Your Questions Answered

Hi there, it’s Dave Oates, head researcher at FinderMonkey. I just wanted to answer a few questions that we’ve been getting recently from people who are thinking about trying to find somebody. And there’s a few questions that seem to come up quite frequently, so I thought I’d do a quick video to try and answer some of those questions.

How much does it cost to find somebody with us?

So the first one is how much does it cost to find somebody with us? Now, there is no kind of simple answer to that, but it is a paid-for service. But it very much depends on the information that you know about the person that you’re trying to find, which helps us then decide and determine how much work we will need to do to potentially help you find that person that you are looking for. So typically prices start from £249, but if you’re looking for somebody overseas and have a little detail and that, that can go in excess of £1,000. So the best thing to do, if you’re serious about trying to find somebody and you have an amount of information, talk to us, we’ll tell you if we can help you, and we’ll say exactly how much you will cost before you can then decide to go ahead or not. So I hope that answers that question.

Is it possible?

The next question is, is it possible? Well, yes, it’s the simple answer to that. I mean, there are always cases, even for us, that we can’t always find everybody. There are some that even elude us. But what I would say is we never know until we start a search whether we’re going to be able to find that person, but we do find over 90% of the people that we look for. So the searches we take on, we believe we have a realistic chance of being successful. But it’s fair to say we don’t find everybody. But what we are doing, we’re always looking for new ways to find people.

So if there’s a case that we can’t solve, we tend to do a lot more work on that than actually the cases that we do solve, because we want to find that person for you, and we want to make sure that we’ve done everything reasonably possible to find that person. I must say, we’re always looking for new and different ways to find people, or different pieces of information that can potentially help us. So we’re always looking for a route to find that person, and we’re finding new ways all the time. So our service is constantly developing and changing because new things are becoming available to us that we didn’t have before. One of those things is a really good example is DNA. So being able to DNA test now and link people through and things like that is really, really helpful.

Do I have enough information to find the person that I’m looking for?

One of the other questions we get asked quite a lot is do I know enough? So do I have enough information to find the person that I’m looking for? Again, a simple answer to that question, yes in most cases. We’ve found people with very, very tiny pieces of information. So if you only know a first name, for instance, it’s clearly going to be much harder, but if you can cross-reference that with an address, or a street, or something else, a brother’s name, an approximate age in a specific area, other details that we can sort of use together, often we’re able to find the correct person. And we have many times found people with small amounts of information.

So for instance, if you do know a full name, that is brilliant. If you know a bit less than that in terms of full name, or you don’t know how the name is spelt, then we can work around that. But again, if you speak to us, we’ll be able to tell you whether we feel we’ve got a realistic chance of trying to find that person for you and what we feel we would need to do.

Is it the right thing to do?

This question is one that comes up a lot, and not so much for us, but people who think about the process of trying to find someday think, is it the right thing to do? Well, I think you’ll never know what finding somebody is going to … How it’s going to affect the person that you’re looking for. But what I’d say is if you are a person looking for somebody who’s really important to you, and you would like to get back in touch with them, and it is predominant for positive reasons … So it’s somebody like a missing father, or a relative that you know very little about, and you would just like to know who they are, what they’ve done with their lives, what they look like, do they look like you, and those kinds of questions answering, then it’s the right thing to do for you.

Is it the right thing for the other person?

Is it the right thing for the other person? Well, that’s never going to be known until that person is found and contacted, but what would say is in those situations is if you contact them in an appropriate way, and in a way that’s considerate to them, and thoughtful to them, and is discreet and so it doesn’t necessarily upset any other sort of family situation they may have, then yes, it’s the right thing to do. But doing it in the right way is very, very important, and that’s something we’re really conscious of. And we work very hard to help people do that. So if that’s something you’re worried about, again, talk to us and we can explain how we can help with that one.

What if the person you’re looking for has passed away?

This one is … This question, what if the person you’re looking for has passed away? And that’s a common question that people ask themselves. Well, the sad reality of life is that everybody will at some point die. But if you are worried about that, the chances of that happening only ever increase with time. So if it’s something you’re worried about, then I would always say prepare yourself for it. Irrespective of how old somebody is, whenever you start a search, always consider that if you’ve lost contact with somebody and know very little about what’s happened to them, then it’s always possible that they could have passed away. So keep that in mind, but it’s still important to know. And if that person has passed away, then often there’s still a positive outcome for people.

So for instance, I’ll give you an example of a lady who was looking for her mom, and we found that she’d passed away. But we found that she had a sister … Excuse me. And that sister was contacted and wanted contact with our client, and they have been in contact now and things are going really, really well. And that’s quite a common scenario, but it helps them because they’ve both got something from it. But also our client has got pictures of her mom. She knows a lot of information about what she was like as a person.

So even though she’s passed away, it’s been a very positive thing. And that missing part that people talk about within themselves, not knowing who that person is, has been filled to a large extent, because now there’s something to place in that hole, there’s not a faceless person there. She knows what that person looked like and what they were like as a person, and so that really helps. So if you are worried about somebody being deceased, it’s understandable, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it would be it’s going to be a negative process in trying to find out where that person is now, if they’re have passed away.

Have they looked for me?

So one other question. Have they looked for me? Often people will be reluctant to look for somebody else because they will feel that actually that person should have looked for them. Now I can think of dozens of times when this has happened. And I give you the example, if you’ve seen that videos on our website, the one about Jennifer and John who were twins who lost contact over 40 years ago.

And Jennifer had looked for John on a number of occasions and tried different ways to find him. Never gave up hope, but struggled for a long time to find anything that really seemed like she would find him. Now unbeknown to Jennifer, John had also tried to find her, but she’d remarried, moved around a lot, and so that made it very difficult for him to find her. So sometimes not having the know-how and the necessary tools to find people, it can be very difficult. So just because you think somebody should have looked for you, doesn’t necessarily mean that haven’t.

The scenario that can often be the case is perhaps absent fathers. People think, “Well, why haven’t they looked for me?” Now, often what we find with absent fathers is they would be pleased to be contacted and will have thought about their child that they’ve not grown up … The child hasn’t grown up knowing them, but feel that actually, because they left, then have no right to intrude on that person’s life. And so they kind of feel that they’re not able to make contact and it would be unfair of them to do so.

So it doesn’t always necessarily mean a negative thing. Actually, it can be a really thoughtful thing. And while you might want to be contacted by them, they may feel that they can’t do it because you wouldn’t welcome the contact. So people always have different feelings about things, but again, I wouldn’t necessarily … Until you know for certain what the reasons are, then I wouldn’t assume that they should have looked for you and haven’t. Because they could have looked for you, or they may feel it’s inappropriate to look for you.

What if I’m rejected?

This is a difficult one, another question. What if I’m rejected? Again, it is a real possibility. We contact a lot of people on behalf of our clients. And it’s rare that somebody will say, “I don’t want contact.” Often it can be difficult for people to have contact, and it can take some time getting used to it. But actually if you approach it in the right way, you give people a good amount of time and space to make a decision about how they would have contact, and how that might happen, and start with very simple forms of contact.

Email is a really good one, or you can exchange letters. You don’t necessarily have to have one and other’s contact details. It can be done through a third party so that you’re not in direct contact and actually can start to build up some kind of a rapport and a relationship slowly. And then once you know each other a little bit better, only exchange direct contact details such as phone numbers and maybe addresses, or meetup at a point when both people are really comfortable with it. So I have to, if handled correctly, rejection is rare. It can happen, but in a fairly small percentage of cases. But it is something that you should always bear in mind because it’s always a possibility.

Why should you trust us?

Why should you trust us? Another question. Well, you should trust us because we care about what we do. And it’s easy to say that, but hopefully anyone who’s used us and experienced our service, the vast majority of those people will tell you that our service is really good. We do care about what we do. We do everything we can to find the person that you’re looking for. We’ve appeared on Family Finders, which is the BBC documentary series. And we appeared on both seasons of that. And we’ve also been on TLC, Separated at Birth, and we’ve helped literally hundreds and thousands of people reunite with lost relatives all over the world. So we are very, very good at what we do.

I don’t understand how the service works.

Final question for today. I don’t understand how the service works. Well again, it’s really about speaking to us, and we can explain in more detail. But if I could start simply say, you come to us with an amount of information that you know. If we feel we can help you, we will tell you what the cost of that will be. The cost is usually split into two parts. Half of the fee, typically up front, and half upon successful completion of the search. Then we’ll work with you, we will speak to you … In most searches we’ll speak to you on two or three occasions. Because sometimes we need to kind of ask questions and maybe pry a little bit more information out of you. Sometimes you think that you don’t know much, and you say you don’t know much, but actually when you get speak to us and we can ask the right questions, you know very significant, useful information that we’re able to go and use.

So that’s kind of how the service works. And we will keep you up to date through the process of the search until such time as we find the person that we’re for, or we get to a point, again, it’s rare, but we get to a point where we say, unfortunately we can’t find that person. But we always try in that eventuality to offer some other avenue or other possibility to progress, or advising ways we feel that perhaps more could be done, not necessarily by us, but by somebody else, or by yourselves in order to try and progress your search. Because we do understand how important it is to people to find a missing loved one particularly. Because it’s a need that will never go away, and for most people we deal with, only grows with time.

If you have any other questions please get in touch with us.

I hope I’ve answered all the questions there. If you do have any questions, then please feel free to get in touch with us and either speak to one of the team or direct emails to me and I will answer any questions I can, either by responding to you directly or doing another one of these videos to answer your questions. Thanks for listening.