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As a debt collector, it is inevitable that you will from time to time have to instruct a process server to effect the service of process. The effective service of process forms an integral part of the collection process. If service is not effected in accordance with the rules for service, the litigation process cannot continue and this, in turn, will affect your ability to collect an outstanding debt.
The Institute of Mercantile Agents (IMA) is an industry body that represents process servers, repossession agents, investigators and debt collectors. The IMA has created a best business practice guide (BBPG) for its process serving members, that outlines what the industry believes is best business practice with respect to receiving instructions. A link to the full document can be found via this link: IMA Best Practice Guide
The IMA’s BPG outlines the following that should be included in any instructions from its clients:-
1. The individual/business [including the name, gender (if an individual) and address] required to be served
2. The documents which are required to be served
3. The method of service
4. The last date for service
5. Whether an Affidavit of Service is required to be drafted by the process server or will be prepared by the client based on the Agent’s report
6. In the event, the document is a subpoena or similar, the amount of conduct money to be tendered at the time of service
7. Any other information relevant to the service, including but not limited to:
a. Whether the process server might encounter any threat of violence
b. Whether the individual is likely to be agitated or aggressive due to excessive alcohol or drug use
In addition to the above, we recommend the following specific information be provided:-
1. Any contact numbers known for the Defendant/s and the date and time the last contact was made on any known numbers.
2. If during any conversation made, the Defendant/s confirmed his or her address and what that address was.
3. Any photographs obtained from social media that may assist a process server to identify a Defendant/s.
In effect the more information you provide a process server, the better the chance of service being effected and if a Defendant/s is avoiding service, the better chance a process server has to manage the situation effectively. Of course, if service cannot be effected in circumstances where a Defendant/s is avoiding service, your process server will be placed in a better position to provide evidence that may assist you to seek an Order for Substituted Service allowing you to get on with the collection process.
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