London is a unique, vast, global city. Its scale and cultural nuances mean it can be challenging to find a reliable investigator in the capital. While there is plenty of choice in London, this is not always a good thing. We won’t pretend to be the only reliable private detective agency in the city, as many of our competitors do great work.
However, we do think there are some duds. Thankfully, Private Investigations UK has put together a guide to finding a good PI in London. Let’s have a look at some of our tips for avoiding rogue operators.
1. Read Online Reviews Carefully
It’s not enough for an agency to have swathes of 5-star reviews. It’s essential to be mindful of fake, paid-for reviews online. By carefully reading through them, you’ll be able to see whether or not they’re genuine.
When reading reviews, try to think whether or not a real person would write a review like that. Overly detailing selling points that appear on the investigator’s website is a big red flag. You might also want to look out for multiple reviews with very similar content.
2. Check Out Their Finance Policy
Everybody loves a bargain, but if something seems too good to be true, then it most probably is. If an investigator quotes much lower prices than everyone else in the area, you should ask yourself why. A good investigator will know their value and won’t dramatically undercut the market rate while doing a good job.
Some investigators’ fees are available on their websites, which is a choice every agency is free to make. Still, it shouldn’t tell you anything about the reliability of their service. We don’t publish our pricing because many investigations don’t fit neatly into one category or another. We are, however, always happy to discuss our fixed-fee structures with prospective clients. This is also helpful for us to provide you with cost-effective solutions suited to your budget.
3. Beware of False Prophets
The sheer number of people in London makes it easier for unreliable investigators to hide among the reputable. Couple this with the fact that there is more demand for PIs in London than anywhere else in the UK, and you have a dangerous recipe for unsafe operators.
As the proverb says, they come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Nobody can promise the earth, so you should be very cautious of anyone who does. If a PI guarantees success, you should avoid them. A reliable private investigator will be transparent from the outset about the feasibility of your investigation
4. Make Sure They Have Expertise in Private Investigator Services
While it’s relatively common for a private investigator to offer a wide range of services, you should check that they know what they’re talking about in different areas of investigation. There’s nothing inherently wrong with advertising multiple services. Still, sometimes it’s a better idea to go with a PI who advertises only a handful of services. For example, for service of process, we recommend hiring a professional specialising in process serving over hiring a private investigator with general interests.
This being said, it’s not totally necessary to hire an investigator who over-specialises. Covert surveillance, whether it’s part of a cheating partner, due diligence, or fraud investigation, will more or less involve the same set of skills. Because of this, hiring a surveillance specialist is a good idea, but hiring a ‘cheating spouse specialist’ probably won’t give you any specific advantage.
5. Check They’re Accredited
The private investigation industry is unregulated in the United Kingdom. UK private investigators don’t need any formal qualifications or even pass a background check to operate their business. An excellent way to mitigate the risk of hiring someone untrustworthy is to check if they’re registered with industry bodies like WAPI.
Beware: although industry bodies take every step they can to weed out bad PIs, the lack of government support means that some of them will inevitably slip through the cracks.
Likewise, the absence of an independent regulatory board means that sometimes these bodies seem to leave some investigators off their list arbitrarily. Because of this, accreditation doesn’t come close to guaranteeing whether someone is or isn’t reliable. Plenty of unreliable investigators are registered, and plenty of reliable ones aren’t.
If you’re looking for a reliable investigator service in London, Private Investigations UK can help you. We won’t pretend to be the only good PIs in the capital, but we’re proud of our commitment to customer care and satisfaction. For free, professional advice, please call 0800 002 0898. If you don’t want to talk on the phone right now, please fill out this contact form, and one of our agents will get back to you today.