Fast, cheap and good never go together. After you read my diatribe, read about an app that has real private investigators shaking our heads. The concept is that people will pay $150 for two hours of spot surveillance on their possibly cheating partner, spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend or maybe on someone they don’t even know.
Problems? Almost too many to list.
- Cost, too little for a competent PI to take the case. Trustify, original name FlimFlam, will split the fee with the private investigator, who will be working for $37.50/hour. In a major city no credible PI will work for this low amount. What about costs for parking, getting a meal or drink so you can get close to your subjects, a sudden Taxi or bus or subway trip?
- Stalking behavior. Will Trustify look for restraining orders, criminal convictions, sex offender status on these clients? This app is fraught with legal headaches and liability nightmares.
- Results. What happens when low-budget PI takes video of the wrong person or can’t find the right subject in the hotel lobby, night club, lounge, etc?
- Speaking of results, how will Trustify screen the qualifications of the PI’s it uses? What are the qualifications? You may think anyone can just pick up a camera and get good results but a good surveillance person has years of experience and excellent instincts. The best surveillance operatives I know have that sixth sense about anticipating where to be and what will happen next.
- What happens to the evidence? Will Trustify keep photos and video? What if court testimony is needed or depositions?
- Surveillance is a highly fluid and variable enterprise.
Any surveillance client should use the services of a professional private investigator with years of experience and a track record of success. When we work with qualified, licensed sub-contractors we try to pay them a good hourly figure, much more than $30.00 per hour, because they are worth it.
I cannot think of a more aptly named app. I notice the app now goes by the name “Trustify”. The supposed impetus for the app’s founder was hiring an unreliable private investigator who charged $1500 but did not deliver results.
But with the Trustify app, isn’t the consumer just back to square one? To use Trustify you are not getting to meet the investigator and to kick the tires so to speak. I should just keep my mouth shut because ultimately this app in its current state will fail and drive consumers back to reliable private investigators such as myself.
My advice: put the time in yourself to check your investigator’s qualifications. Don’t rely on a fastbuck app. The local professional private investigator will never be replaced by a $30/hour PI who may or may not be vetted.