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How to choose the right private detective?

Procap Detective Toulon
PROCAP DETECTIVE TOULON - How to choose a private detective?

Do you want to use the services of a private detective? You have defined your needs, but do not know what to check before hiring a professional and what are the skills criteria to remember? Nowadays, the Internet is full of offers of investigation services listed under the name "private detective", and it is sometimes disconcerting for a person wishing to use this type of service to gauge in advance the reliability of a professional. Here we give you some recommendations and criteria which should guide you in your choice and the pitfalls to avoid.

Criterion n°1: Approval and authorization to practice

First of all, when you call on a professional acting as a “private detective”, first make sure that he or she proves that he or she has the required titles and authorizations. This precaution is a prerequisite. Indeed, the activity of “private detective” is a regulated profession; to be able to practice as such, a “private detective” (or “private research agent”) must individually hold a “Personal Approval” as well as a “Professional Card” , but also a “Authorization to practice” for his agency. Practicing without these authorizations is illegal and subject to criminal sanctions. If in doubt, you can check the validity of approvals and authorizations with the “National Council for Private Security Activities” (CNAPS), either directly or by using the digital portal available on the CNAPS website. As a reminder, the CNAPS is an administrative establishment placed under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior, responsible on behalf of the State for the control of private security activities and the issuance of titles and authorizations. The fact that a professional justifies holding regulatory approval and authorizations already constitutes a guarantee of seriousness and reliability, and assumes that your investigator has the required professional qualifications, and is responsible for his or her compliance with legal and regulatory obligations but also ethical. You must avoid as much as possible any professional who, under whatever pretext, cannot provide you with proof of approval and authorization to practice. These must appear on all documents (mandate contract, mission report, communication support, invoices, etc.).

Criterion n°2: Physical existence and geographical proximity

Another piece of advice, when you call on a “private detective”, make sure that the professional is physically present in your geographic area and that the agency has its legal headquarters there. Indeed, and unfortunately, the internet and new communication tools are increasing dematerialization and territorial distance, and many agencies operate in geographical sectors where they have no physical presence or real ties or knowledge. Everything happens by telephone or on the internet and you never really know who is on the other end of the line and who is handling your investigation. As much as possible, you should demand to meet your interlocutor; this seems to us to be common sense. Meeting the investigator who will be in charge of your case is a guarantee of seriousness and security, because you will be able to directly gauge his professionalism, meet him physically, and consult him whenever you wish, etc. You are going to entrust your business to a professional and exchange secrets and other confidential information, make sure that the agency is headquartered in your geographical area (city, department or region), and that the professional is established there and has a real existence there. . Avoid all sites which sell "connections" between prospects and professionals, or which are, unfortunately for financial gain, positioned "digitally" in several cities, having in reality no identifiable or physically accessible local contact. Now that you have carried out the administrative checks and ensured that you are dealing with an approved professional, the question that remains is whether the professional you have chosen is competent. What are the criteria that should attract your attention when choosing the right professional? The criteria that we will list below should not be taken literally, but generally seem relevant to us in order to provide informed reflection regarding the choice of the right professional.

Criterion No. 3: Ability to listen, analyze and strategic relevance

One of the criteria which seems important to us and which should attract your attention is undoubtedly the listening and analytical skills, and the relevance of the strategic approach of your interlocutor. During the meeting that you have agreed with the professional, do not hesitate to gauge the attention and availability that he pays to your case, as well as the quality of his legal and strategic analyses. Investigation is a profession that mobilizes qualities of understanding and analysis of a situation, but also a keen sense of strategy and efficiency, and the time spent examining and studying a situation. data is actually time saving in its resolution. An investigator who has the answer to everything, even before you have fully explained the elements of your situation or your case, or worse, who has pre-established solutions, does not bode well. Before considering solutions, you must first take the time to collect your information, understand your background and your history, understand your motivations and understand your problem and the underlying issues. A good professional will not hesitate to question you about the details of your case, to collect any useful information, to take the time to listen to you, to better understand and have all the cards in hand. Make sure that the professional accurately and carefully assesses the legal context of your request. A good detective is a professional who must determine the legal eligibility of a request and assign it a legal framework. This will determine the solutions to consider and the means to implement. A detective who does not do any analysis of the legal and contextualized aspects of your case risks providing you with results that are fragile at best and unusable at worst. In this way, you should also know that by failing to collect the legal elements of your case, the professional is simply contravening an ethical obligation which requires him to assign a precise legal framework to each mission. A survey most often takes place in a given context and the responses provided are always personalized. Make sure that the professional approaches your case as if it were unique, and does not generalize by providing you with standard answers. Your story, situation and procedure are certainly unique, make sure the professional considers them as such. Finally, do not hesitate to evaluate the professional's posture, his degree of involvement, his ingenuity and his sense of strategy. The private detective often intervenes in a phase where the client has already, in advance, defined, alone or with his advice, a defense strategy. This may be in the service of a personal, judicial, economic or other interest. Make sure that the professional has fully understood the meaning and challenges of your strategy, and even more, that he or she demonstrates, in your interest, the strength to propose it to achieve it, compensate for it or improve it.

Criterion n°4: Transparency and trust

Check the degree of transparency and rigor in the presentation of the solutions that the professional envisages for the resolution of your matter or in the presentation of the contractual and financial elements of the mandate. A conscientious professional will be happy to explain the objectives, means, strategy, tools and methods to you, and will provide you with complete assurance regarding their implementation. Also, gauge your sense of frankness and honesty in the feasibility or otherwise of an action. A good professional will not hesitate to explain to you with pragmatism and honesty the limits, risks or chances of success of your request and will never leave you in doubt or uncertainty. Transparency between client and professional is the basis of a relationship of trust as well as an undeniably contributing factor to the success of a business. A client must feel confident with the professional they hire. As a general rule, the mandate contract must precisely include all the elements relevant to the client's problem, clearly define the mission objective, the legal framework, the implementation methods, and include all the information relating to the methods financial (amount of fees, nature and amount of costs, etc.). Keep in mind that a survey is like a "project" which includes objectives, a framework, a context, as well as a budget, and that the professional, if he is conscientious and competent, will have to develop with you with total rigor and transparency.

Criterion #5: Fame and reputation

It is usual and completely natural to find out about the reputation of a lawyer or doctor before consulting him. We question our loved ones, our friends or circles of acquaintance and collect their opinions, advice or feedback. Well, we can only advise you to adopt the same reflex when you want to hire a detective: find out about their reputation and fame, as well as their seniority. It could be that among your private or professional acquaintances, people have already used this agency or that they, in turn, know people who have used it. If your approach meets the needs of legal proceedings, you can ask your lawyer to find out for you. It is also possible that your lawyer already works with an investigation firm or has already heard of the agency in question. There is, however, a pitfall to avoid: it is preferable to favor direct recommendations and information from your circles and acquaintances (friends, advisors, lawyers, bailiffs, notaries, professionals) and avoid being satisfied with opinions and notes from the internet . Indeed, even if most are made by real customers, we are not immune to deception with false testimonials via the purchase of “fake reviews” or purely fictitious ratings. Keep in mind that you should always favor human recommendations from your personal networks over reviews and ratings from the internet.

Criterion No. 6: Clarity and fairness of fees

Finally, even if the cost of fees is an important element, make sure that the investigator first focuses his attention on your problem and how he will resolve it, before broaching the subject of price. This generally depends on the context of your case and the solutions envisaged. A professional who gives you a price before even taking the time to analyze your request is simply not serious. As a general rule, the price of an investigation will depend on several factors: its duration, its geographical location, the type of problem, the difficulty and extent of the case, the issues, the human and material resources necessary, the financial capabilities of the client (individual, company, association, etc.), the valuation of the professional's service linked to his experience or reputation, the related costs generated by the mission (mileage, catering, hotels, travel, etc.). An investigation involving several protagonists will not have the same cost as an investigation involving one or two people. The same applies to an investigation whose place of operation is locally or abroad. A professional must be able to plan and anticipate all budget items and the general cost of the mission. Some firms offer complete packages, while others prefer billing by the hour worked. Whatever the pricing method chosen, a detective must always provide you before any investigation with a fair and detailed estimate of the cost of his service. Do not hesitate to ask for and compare several proposals or quotes. Finally, we recommend that you be careful of prices that are too low and services that are too low. These are usually posted by inexperienced or unprofessional investigators. These attractive prices generally hide supplements that could increase the bill, and betray substantial, potentially damaging incompetence. An investigator is a professional who will always analyze your request and offer you a fair price which takes into account the concrete specificities of your case and the valuation as well as the talent that he will bring to its resolution.


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