Along side our regular clients instructions, we receive daily requests for process serving quotations. Sometimes we are asked by prospective clients to ‘price match’ other firms, because they have been told they have to use the cheapest provider, but they don’t want to use the cheapest provider because they don’t sound like they know what they are doing, or they have had a bad experience with them in the past.
Our fees have been carefully worked out to ensure that when you instruct us, we can offer both impressive process serving results, and a fantastic client experience. Reducing our fees means there would have to be a compromise on that level of service, something we are simply not willing to do.
Choosing a firm based purely on their price is a risky strategy. You might, if you call enough people, save £25 or £30 on that particular service, but what is the long term cost?
If your chosen process server isn’t tenacious or inquisitive enough, you could pay your fee just to get the paperwork sent back to you, unserved, with their bill. No mention of any enquiries, no confirmation of residency, & no effort to use any of the information you may have provided. You then have to pay another firm to go out and serve. And that scenario is actually when a bad choice doesn’t work out too badly……………
It is worth bearing in mind that the process serving industry is completely unregulated. Anyone can start a process serving firm and offer you their services. As in most industries, it is normal for the ‘newbies’ to try to compete purely on price alone, because this is how they secure their first clients. What differs in our industry is that you don’t have to have any qualification or experience to start working. Whilst some new process servers will have taken the time to study service rules, gain industry knowledge, or possibly even obtain relevant qualifications, there are many who see process serving as an easy way to set up a quick business, with little or no knowledge, ‘winging it’, and hoping they don’t get caught out.
So lets say that a process server has been previously ‘caught out’ – and lets say that they have been proven in Court to have provided either in-accurate, or even completely untrue evidence in a witness statement. (This happens – in recent years a process server had been found to be letterboxing documents and providing Statements advising they had been personally served). The implications to a process server for being caught doing such things is…….. well…….. nothing! Those process servers can continue working in the industry – there really is nothing or no-one to stop them. Imagine the cost implication to your clients case when the Defendants solicitor states the Defendant was not properly served, and then can prove your chosen process server had been found guilty of this very mis-demeanour in the past?
So, lets say that scenario did happen, and your case was thrown out, and the Defendant was awarded costs. What happens when you then find out your process server had no Professional Indemnity Insurance, and simply shuts down the company to avoid a claim? Ultimately, it is you or your client who foots the bill, for the sake of saving a few £££’s in the beginning.
And what about your reputational damage?
So how can you make sure this doesn’t happen?
The key thing when sourcing a process server is to make sure you choose a firm that are reliable, responsible, and knowledgeable, and that if something was to go wrong, they can be held accountable for it.You can do this by choosing someone who is a member of the Association of British Investigators – they hold the strictest membership criteria of all the industry bodies. It is more than paying an annual fee – members of the Association are…..
a) CRB checked
b) hold professional indemnity insurance
c) have undertaken an interview where their knowledge and skills have been tested, or entered under the Fastrack scheme only available to people who have worked in the industry for many years already, and can be recommended only by other members of the Association.
By choosing an ABI member, you can be sure your ‘Due Diligence’ checks have been completed for you.
ASH (UK) Process Servers Ltd hold director membership of the Association of British Investigators, and also corporate and individual membership of the Institute of Paralegals. We offer process serving throughout England and Wales for a fixed fee, discounted for volume clients.