If, like us, you enjoyed the BBC legal drama The Split, you may remember the slightly shady PI, Max Lacey, who provided Hannah with the evidence she needed to confront errant husband Nathan.
Good old Max came up trumps in record time. Not only did he manage to get Hannah THAT photo within a few hours, but he also dug around and got a lot of very detailed information, and bank transactions, for Goldie’s husband’s dodgy company in less than a week.
Whilst we appreciate this is fiction, this popular prime time depiction of private investigators does cause us a few problems.
For a start, Max fits the stereoptypical image of the TV PI – the somewhat shabby attire, the estuary English, the implication that he frequents the underworld and knows people who can sort things.
Then there is the ridiculous speed with which he got Hannah the evidence she needed – especially the off-shore information.
The problem is, people believe this is actually what we are like. Not only does it give an incorrect image, it also gives prospective clients an unrealistic expectation of what a PI can do.
But believe it or not,we are also hampered by those in our own industry.
We often have clients who come to us armed with “research” that has already been carried out by another investigator. Invariably, this research has not provided the client with a solution to their problem, but often a client will present this information to us as fact.
The first thing we say to clients in this case, is that we will go through everything that another investigator has provided. Clients often don’t understand this, and feel that we could be wasting their time – and money – by doing this.
The reality is that there are hundreds of private investigators out there who will take your money, type a few keywords into Google, copy and paste this into a “report” and that’s it. They do not check the veracity of the so-called infomration they provide.
We’ve been given research from other investigators which has proven to be just plain wrong. One of the most common mistakes they make is when a Subject has a fairly common name. If they get a hit on Google, they just assume it is the person they are looking for. It doesn’t take too long to do a date of birth check to authenticate the person, but why bother? Just take the money and run.
We’ve had cases where we have been told that information has been verifed, only to find that could not be further from the truth. We’ve had entire family trees that have been drawn up – for the wrong Subject; we’ve had offical extracts from Companies House given to us – for the wrong Subject; we’ve even had court documents provided from other countries – for the wrong Subject.
Private Investigation is a complex and inexact science. At Anderson Chance, we are professionals. We employ a highly specialised team of investigative researchers who take the time and trouble to ensure that any information given to the client is correct. We only deal in facts. We do not make lazy assumptions. If we cannot do something, we will tell you. A comprehensive investigation takes time, not hours or even days.
So if you are in need of a PI, make sure you shop around. Don’t go with the one who promises you the earth in record time. Don’t go for the cheapest – in this business you really do get what you pay for. But above all, don’t be fooled into thinking that by engaging a PI you will definitely get what you are looking for. We can only give you what is there…