I had an opportunity to attend a training for investigators recently and during one of the breaks there was an excited conversation taking place within a group of investigators who were new to the business. They had what sounded like a varied past set of experiences, some being from the military, some from law enforcement and at least one from corporate security. They were having a good time pointing out the “problems” associated with domestic cases like infidelity investigations. In particular, they felt the clients, who mind you are going through a very difficult time dealing with the prospect of their spouse cheating on them and who have no idea how investigations are handled, are not smart enough to represent. The labeled these clients as “morons” and began some excellent story telling about cases where the client was charged a large amount of money but, the investigation failed to yield any results.
This same group then began describing how they often charge such clients hundreds of dollars for “data” about the other man/woman, that is nothing more than database runs that cost $5 and $10, again laughing about the loser clients who buy that info.
At this point I joined the conversation and asked about their practices, areas of specialization, training, office location and staff size. This lead the another round of jokes about how a PI should always take every case that comes their way and simply farm out the work to someone else for a kick back rather than simply telling the client that they do not do that type of work.
This lack of professionalism is a major cause of concern the “real” private investigators, with real offices, real staff, real reports, real training, real ethics policies and a real commitment to their clients.
IMO, if your PI is working from their home office in the basement, run! You deserve better.