Instant Checkmate is one of the industry’s most talked about background services – I’m sure you’ve seen their ads more than once. But people aren’t going to run to tell their friends or family that they’ve just ran a background check on their partner to see if they were hiding anything.
This leads to one big question: is Instant Checkmate legit?
The answer is a simple yes. You can use the service to find people from all walks of life. But this still leads to one other question: is their service good? A question that is much harder to answer.
Let’s first discuss what the site has to offer before we look at instant checkmate reviews and break down what others are saying about this service.
What Does Instant Checkmate Show?
You go on the company’s site, and you quickly find out that the Instant Checkmate free offer isn’t real. Bummer. These sites have a way of luring you in, and they even seem like they’re doing something.
And this site has one of the best “sells” on the market.
You’ll type in a name, and you’re left really thinking that you’ll find a person’s information. There will be progress bars popping up on the screen, and you’ll even see a lot of “data” checks going on.
After a long wait, boom: 17 results found near you.
You’ll need to pay to see anything relevant. This shouldn’t be a shocker as any information this rich must cost something. After all, you know that something that sounds too good to be true probably is.
There are three membership options with a premium report costing $20 more than a standard report per person. The costs are:
- 1 Month Standard: $22.86
- 3 Month Standard: $54.71
- Trial: $1
The trial membership is for a period of 5 days. And this is what I really dislike about this service. You sign up on a free trial and forget about it because you didn’t find what you’re looking for initially.
After 5 days, you find a $29.63 charge on your account from the company.
You’re automatically put on a monthly subscription for $29.63. The question is why is this plan more than the one-month plan? Since it’s the same plan, why are you paying nearly $7 more a month?
This isn’t just the first month either. Every subsequent month you’re charged the same.
You could justify the higher price for the free trial for one month, but for it to continue to be a 30% premium on the normal cost just doesn’t sit well with me.
How Does Instant Checkmate Bill You?
You’re billed upfront for the entire month. And if you cancel your membership, don’t expect to get the remaining time refunded to your account. You’re billed directly to your credit or debit card that you linked to your account.
Another thing that irked me is that you need to call the company’s customer service number to cancel your account.
You can’t start an account over the phone, but if you want to cancel, you’ll have to deal with salespeople trying everything in their power to keep you on as a customer. Is it legal? Sure, but it’s a hassle for some detective work on your end.
Recurring monthly payments can really pile up over time, too. If you sign up for the 3-month option, this means you could be out $54 every three months if you forget to cancel beforehand.
How Does Instant Checkmate Work?
Alright, let’s get down to the nitty gritty here and discuss how this service works. You’ll find that despite the high cost, the service works well and is fairly easy to use. When you want to start, you’ll need to enter in:
- First name
- Last name
And this is where you’ll be prompted with yes and no questions on the screen.
Did he or she live in Dallas? Is he or she related to John Doe?
A few of these questions will pop up, and if you’re just trying out the site, this is how they get you hooked – it’s kind of like gambling.
Every click you make is an investment in the service and to find the answer to your questions about a person.
Once the data starts matching up, you’ll be eager to learn more making you more inclined to enter your credit card number and spend some cash.
What Instant Checkmate Displays
So, what will you find out? A lot of information will be displayed for your search. Much of the information depends on if it exists, but if it does, you’ll be able to find out information about a person including:
- Arrest records
- Contact information
- Address history
All of the information is aggregated from other online sources, so most of it can be found online for free with enough detective work.
But if you’re trying to find all of this information in one place, you’ll find that the service works decently.
And, if you want to know even more information, you’ll need to pay for the premium report at $19.99 a pop – per report. What does this added fee give you? A ton more, of course:
- Business associates
- Professional licenses
- Permits (hunting/weapons)
- Property owned
- UCC filings
- Voter registration
- Old numbers
- Civil judgements
This is just some of what the premium service has to offer. It’s a steep price to pay – especially when the membership is $22 – to find out information on just one person. There are a lot of upsells, or those pesky adverts that say “don’t want to find out more?” Or, you know, those catchy phrases that try to siphon even more money out of consumers.
For me, it’s a little too pricey for information that may or may not exist.
What Information is not provided in an Instant Checkmate Report….
There are other issues with this product though that are easy to overlook unless you really dig deep into your research.
Your Information is Sold
Hate spam? Join the crowd, but your loyalty to Instant Checkmate isn’t going to be honorable at all. Not only are you paying a high fee every month, but you’re also having your information sold to third-parties.
It’s not every day that you pay to have your information sold to others.
No Refunds for You
If you’re not satisfied, we will issue a refund.
What you’re not told is that refunds are done on a case-by-case basis. So, you can roll the dice and try to request a refund which may or may not be granted at the discretion of the company.
Some people get refunds, but most don’t.
It seems that this is really a hit or miss. Some people claimed that they were given a partial refund, but this is not common from what I’m seeing.
It’s really a shame because the service is okay, and it shines when using the premium option.
We promise we’re almost done here, but one last thing to consider is that the company has had 990 complaints on the Better Business Bureau in the last 3 years alone with 126 closed in the last 12 months.
What were people complaining about?
- 363 advertising/sales issues
- 198 billing/collection issues
- 12 delivery issues
- 1 warranty/guarantee issue
- 416 problems with product/service
One user was billed $11.85 monthly, but customer service said they weren’t charging the person in question. The person called the company billing them, and they were directed to Instant Checkmate who will not correct the issue.
The complaint was corrected once the person complained on the BBB when the company finally “found” the accounts.
A lot of people complained that the reports had invalid information, too.
The major concern that seems to keep popping up is that people are led to believe they’ll be charged a one-time fee when using the service through deceptive marketing tactics.
So, where do you go from here?
You could use Instant Checkmate, but be diligent when cancelling your account and be prepared for a monthly fee.
InfoTracer has proven to be a little more forthright with their service, and you can choose one-time fee options rather than being stuck paying monthly for a service. The prices are also a tad cheaper, and there are less upsells which is nice.
Overall, I recommend InfoTracer over Instant Checkmate due to lower pricing and ease of cancelling a subscription.