General Gansler Issues Cease and Desist Against Maryland Locksmith
Around the Clock Locksmith Allegedly Overcharged Consumers
MD ( April 7, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F.
Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division
has issued a Cease and Desist Order against a Maryland locksmith,
ATCL-MD, Inc., T/A Around the Clock Locksmith and its owner
Joseph M. Horton. The Consumer Protection Division has charged
Around the Clock Locksmith and Horton with billing consumers
exorbitant fees, such as more than $4,300 to replace a lock
and deadbolt, and fees as high as $1,400 simply to respond
to a consumer’s request for locksmith services. According
to the Division’s Statement of Charges, Around the Clock
Locksmith refuses to give consumers an estimate of its fees
or provides extremely low estimates. When consumers balked
at paying the undisclosed fees, the company allegedly charged
the consumers’ credit card without prior authorization.
In addition to overcharging
consumers, Around The Clock Locksmith and the company’s owner, Joseph Horton, are accused of falsely
using a competitor’s name to steal the competitor’s
customers and misrepresenting that the company is a member in good
standing with the Better Business Bureau. The Consumer Protection
Division ordered the company and Horton to immediately cease and
desist from engaging in these and other unfair or deceptive trade
“You can’t provide a low estimate to get your foot
in the door and then charge multiples of that estimate to perform
the service,” said Attorney General Gansler. “The Order
requires the company to provide realistic estimates and to stick
Consumers should always ask for price estimates before requesting
any service and be wary of companies that will not provide estimates.
Consumers may contact the Consumer Protection Division to find
out if there have been complaints filed against a business by other
consumers. For more information, consumers may call the Consumer
Protection hotline at (410) 528-8662 or 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free.