At PattayaPI, we are happy to work with any client that reaches out to us. This includes private individuals, law firms, and other detective agencies. Frequently we are instructed by foreign companies working on behalf of their clients in other countries. We have no problem working with these companies but feel asthough we owe it to prospective clients to explain the process by which international PIs work.
An "international private investigator" is someone based centrally, typically in the USA or Europe. They will accept a range of cases and work in any country in the world, whilst communicating with the client in their home country. There is no problem with this business model and it tends to work well most of the time. What typically happens when an international PI is instructed by their client is that they will go on to contact several different detective agencies based in the relevant country... For example, if you need a task performing in Thailand, these companies will contact every agency within Thailand asking for a quote. Sometimes they will even have rival companies bid against each other for work with the aim of finding the lowest possible price. Once they have secured the lowest possible price from a detective agency in their chosen country, they will go on to add their own commission (which in some cases can more than double the cost) and then act as a middle man between the client and investigator.
Often lawyers based overseas will not wish to contract with foreign entities, and so "international private investigators" tend to fill this void, acting as middle men based in the lawyer's country. While this does work in practice, it results in the client paying vastly more for the service, as lawyers and international PIs both charge their own fees. It also means that we don't have a direct line of communication with the client; there is a possibility of miscommunication as messages are relayed between an 'international PI', and then a lawyer before reaching the end client. We always prefer to have direct communication with our clients wherever possible. We feel that knowledge is power, and if you are considering working with an international PI, we hope that this post will help you with your decision.
There is no licensing system for private investigators in Thailand. We are aware that certain “PIs” are claiming to be licensed; these claims are misleading and frankly untrue. While a company is able to be the member of an association or group, for example the Investigations WorldWide Association; this in itself does not amount to any type of license being issued, nor does it grant any special privileges to that company. It would be a matter of semantics to argue that the membership of an association amounts to being licensed… We believe this is very straightforward and that to claim you are licensed, when there is no licensing system in place, is misleading. We at PattayaPI would welcome the introduction of a licensing system for private investigators; this would regulate the industry and stop just anyone from claiming to be a PI. It would also (likely) give those with licenses access to government databases, otherwise off-limits to the public, which would be extremely useful to us and our clients in many different circumstances. Many western countries do not have a licensing system and we are doubtful that the Thai government will decide to regulate this industry in the near future. For the moment at least, you need to rely on your own judgment when deciding who to hire. We think that if someone is claiming to hold a license that they in fact do not, this should act as a massive red flag when making your decision.