Partner Philip Becnel was interviewed for an article in The Washington Post regarding a D.C. start-up that purports to be the Uber of the private investigations industry.
Here is an excerpt of the article:
Phil Becnel, a D.C.-based private investigator, predicted that Trustify will struggle, and he said there has been some backlash against the Web site within the profession.
‘They don’t understand the industry, and for that reason, it’s not going to work,’ said Becnel, 41, an experienced licensed investigator who charges $150 an hour. ‘Conducting investigations isn’t like driving a taxi. They are trying to democratize it, and their pitch that it is a cheaper alternative than hiring an experienced private investigator is not based on reality. It’s an industry that doesn’t lend itself to dealing with the public through an interface like an app.’
Becnel said he turns down many jobs, for a variety of reasons, which can include the potential client’s state of mind. He said, for example, he won’t accept an assignment to find an old high school boyfriend or girlfriend.
‘We don’t know the terms under which those people split up,’ he said. ‘For all we know, he or she was stalking their partner. That raises some ethical questions for us.’
Becnel said there is no clear-cut way to determine which cases to take and which ones to pass on. He said he gets at least three or four calls a week from people who may be unbalanced and ‘who want to hire us to do investigations when all we would be investigating is somebody’s delusional fantasies.’
‘If we did that,’ Becnel said, ‘we would be taking money from people who are mentally ill and investigating others for no good reason.’
Trustify later came under heavy criticism for the way in which is attempted to profit from victims of the Ashley Madison hack.