Questions About Criminal Report Services

Why is ESS asking for a consent form from my applicant/employee?

According to the FCRA, all employers must obtain a consent form from their applicants/employees prior to requesting a consumer report (background check report) from ESS. It is the employer's responsibility to maintain a copy of each signed consent for and to provide a copy to ESS, should ESS request a copy. Some record sources require ESS to provide a copy of the consent form to complete each search. Common examples of these searches include: employment and education verification searches, GCIC searches, several MVR searches, etc. Most of the relevant forms can be four in the "My Documents" section of your account.

Why do I have to re-order searches when I provide an incorrect name or DOB?

Criminal background searches are typically name-based because of the way court records are housed. Court records do not usually contain Social Security numbers, so we must rely on other matching identifiers, such as names and dates of birth. 

How do AKA-name searches affect my invoice?

An AKA (alias) name is an alternate name that the applicant may be associated with (e.g., maiden names). Searching AKA names will affect your invoice because our researchers must search these names separately, which causes additional charges to be incurred. Note that verifications for employment and education are rarely affected by the existence of AKAs. 

Why are there additional fees included in my order?

Many state and county record repositories charge ESS to access their records.  ESS passes these fees along to the client to be included in the final cost of our screening services. A full list of these fees can be located by logging into your ESS account and going to My Account > Prices > Court Fees. These fees are subject to change at the discretion of the third-party sources. 

How do I order an international search?

International searches are typically initiated by selecting "International Criminal Search." International searches can also be ordered by sending a request to our Order Entry department ( or fax 205-443-9388). Many international searches require specialized consent forms.

Please note: International searches tend to take longer than most domestic searches. Certain locations can take around 30 days to complete. 

Why did ESS order more searches for my applicant?

In some cases, search results are returned with inconclusive information. When this occurs, ESS will order additional searches to locate the most accurate and complete information as possible. Please keep in mind if ESS orders additional searches for your applicant, it does not necessarily mean that your applicant has a record.  

Why didn’t the National Multi-Jurisdictional find a record?

Instant searches (National Criminal Check, National Sex Offender, and Instant State Criminal Checks) should only be used as a preliminary inquiry. ESS does not report criminal record information directly from these sources, but will instead order a subsequent county or state sex offender registry search to verify that the database information is accurate and belongs to your applicant.

I’ve called the courthouse and they don’t show an order from ESS. Why not?

Many courthouses offer self-service terminals and/or processes that may not necessarily require involvement from the county clerk. In other situations, the person the applicant/client spoke with may not be the individual our researcher is currently working with and may not be aware of the progress our researcher may have made on the search.

Why is my state missing from the drop-down list under 'Statewide' when I’m trying to order?

Some states do not offer a statewide search.  When you are unable to locate a state in the drop-down, please select “00_unavailable_00” to order the counties needed. 

How do I cancel a report/searches?

You can email your cancellation requests to Our Client Care team will get this taken care of for you right away. 

The Name/DOB/SSN are incorrect on a pending report, do I need to re-order the entire report?

You may not need to re-order the entire report. Instead, just email and provide the correct information for your applicant. Our team will ensure that the changes are made and that any searches impacted by the changes are updated. If a search has already been completed, we will have to re-initiate the search, which may require additional charges. 

How far back do my criminal record searches go?

Our standard search and reporting scope covers the past seven years, calculated from the date of disposition, end of sentencing term, or end of the probation term, whichever event occurs last and irrespective of whether the Consumer was released from prison, jail, or probation early.  In certain states which prohibit reporting convictions that antedate the Report by more than seven years, ESS disregards sentencing and probation and calculates reportability based upon the disposition date alone.

Why does my report shows a search period of 15 years, instead of the 7 that I originally ordered?

Search scopes must often be expanded in order to locate possible records that may be reportable under the 7-year scope due to sentencing information. 

Why did a location get searched even though my candidate said she/he never lived there?

Individuals can have criminal records in locations other than those where they have previously lived. ESS typically searches all jurisdictions that may be associated with your applicant, which are usually generated from various methods, such as the Social Security Trace or the National Multi-Jurisdictional Search.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us