Having a loved one be arrested causes so many simultaneous, conflicting emotions. Part of you is certainly angry at the situation, but you are also frightened, concerned, and a bit confused as to what your role should be in rectifying or addressing the situation.
Bail bond agents are aware of the type of emotional strain most people are experiencing when a loved one is arrested and taken into custody. The majority of those agents are understanding of the situation and conduct themselves the right way when addressing the problem. But like any other business, there are bail bond agents out there that don’t always do things as they should and try to capitalize on your altered state of mind, brought on by the arrest of someone you care about. For those of you who have never gone through the process, here are a few signs that your bail bond agent may not be completely honest.
1. Offering to Cut You a Deal:
In most states, Texas included, a bail bondsman fee is a percentage of the total bail amount set by the judge. What some agents do is advertise a smaller percentage, possibly five percent or even lower, then once you’ve committed, they let you know the other percentage charged will be financed with interest, which actually means you’ll end up paying more than fair market price. You should speak over the details with your bond agent before committing to any “deal.”
2. Soliciting Clients Inside of Jail:
This practice is illegal. Bail bond agents are not allowed to solicit prisoners who are already in jail with promises that they’ll be able to help get them out. Some even take it a step further and offer inmates “kickbacks” if they refer clients.
3. Solicitation Outside of Jail:
In reality, a bail bond agent is actually not allowed to even make initial calls to “clients” pushing them to choose their business over someone else’s. The decision is supposed to be left up to the family of the individual who has been arrested, without any persuasion from any bail bondsman. So that means no cold calling families at any time unless that family specifically requests that the agent does so.
We want to reiterate that although this is a competitive business, most bail bond agents conduct themselves appropriately and within the restrictions placed on our business. That being said, it’s important for families who are naive to the court proceedings and the business behind being a bond agent to be careful not to make any rushed decisions.
Knowing what signs to look for is one step, but in the emotion of the situation it’s easy to forget everything and just want to do what is best for the person you care about who is now behind bars. We urge you to take a step back and take some time to consider some of the points we’ve made in this piece and then make your decision accordingly.
At PCS Bail Bonds, we’ve been dealing with families within the Fort Worth community for close to 30 years. That means we are familiar with any state law and follow that law as best we can all the time. To be able to stay in business this long means we’ve done something right, and part of that is not following any practices that may be questionable in our profession. For more information, visit our web site or contact PCS Bail Bonds today.