn’t possible.
Another job I did last week involved warranty parts replacement for a Baldwin deadbolt, the thumbturn’s crush washer needed replacement. A few days later the customer called and complained of “crunchy” feeling in the deadbolt. I never took the deadbolt off the door, the cylinder wasn’t ever repositioned, I just installed a thumbturn. The customer had just been paying more attention to the lock after I worked on it. I watched her fiddle with her key for ten minutes trying to reproduce the crunchy behaviour before informing her that I had other appointments that day. She angrily slammed the door. Not sure what she wanted from me.
While relating this story to my locksmith friends one of them had an even better story, he rekeyed this lady’s house and after he was done, she seemed unable to even use her own locks. She was physically unable to lock her deadbolt with her hand. He demonstrated using two fingers how to lock her deadbolt and watched, flabbergasted, as the customer either feigned ignorance or magically forgot how to use the lock. In a fit of frustration, he left without payment. I told him that I suspect that had been the idea all along. He has 20 years of experience and I know that he left the lock in equal or better shape that he found it in.
Some customers just suck. It’s too bad that there aren’t Yelp reviews for businesses to leave for customers. When I encounter behaviour such as described, I let my locksmith friends know. We put these addresses and phone numbers into our phones to avoid these stressful situations. /rant