Lost without a trace: when clients go under the radar
Doorstep debt recovery can be a highly effective way to regain owed funds from clients. But what happens when the person answering the door is not the debtor at all, and your client seems to have vanished off the face of the earth? Indeed, once a financial agreement has reached the collections stage, a lack of engagement from clients is perhaps the greatest barrier to repayment. Once your client has left town, changed their number and maybe even changed their name, it becomes extremely difficult to regain what is rightfully yours.
If client engagement has become unmanageable and expensive, it may be time to outsource your credit control. A reputable external collections agency will have the necessary industry knowledge and investigative skills to follow the data-trail of breadcrumbs left by almost any debtor. Not only this, but any reputable debt recovery service will be aware of the data they can – and importantly, cannot – obtain legally. If you value your business and reputation, you should be certain to select a credit collections agency that has done their homework on legal compliance. Whilst it is legal to investigate the whereabouts of a runaway debtor, it is certainly not legal to harass or bully an individual.
So, what kind of data might be useful and appropriate when trying to trace a client? If bank accounts and mobile phone contracts have been closed, it is likely that these will be reopened at a later date. The bank will then notify the credit reference agencies of the individual’s address. Also, if individuals opt for a Royal Mail redirection of their post, this information can sometimes be obtained from Royal Mail. Moreover, an individual’s energy payments are often included on their credit record. This kind of data can indicate whether the client is still living in the UK. Hiring a tracing agent can be an invaluable investment, as agents will be able to source up-to-date contact information for your client – thereby facilitating renewed dialogue over the outstanding debt.
It is unlikely that a debtor could remain under the radar indefinitely, especially if you engage the services of a reputable collections agency like First Capitol to help keep communication lines open. The most effective way to work with debtors is, of course, to offer them manageable and appropriate payment solutions so that there is no need to hide.