Legal proceedings are expensive and time consuming. If only extracting payment was as easily as obtaining a judgment. There is nothing worse than wasting time and money on litigation only to find that you are unable to force payment as the debtor has no assets. It really rubs salt in the wounds when you already feel that you have been ripped off.
Tremark have undertaken thousands of pre-sue enquiries over the past 20 years. The information obtained by our investigators allows our clients and their solicitors to both target successful litigation efforts and also dramatically reduce the throwing away of good money after bad. Below is synopsis of an assignment that Tremark recently became involved in.
The instruction was that the business occupiers of a takeaway shop in Bolton had run up an outstanding debt of £11,900 for gas supplied before leaving the site without any notice just before the supply was due to be disconnected. Unfortunately, the site in question had a history of transient occupiers, each running up a raft of debt before moving on without any notice.
The initial task was to attempt to identify and confirm who the actual debtor was. The owner of the property was identified through a search with HM Land registry and contact was made after making use of our various databases to obtain a mobile telephone number. Whilst initially reluctant to provide any information, the property owner eventually provided evidence that he himself was not liable for the gas used, in the form of a tenancy agreement, which identified and confirmed the debtor to be a ‘Mr MIQ’. The agreement also provided a home address for ‘Mr MIQ’ within the Bolton area.
After client’s letters to the debtor were returned as ‘gone away’, the client re-instructed Tremark to ascertain whether the subject continued to reside at the address and to undertake a pre-sue report to determine whether legal proceedings should be considered.
A raft of subscription-based databases revealed that whilst it was likely that the subject continued to reside at the address provided, there were several linked addresses to the individual. ‘Linked addresses’ are harvested where two pieces of relevant data match together at an address, such as a subject’s mobile telephone number and a partner’s date of birth.
Further enquiries revealed that the debtors residential address was owned by a close relative and that the subject appeared to be unemployed. The individual also appeared to have several CCJ’s registered against him. A visit to the private address confirmed residency and showed the property to be in a reasonable condition, and that the occupier appeared to run two well maintained vehicles. However, despite discreet and covert enquires within the neighbourhood we were unable to ascertain any employment or business information.
Our attention then turned to each of the ‘linked addresses’, some of which provided us with further linked data, such as previously unknown partners names. Eventually our efforts paid dividends when we discovered a further linked address through the partners name which was confirmed by the HM Land Registry to be owned by our subject.
As all attempts to obtain any payment or offer from the subject proved fruitless the client decided that in light of the information provided by Tremark, they should instigate legal proceedings with a view to obtaining a charging order.
The courts claim form was welcomed by the debtor with a response that he was unemployed, did not have any assets nor was able to make any offer of payment. Only once a judgment was obtained and an application for a charging order was made did the debtor realise that our clients were well aware of his hidden asset.
Our client now has a final charging order on an unencumbered property, securing their debt, whilst the debtor continues to pay installments of £115.00 per week to reduce his indebtedness.
‘We have found Tremark Pre-sue Reports have become an essential tool when it comes to decision making around the issuing of legal proceedings. Not only does it help us collect more bad debt, they also help stop us wasting money on trying to recover uncollectable debt’
Lynne Lishman, Head of Credit Control, CNG Ltd
For information on our Pre-Sue Reports please click here
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