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Consider the Source: Unfounded fees for “confidential” information

It is commonplace for investigative firms to utilize a diverse assortment of resources to obtain information that is not available to the general public. Such information might be derived from human sources or electronic databases, and can be the product of years of development and refinement. The amount charged for such information can vary greatly, and a significant factor is the morality of the investigator.

Information that is hard to come by can be highly valuable. However, an exorbitant billing for something that seems difficult, but was obtained easily and inexpensively, is unjust. A case in point involves a matter in which ResultQuest® was called upon to take over an investigation after another company had failed to meet a critical deadline. During the course of the work it was determined by one of our investigators that the previous company had billed an unreasonable amount for a nonpublished telephone number that was supposedly provided by a “confidential source” inside a telephone service provider. In actuality, the number was readily acquired from a voter registration card that the county registrar had failed to redact. The client succeeded in recovering a refund of the overcharge as a result of the discovery.

In another case, a bank account statement that helped establish evidence against an individual suspected of fraud had been provided by an investigations company to its client, along with a steep fee for “bank source information.” ResultQuest® investigators later discovered that the actual source was the subject’s garbage can, and pointed out that, by misrepresenting that the bank provided the statement, the greedy investigator essentially admitted to a violation of federal law. Although an honest attribution might have been less lucrative, it would have been the better course of action.

The clients of ResultQuest® have come to rely upon us as fair and honest in the way we use and bill for our sources. When you need Knowledge for Informed Decisions®, call us at 713/781-9040.