Escrow System Information and Guidelines for Usage

It is common practice for a researcher or other family history expert to ask for a deposit before beginning a project, but what to do if they require full payment up front? That's where our free escrow program comes in handy. It offers both sides a sense of security, which is a great opportunity for both the Seeker (project owner) and the Specialist. Escrow is especially advised under certain circumstances, which include:

  1. If your chosen Specialist has less than 3 positive feedback ratings for projects totaling at least $300.00 per project.
  2. If your chosen Specialist has not been verified. Note that if your chosen Specialist has been verified, you will see one or both of the following icons next to their username in their bid details or in their individual profiles.
Education Verification Denotes education verification

Denotes professional membership verification

Although use of the escrow system is mainly optional, we encourage use of this system whenever possible. It is advisable, however, that use of this option is discussed with any bidder of interest in advance of making your selection. If your chosen Specialist falls into any of the above 2 categories but has declined to take an escrow payment, you have the right to cancel your selection and choose an alternate bidder.

How Does the Escrow System Work? Simple.

When you click on the "pay my specialist" link from your account you need only choose the option that says "escrow payment for project". The funds will then be transferred to a safe holding account and will not be available for withdrawal by your Specialist as is possible with the direct pay method. The funds can be viewed by clicking on the "escrow payments" link at any time.

Once the project is complete then the Seeker (or project owner) only has to visit his/her "escrow payments" page and click the "release" button. The funds will then be totally available for the Specialist to withdrawal at his/her leisure. If there is a change of status in the project and there is no need for the money to be in escrow then the Specialist has the ability to cancel the escrow thus returning the money back to the Seeker if necessary. This gives each party half of the control of the money for the project minus the traditional deposit if required.

How to split an escrow payment or create more than one single milestone payment

If you want to include more than one escrow payment or "milestone" for a project, you can do so using the method below. This option is handy if you and your Specialist have agreed to a series of payments rather than one bulk payment for a project. For example, if the total cost for a project is $600.00, you may want to break those payments up into 3 separate two hundred dollar payments or 2 separate three hundred dollar payments, etc. Each payment can then be released individually into the account of your Specialist as agreed upon when appropriate.

Step 1 - When paying your Specialist, choose the escrow option from the drop down list of options.

Step 2 - Fill in the amount of the first escrow/milestone along with any other necessary information then click the submit button.

Step 3 - Repeat steps 1 and 2 until your payments equal the total amount of the project. You can then view as well as release these escrows from your "escrow transactions" page.

Note: When you are ready to actually pay your Specialist, simply visit your "escrow transactions" page and click the "release" link. This action will transfer the escrow funds into the account of your Specialist.