Regardless , before hiring an investigator this type of decision should be given careful thought by consumers and totally contemplate the situation. Prior to contacting a PI, the consumer should specifically identify how much money they are able to spend and what it is they need to know, what their expectations are. Also, consumers may want to first check on the PI (or agency) using a consumer support group (like the Better Business Bureau), studying reports on the web, or analyzing other sources of business information. Please note: A business isn't always "poor" because it's complaints registered with such sources - sometimes the criticisms aren't justified. A consumer may also want to check with the AZ DPS Licensing Unit to determine if the PI (or bureau) is properly licensed. In Arizona, any ad for a PI service (or PI) must additionally include their license number. Once a PI is selected, speak to the investigator (or their representative) and discuss the case with them, to comprise what you desire to know, what your expectations are and how much you are able to afford (total). The PI should easily supply options and tell you if your aims and finances are realistic for the case. You may want to search elsewhere, if these records is provided by the PI cannot. Once you are in agreement with a PI, a written contract may be drawn up frequency of reports, that expressly states what'll be done, deadlines, fees, estimated prices, etc, in order that no important issues are left unknown. If difficulties later arise while a written contract isn't required legally, the deficiency of such an instrument can prove hazardous for both the PI and the client. Once the PI has completed the agreed upon work, the customer must pay the PI (or as otherwise agreed upon) before the PI is needed to supply a case report to the client. The case report may be written or verbal. Infringement of any statute related to PI's or PI bureaus is a class 1 misdemeanor (ARS 32-2458). The following are common problems between their customers and PI's and are provided for the benefit of both parties. This WILL NOT represent legal advice nor does it interpret administrative or law rules: 1. A PI or PI service may not perform nor advertise executive protection or body guard work unless they are also licensed as a security guard and security guard agency (except under very limited conditions). Moreover, they may not carry concealed weapons unless they have a concealed weapon permit that is legal. 2. A client may request evidence of work performed by a PI. This evidence could contain copies of records or videotape of a particular location or occasion, an audio recording, pictures, receipts, etc, to name some. For example, a customer may want to understand if your particular car is parked at a resort in a city 100 miles away. The PI travels to the hotel, finds the automobile and photos or videotapes the car (while parked at the resort) - this would constitute evidence that the PI performed the work. As another example, a client may desire a house to determine if any cars pull into the drive and then videotape occupants and the car to be watched by a PI. But what happens if the house is being watched by the PI so the PI does not record any video and no cars arrive? There is nothing wrong with this if your client is comfortable with it, yet, many PI's will use a video or digital camera to record short (5-20 second) time and date stamped videos (or photos) of the place and offer them to the client as evidence they performed the work. Consumers should be wary of PI's that refuse to exhibit signs of work performed or at least explain what they've done. Bottom line: Get this demand if it is not unimportant to you in writing. 3. It's illegal for a person to act as a PI or to assert they are working under the license of a PI unless that person has a PI license that is legal. Ask to see their license and record the amount and expiration date. 4. Generally, it's illegal under federal law (the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) for a man (or PI) to obtain account information from financial institutions (for example banks) unless the account owner gives their approval. Oftentimes, the person (or PI) performs an illegal action called "pretexting", by fraudulently obtaining private information (or is supplied such advice) from (or on) the subject of the investigation and pretending to function as the account holder. This approach is, in addition, used for identity theft. From the FTC web site: For example, a pretexter may call, claim he’s from a survey business, and ask you a number of questions. When the pretexter has the information he desires, he uses it to call your financial institution. He might assert that he’s forgotten his checkbook and needs information about his account. Use of this tactic is not unusual in suits and divorce cases. 5. While most private investigators handle their matters in a professional manner and are qualified, the Licensing Unit has received a number of grievances associated with misunderstandings about services provided and fees. Many times, consumers consider their retainer will cover ALL of the prices because of their case. This simply may not be true. First bill is usually deducted in the retainer and the client is typically notified once that runs out. Anyone should think about obtaining a written contract that limits and what the PI can actually perform. No questions should go unanswered. If you're comfortable with the PI, verbal contracts are permitted and common, if problems later occur nevertheless, you may have difficulties and there isn't any written agreement. 6. Oftentimes, PI's will bill consumers for phone calls, making copies, office consultations and particularly, "standby" time. Stand-by time usually occurs when you're directing a PI to wait for an event on your behalf to occur, including the matter of an investigation to go somewhere. A PI at their office or home on "standby" may legally charge you for this time - make sure you and the PI comprehend what is expected. 7.Although there are a couple of exceptions, ordinarily, every man performing PI services in Arizona must be licensed by the AZ DPS Licensing Unit. PI's are provided an ID card that shows who they are and when their license expires - ask to see their PI ID card and record the license number and expiration date. Also, PI agencies are supplied a wall license that must be clearly displayed at their place of business - ask to see that too. Report anyone promising to be a PI who cannot (or will not) generate such licenses or ID to the AZ DPS Licensing Unit at (602) 223-2361. 8.The State of Arizona requires no past expertise for a person to be a PI and only three years of investigative experience to establish a PI agency. As stated previously, many PI's are capable professionals, yet, some are just inexperienced or unqualified to perform certain services like lie detection, electronic debugging, surveil, and other highly technical and complex specialties. You should talk candidly with the PI (or agency representative) who will be performing such services and establish what the PI's qualifications and experience are. Normally, individuals trained in such specialties can provide signs or particular knowledge from schools, seminars, past law enforcement and/or military expertise that can illustrate what their qualifications and expertise are. Bottom line - in case you are not comfortable with the qualifications of the PI, find somebody else. 9. PI's must supply their clients with a case report (written or verbal) at the conclusion of services, after final payment continues to be made (or other alternative has been agreed upon in a contract). In some instances, you and the PI may have agreed that each section will require payment at its end and that your case will be performed in sections, then a report will be received by the client. Other agreements may be created too. Regardless, know just what the terms are before you enter into a verbal understanding or sign a contract. A basic verbal report is, in addition, suitable if agreed upon by the customer and the PI. 10.Individuals hiring a PI must be aware that cases will not always turn out the way they trust or expect. Surveillance work, inheritance debugging research and divorce divorce advantage searches are classic examples of potentially high-priced PI work that'll prove fruitless for the client, however, PI's may still lawfully bill you and you are obligated to pay them. To obtain desirable or favorable results for a client doesn't legitimately justify disciplining a PI. For example, the Licensing Unit cannot discipline a PI for his/her inability to locate the person he/she was hired to find. Bear in mind that some information about you may be a matter of public record, such as whether you own a house, pay your real-estate taxes, or have filed for bankruptcy. It isn't pretexting for another person to accumulate this sort of information.