Many prospective clients hiring an Investigator for the first time do not understand how fees are paid, retained, earned, returned, and refunded. Oftentimes, this confusion leads to unnecessary animosity between the Investigative Firm and client. This animosity can be avoided if the distinctions are clearly explained at the onset, and the process remains transparent throughout the course of the investigation. Beacon Investigative Solutions is committed to a high level of investigative support and service. This includes clearly communicating the costs anticipated with the investigation and the process we use to facilitate payment of fees. Below, please find our explanation for the process and the distinction between the return of unearned investigative fees and refunds.
Hiring Beacon Investigative Solutions: Retainer Fee
Most of our Clients retain our services after we have provided a Retainer Letter and Scope of Investigation email. This means that monies are paid to Beacon Investigative Solutions, in advance of service. The amount paid in advance is dependent upon the Scope of Investigation and the anticipated time and expenses related to that Scope.
The fees paid in advance are not earned in advance. Rather, they are retained by Beacon Investigative Solutions.
Under this arrangement, Beacon Investigative Solutions, earns fees and expenses while conducting the investigation for the Client. These fees accrue at different rates depending on who and what is being completed within the investigation. Each time that money is deducted from the retainer, we will send an invoice that describes the fees and costs for the Client to review and correct, if necessary.
Final Invoices and Reimbursed Retainer Fees
If the Client’s investigation is completed and there are outstanding fees and costs remaining to be paid, and the retainer has been previously used, the Client will receive a final invoice from Beacon Investigative Solutions, of these final fees and costs. Alternatively, if the Client’s investigation is completed and all outstanding fees and costs are paid, and monies still remain within the retainer, those monies are considered unearned fees. In this event, we will promptly return all the remaining unearned fees to the Client.
Refunds vs Reimbursements
Refunds are separate from the normal, above process of paying, retaining, earning, and returning investigative fees. Rather, refunds are typically the result of an after-the-fact fee dispute, accounting error, or a statement from the client conveying displeasure with the quality of investigative services provided.
Beacon Investigative Solutions, processes all written requests for refunds. Our firm will review the entire contents of the client’s physical, electronic, and billing file when processing the request. Within three(3) days, our firm will send a written response either denying the request, requesting more information, or granting the request.
Ultimately, the Investigators and Staff, would like to avoid the need of ever having to consider a refund. We are always aiming to be as transparent as possible. So we encourage our Clients to ask their questions or communicate their concerns to our office immediately. We will then try to answer or address immediately. Such a process also permits our firm to continue to grow and improve its services. For example, we may change an internal process or add language to the Scope of Investigation to prevent the misunderstanding in the future.
We look forward to working with you and will always strive to earn your continued business.