Address and Asset Tracing can nowadays be separated into two main areas, the way they did it in the past which involved manual databases, telephone verification and field agents; and the new era of Experian, Creditsafe and a whole host of other online information providers.
So is the old way out of date? With the advancements made in the availability of online databases over the past few years, the potential is there to solely rely on this cheaper alternative. However, Proper tracing is still a vital part of the debt recovery process, provided it is carried out in a compliant manner.
Solely using databases picks up some of the information, but there will always be people who escape the online searches. Proper Tracing helps you to uncover as much information as possible including old loan/mortgage/credit card including telephone numbers, full names and changes of address assets owned by related parties and even current employers, if you need to request an attachment of earnings at a later stage.
We are currently seeing more companies writing off uncollectible debts based on having gone through the seemingly more cost effective use of their own internal trace teams, debts which could have been recovered had they had all the information.
But why do companies settle for low trace success rates based on online database tracing, which subsequently leads to low collection rates? The usual answer is budgets, and the fear of the unknown by stepping outside into the investigation world, but ideally it is always better to get a debtor on a low level repayment of debt plan now, rather than leave a file which potentially could be statute barred quicker than you may think.
So clearly Proper Tracing has a place in the market, and if budgets are a worry, there are a few companies that will work on a no success/no fee trace basis, SIRS Europe being one of course!