NOTICE TO NEW CLIENTS
Most individuals and companies who hire private investigators for the first time are unaware of important laws which apply to investigators in California. In addition to California’s many strict rules, Fact Quest also has important policies about which our clients should be familiar.
Private investigators are required by law to explain to clients how the client will be charged for services and expenses. Fact Quest has provided or will provide to you a written services agreement which explains the way we calculate and charge for our services and what expenses will be invoiced for reimbursement. Like many professions, private investigators are paid for their time and expertise. And like other professions, private investigators cannot and do not guarantee a particular outcome, but are still entitled to be paid. Fact Quest is no exception. It is important that you carefully review any bills or statements about fees and promptly bring any questions to our attention.
Investigators are required to make periodic reports to clients, either orally or in writing or both. It is important to remember that California law expressly permits investigators to withhold any reports to clients if the client has not paid the investigator in full for services rendered up to that point.
California law requires that private investigators treat information learned during the course of an investigation as confidential. In limited situations, however, investigators are permitted to disclose information about crimes to law enforcement. In addition, investigators can be forced to disclose confidential information if ordered to so by a court. Clients who disclose confidential information received from an investigator to a third person may be waiving their right to claim client/investigator confidentiality in future trials or disputes. Clients should therefore exercise great caution when making such disclosures.
ACCURACY OF INFORMATION
Private investigators routinely collect information from many sources such as witnesses, commercial and government data bases, surveillances, public records and other investigators. Information from those sources – even official government databases – is sometimes inaccurate. Witnesses sometimes make mistakes and even lie. Databases sometimes contain outright inaccuracies or information about people with similar names. While we endeavor to verify information, it is not always possible. As a result, Fact Quest often cannot give opinions on the truthfulness of witnesses or the accuracy of documents. Clients should therefore exercise great caution when disclosing such information to third parties. In addition, Fact Quest is not a law firm and consequently does not offer legal opinions.
California and federal laws limit what private investigators can legally do when conducting investigations. Fact Quest will never intentionally violate the law. That means we will not engage in illegal wiretapping, invasions of privacy, trespassing and the like, nor will we assist our clients in doing so.
This notice was prepared by David Queen, Esq.