Next year Google is probably going to introduce advanced verification for certain trades in the UK to be able to show their business on Google. At present this is happening in the US for certain trades such as Locksmiths in particular.
Google sent an email out that said that they plan to introduce a more stringent business verification process which they are presently trialing in some US cities. It means that all the specific trades they are targeting will need to go through the new process. Failing to do will mean that they get removed from Google maps which as you can imagine is like death for any small business.
The process is apparently fairly simple and consists of a few questions from Google and an application with a verification service that is a Google recognised third party. The process takes about 14 days or so. Any new businesses will also have to go through the same process.
Adwords is not immune either and that will also have to go through a verification process. You can read more about the process here on Google My Business.
So why target Locksmiths for these checks?
The trouble with the locksmith industry is that its well known that a lot of locksmiths are not really genuine and carry out a lot of underhand scams and schemes which leave customers in the lurch often hundreds of pounds out of pocket, Google is very wise to these scams and is starting to take things like this much more seriously, after all it wants businesses on Google that are served to customers in their best interests.
As we all know it only takes a few rogue traders to ruin the business for everyone and we have seen this in the past with Double Glazing and the reputation it had in the past for bad selling practices.
Google knows that some locksmiths are in reality criminals and knows the scams they carry out – here is how they do it:
- When a customer is locked out they do a Google search to find their local locksmiths.
- Google shows a mix of Adwords ads showing locksmiths that offer a cheap service.
- When you call one of these locksmiths they are not local but based in an offshore call centre or a locksmith that is in a big city somewhere, hundreds of miles away.
- The call centre sends a “local” locksmith to your house or office.
- The Locksmith before even talking to the customer, which could be you, then proceeds to drill the lock out without permission or exhausting all other professional locksmith options.
- You get a very hefty bill for the “locksmith” work.
- The so advertised cheap service turns into hundreds of pounds.
- You are back in your premises but now realise you have been scammed.
This is called Locksmith fraud and is well documented in various places but the trouble is that most customers wouldn’t ever read up about these things when they are stuck in the rain needing to get in. So you can see why Google is laying the law down, they want businesses on Google that can be trusted by customers searching for services, not businesses that rip customers off and definitely not businesses that are not even in your country or region.
The new verification process should help eliminate some of these scams and shady locksmiths, hopefully giving a better and more genuine service for customers.