How Collection Agencies Find the Debtors’ Whereabouts?

When businesses open a debtor’s account with a collection agency, the information they provide is often incomplete. While they would provide details like the outstanding amount owed and the age of the debt, they may not necessarily have the latest contact information for the debtors.


This is an issue a collection agency has to deal with the majority of the cases they pursue. Before commencing further proceedings, they need to know the debtors’ whereabouts. Information they would require includes home address/work address, home telephone number, mobile number and email address.


If the debt collector is tracing a company, it is worth undertaking a company credit check. The objective is to find information assessing whether they are actually making money, paying other suppliers, identifying directors’ names and addresses, and the company’s phone number. Armed with such information, they will not just be able to contact them, but also frame a strategy to tackle them.


When tracing a debtor, the debt recovery services in the UK will initially carry out electronic searches. As professionals, they have access to extensive sets of databases that they use to gather the required information about the debtors. The data can be occasionally historic, yet the information received is fully utilised. The search is often enough to find the new address of the debtors.


If the electronic search fails to produce the required information, or it is incomplete, the agency may instruct its local tracing agent to visit the relevant properties in person and attempt to locate the debtor. The combination of the two methods would succeed in almost all of the cases.


Once all the required information is in place, the debtor is sent mail mentioning the outstanding amount as well as the deadline to pay. Termed ‘letter before action’ it is sent on a headed paper, signaling to the debtor that the creditor is serious about pursuing them. They would wait for the deadline before taking the next step to retrieve the money owed. It is a tried and tested method, and a large proportion of customers are likely to call back in response.