How Do I Find a Legitimate Bail Bonds Agent?

One could hear this question asked many times over if they could listen to the thoughts of any relative or friend who has received a call from someone in jail. How do I find a legitimate bail bonds agent? Searching the Yellow Pages just doesn’t happen anymore as most people are perusing the internet for their answers. Lately there has been a big spike in mobile searches for bail bonds agents and the choices are usually listed as A through G on google maps. So the results are in front of you, listed are ten or more bail bonds agents, how do you choose from the myriad of listings?

Choose a bail bonds agent or company very carefully:

Why? Unfortunately the bail bonds industry has taken on some unscrupulous characters with the reason being that there is not a lot of qualifications needed to become a bail bondsman . A few classes to get a license, some time working under another bail bonds company, then you can usually get an insurance agency to back you and you are on your way. This provides quick access to an industry ripe for unethical people to take advantage of.

With that in mind, here are some tips to finding the legitimate bail bonds companies:

  1. Check on the bail agents License. Visit,, and click on the license number link if you have their license number, otherwise click on the browse name link and search for the bail bonds agent’s company name. If you don’t find them, choose a different agent, if you do, there will be information about the agent. Listed here will be any other names their company is listed under, the address of their office, the insurance company that backs them, any endorsed agents with their license numbers, and any problems that have been filed against the said company.
  1. For example; there is a company that lost their license one year and then got it reinstated a couple years after that. With that on their record, one should not choose them. Choose the company that has no flaws, there are plenty to choose from.
  • Check reputation: On the internet you can find many places to do research on companies.
    1. is the Better Business Bureau. Any business that is legitimate will have a listing here and you can check to see if there were any complaints filed.
    2. is a bail agents association. A good bail bonds company will be a part of a bail association.
    3. Also, just typing in the businesses name should bring up some results on the internet, including their website. A good company will have an informative website, not one that is a “sales pitch.”
    4. is also a good place to check.
  • Read their website: Peruse the company’s website, check to see if the address they are representing is on their site. Does the site read like a “sales pitch”?, if so, choose a different company. Do they offer a discounted rate? i.e. 5% or other?, if so, choose a different company. If their site is clean, informative, and has their address and phone number readily placed, you can put them on the list to call.
  • Do they offer a discounted bail fee? Most, if not all, of the unethical bail bonds companies offer different rates than what the regulated fee actually is. Every bail bonds agent and company is regulated by the California Department of Insurance. Every bail bonds company and agent is supposed to charge the regulated fee of 10% of the total bail. But again, the unethical bail bonds companies don’t really follow the rules and will advertise that they can get the bail for a lessor amount, i.e. 5%. If you see that in their advertising or hear it in their sales pitch on the phone, leave and find another company.
    1. Reason: “Bait and switch”; these unethical companies will get you to sign the forms and do the bail for 5%, then when the defendant is out, they will require you to pay the rest of the fee. If you don’t comply, they’ll take the defendant back to jail. This is obviously illegal.
  • Did they call you or solicit you while you were at the jail? This is highly illegal and has not been policed at all. If any bail bonds company calls you to tell you that someone you know is in jail, be very wary. The defendant can sometimes call a bail bonds company from the jail and thus, the bail bonds company can then call the friend or family. But if this happens, the company usually does a three way call and everyone is still on the phone.
    1. What the unethical companies do is scrape (run software that illegally reads a website for information) a certain website on the internet that provides information on individuals that have been arrested. They take that information and then use another data software application like Merlin. With this software they can find information like, SS#, next of kin, if they own a house and its address, and much more. They take this information and use it to fabricate a lie that the defendant in jail had contacted them. The agents will say that the defendant wanted them to contact you and bail him out.
  • Fake address: If you are searching on the internet and found a company by looking at the Google Maps section, beware. Ask the company if they have an actual office at the address listed in the Google Maps. The unethical companies are uploading to Google 100’s of fake addresses just to get a listing on Google Maps. If they don’t have an office at that address, most likely they’re scammers and shouldn’t be dealt with.
  • Final step: Call the company and ask them some questions. Ask them how the whole bail bonds process works. Why the defendant is in jail? What their charges are? When their court date is? How much the bail is? How much they charge for their fee? How long they’ve been in business?
    1. If they are confusing with their answers, hang up and call someone else.
    2. If they don’t really provide answers and just try to sell you on the bond, hang up.
    3. If they seem too busy for you, hang up.
    4. If they’re patient, knowledgeable about the industry, and are willing to work with you in any way, most likely you’ve found someone you can work with.

    Finding a legitimate bail bonds company or agent can be simple and quick if one follows the guidelines in this short article. Hopefully one will never have to use a bail bonds company, but if you do, utilizing these guidelines will put you in the rights hands for the help needed.

    Bail Bonds
    Bail Bonds

    By daryl

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