I received a sad message from a newsletter reader. Here is a somewhat abbreviated copy of her message:
I need to know what to do. Last year, I hired one of the genealogy speakers at a local conference to research one of my genealogy lines. She accepted $400 from me as an initial payment, telling me she would get back to me in several months with the research. When I did not hear from her by October, I emailed her asking what she had found. She emailed back and said she had done nothing and had forgotten about it. I told her not to bother and to refund my money--she agreed. I have not heard from her although I have sent her 4-5 emails requesting my money. She ignores me. What should I do?
My answer: Contact the Association of Professional Genealogists. The APG web site can be found at http://www.apgen.org/. You will want to read the Code of Ethics at http://www.apgen.org/ethics/index.html
If the paid researcher is a member of APG, they will handle the problem. I would suggest you NEVER hire anyone claiming to be a professional genealogy researcher who is not a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. APG has more than 2,000 members in countries all over the world. APG members pledge to adhere to professional standards. If there are disputes about services rendered, APG will help arbitrate the problem.
Yes, you can find cheaper researchers than those who belong to APG. However, you won't get the APG Code of Ethics.