The Truth About Buying Keys Online
During my time as a co-owner of a mobile locksmith business, I have become familiar with the different websites the average consumer can obtain keys from. Ideally, customers would rely on their local automotive locksmith for their car keys and remotes. However, we know that price is the driving force as to why they seek these other outlets. We have a post titled: “Why is my key so expensive?” where we outline how some locksmiths set their prices. In this post, we want to go into more detail on the impact of purchasing from places such as Amazon, eBay, AutoZone and the like. So here are 3 top reasons why you shouldn’t purchase from these market giants:
1. Products offered may not be the right fit
When we ask for information to give a quote, we ask for details such as the year, make and model of the vehicle. We can then ask further details such as if the vehicle is a push-to-start model or perhaps needs a comfort access key etc. Sometimes customers purchase keys online without knowing these specifics thinking that a key is a key. Certain vehicles can have up to 4 options and it can be tricky to understand why one key is different than the others. Locksmiths may offer laser cutting or programming services only to realize the key is incorrect. Customers may end up having to pay for the mobile fee regardless if they end up with a working key. Hopefully, an experienced locksmith will have the right product in stock, but the pricing will probably not be what was initially expected.
2. Online sellers aren’t locksmiths
In the previous paragraph, we discussed that certain vehicles may have more than one option. Perhaps you know this aspect and decide to ask the seller for more information to ensure you are making the right purchase. Well, unfortunately, the vendor might not be able to answer your questions or give accurate information because this is not their area of expertise. Furthermore, online sellers don’t test their products. They only have details provided by their supplier. It is also unlikely you will receive a factory original key versus an aftermarket duplicate. Cheap electronic components and materials are more likely to fail potentially leaving you stranded in a parking lot with a broken key stuck in the ignition. Online sellers’ priority is making the sale. They know it’s unlikely for dissatisfied consumers to spend the time and money to return faulty products or even take the time to write a negative review.
3. Your money has power and why you should care
As mentioned earlier, we know that price can be the main factor when we consider our purchases. Companies like Amazon know this very well and have used the same practice of underselling merchandise to dominate most markets. It is also notorious for replicating items from established businesses and selling it in their brand. Car manufacturers, as well as automotive locksmiths, source keys and remotes from [electronics manufacturers] that have very high-quality standards such as Strattec, Continental, Bosch, Denso, etc. These companies provide reliable products that meet expectations and maintain their reputation. A win-win-lose-lose scenario has been created due to unethical practices of producing cheap reproductions. Chinese knock-off factories and online resellers profit while local/national business lose. Hopefully, I haven’t lost you there, but this is important. You have the power over your hard-earned money and where it ends up.