Yesterday, I received a call from a potential client. We will call him "John". When we spoke, "John" refused to provide his last name. He spoke in generalities and getting any information out of him was like pulling teeth. I was trying to determine exactly what his needs were to see if I could assist him or not, but he made the process quite a bit more difficult than it had to be. The conversation went like this:
John: "I might need the services of an investigator. What areas of the State do you cover?"
RRI: "We cover the entire State of Florida. I'm happy to see if I can help out. Can I get your name, please?"
John: "I don't like to give my last name out. A friend of mine was involved in a custody matter and might need to find the other party."
RRI: "Why does your friend need to find the other party?"
John: "The other person vanished but we think they are in Tampa."
RRI: "Who is the other party?"
John: "The other half of the custody battle."
RRI: "Is the other party the one with the child or children?"
RRI: "Is it the mother or the father?"
John: "Why do you need to know that?"
RRI: "Sir, if I am going to be able to help you, I need to know the details of the situation. These cloak and dagger games are fun, I suppose, but I need more information to make a decision if this is a case we can assist you on. Why does your friend need to locate this other person?"
John: "I'll let my friend know what you said and he can call you back Tuesday if he is interested." (John then abruptly hung up the phone.)
This isn't the first time I have received a call like that. I can only imagine that this client had been watching too many old Hollywood P.I. movies. Full disclosure is very important when retaining a private investigator. You wouldn't meet with an attorney and only give little bits of information to them when asking them to assist you. It is no different when hiring a P.I. For us to be able to make a determination whether we can actually assist a client, we need to know the details of the situation. Clients who play "spy games" on the phone really are doing themselves a disservice.
We understand that sometimes these situations can be sensitive, and maybe even embarrassing, but in order to assess the case and provide potential solutions and options, we need all the facts and details.
What is somewhat humorous is the refusal to provide a full name or last name. As a professional investigator, I have clients call all the time for consultations. Once I speak with a client, I make notes of the basics of their situation, their name and phone number and any other relevant information. This is done so that if someone else calls and they happen to be "on the other side", I will know that there is a conflict and decline to take the case. We never tell the opposing party that there is a conflict, we just decline for a non-specific reason and move on.
By not providing all of the facts and details surrounding their case, I am unable to provide all of the possible options for that client. Imagine going to the dentist and telling him vague information. Perhaps you let on to the dentist that you have a pain in your mouth. He asks what type of pain. You answer that it is near a tooth, but decline to point out which one. The dentist will quickly send you packing and will probably be a bit upset that you wasted his time. It is no different with a private investigator.
Florida law requires private investigators to maintain 100% confidentiality with regard to any and all case related information. Here is the exact wording for the Florida Statute Chapter 493:
"Except as otherwise provided by this chapter or other law,
no licensee or any employee of a licensee or licensed agency
shall divulge or release to anyone other than his or her client
or employer the contents of an investigative file acquired in the
course of licensed investigative activity."
Violation of this confidentiality law can result in the arrest of the investigator. Confidentiality is the bedrock of a Private Investigator’s business. Our clients enjoy the same type of confidentiality as they do with their attorney or a member of the clergy.
With that in mind, if you ever need the services of a professional investigator, be open and honest with the investigator from the start. There may be some detail that, if shared with the investigator, can assist you greatly or significantly affect the outcome of your case. Leave the cloak and dagger drama for the movies!
Feel free to call us for a no-cost consultation.
Rick Raymond Investigations - (386) 310-4812
Florida Private Investigators