Anne Arundel Co. locksmith accused of overcharging customers

The Consumer Protection division of the Maryland Attorney General's office issued a cease-and-desist order Wednesday to an Anne Arundel County locksmith after consumers complained of exorbitant fees to replace and change locks, refusing to give estimates and charging credit cards without prior authorization.

The business, ATCL-MD, Inc., Around the Clock Locksmith and its owner Joseph M. Horton are accused of charging as much as $1,400 just to respond to a request for services, and more than $4,300 to replace locks, according to a statement.

Horton is also accused of using a competitor's name to steal their clients and falsely asserting that they are a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau, according to the attorney general's office.

About 53 consumers reported the complaints to the attorney general's office, said spokeswoman Raquel Guillory. The order requires the locksmith to offer consumers realistic estimates for its services.

A hearing has been scheduled on June 28. The division will determine after that date how much restitution and penalties the locksmith and its owner would pay. When reached for comment, Horton referred calls to his lawyer.

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