An internet search will produce a long list of people and agencies offering FDE services, often at remarkably low cost; much lower than my cost or that of any other reputable and qualified examiner. You should not be surprised by that — after all, there are no controls over who can offer their services to the public as I’ve discussed in another post you can find here.
Cutting corners is rarely a good approach when investing hard-earned money. Forensic document examination is one service where the client definitely should expect to get what they pay for. As the saying goes, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, just wait until you hire an amateur!”
As a parallel, would you trust your case to a sketchy lawyer? Or go with the lowest bid when quality is what matters most? Perhaps so, in which case I can only say please be careful because you may be in for a rude surprise when the time comes to present such evidence in a court setting.
It is critical that you, like the courts, should always vet the credentials and practices of anyone offering this type of service. This is particularly true for anyone offering those services at what appears to be a ‘cut rate’.
A competent professional document examiner will have years of education, training, and experience. They will maintain their skills and currency through ongoing professional development. They will apply appropriate methods and techniques and use only well-maintained equipment. They will document their work and ensure that appropriate quality assurance measures are followed. All these factors come at a cost; the cost of doing business the right way.
To put things bluntly, true forensic expertise does not come cheap. It is definitely not a service where doing things ‘on the cheap’ makes sense.
So, why does my service cost so much? Quite simply, it is because I try to do things the right way and take every precaution to ensure that will be the case. If you opt to go with a cheaper option, I wish you well. However… I will also reiterate the Roman warning:
—Let the buyer beware—