I needed a background check that included financial and criminal history for information on a potential tenant. Net Detective advertised background checks for 29.95, but when I purchased and entered the site, the background check was just a basic name, and outdated address. (You can get this type of information on some "white page" sites, for free.)
To get the information I needed, I had to "upgrade" to Net Detective Pro, for an extra 10.00 for three days - BUT you can't even upgrade unless you also agree that they can charge you an additional 29.95 per month aftr the 3 days is up!
I went ahead and upgraded, planning to cancel the following day to avoid being charged even more. So now I had spent 39.95, with a potential problem of future charges. The more "comprehensive" background check then showed basic census data, and claimed to find no criminal or financial history.
I then tested it by checking a relative with a long string of minor convictions (including jail time) and guess what? His check came back with no convictions found! Amazed, I checked a roommate who filed bankruptcy two years ago. It did not come up.
At this point I realized that their "thousands of databases" didn't have any relevant information! I called the next day and was able to get them to cancel the recurring billing of 29.95, but to get a refund of my original 29.95 I would have to download and print a four page document, which I need to fax or smail mail in to them. Why can't this be done by phone or online? Obviously to make it a hassle so that people will not follow through. To add insult to injury, the representative said the additional 10.00 was non refundable.
I suppose I was lucky to have only lost 10.00 and a couple hours time, but their deceitful advertising and difficult refund policy, plus their ineffectual searchs (which could make a searcher falsely confident when they shouldn't be) make them a ripoff. It's even potentially dangerous to claim to have information and show someone's record as clean when it is not.