Just like the people who get served, some process services aren’t easy. Some people make it more difficult to hand off papers as opposed to others.
So many defendants believe that if they can give a process server the slip, their troubles will go away (which, of course, is untrue). This myth has led people to hide from process servers by perhaps temporarily relocating to another home, parking their car far away from home, leaving work at random hours, or even changing their hair color.
In the process of serving the industry, these people are called ‘cagey’. If you’re having trouble contacting an individual to file a case, try the following tips to improve your chance of delivering a perfect service:
1. Do As Much Research As Possible
You can make your life a lot easier by getting all the details before stepping out of your office. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the road already, do your research before arriving at the defendant’s address.
By doing your research first, you can easily plan out your encounter with them and be ready for the unexpected. Try your best to find out all of the following and/or use skip tracing to locate information from your clients before delivering the service, especially if the individual has a knack for avoiding the Sheriff or other process servers.
What Is Their Work and Personal Schedule?
Process services are best carried out during opportune times of the day. Having this information beforehand can improve your chances of delivering service documents more promptly, while also saving a lot of gas and mileage.
What Kind of Vehicle Do They Own?
Speaking of which, you should also know what model, make, or color of vehicle they own as well as their license numbers. If you are able to spot these vehicles, it will automatically mean there is a high probability you can deliver.
In addition, if they try to escape before you can serve them, you will have an opportunity to know when they will make a run for it. Always try to keep a close eye on the individual’s vehicle while you’re knocking on doors or even driving into the neighborhood.
What Do They Look Like?
It helps to ask clients for recent photos of the accused. If there is no picture available, it would help if you can get some information about their age, skin color, weight, height, sex, and general appearance.
Most clients tend to provide older photos of the individuals that need to be served, such as wedding photos. Also, the majority of the people who get served have a frown or straight face as opposed to the wide smiles in the pictures. This is why you should look for things that will immediately stand out from the average individual such as cleft chins, moles or even wild eyebrows.
Do They Have a Social Media Account?
You may also ask your clients whether the people they want to contact have any social media accounts and whether they have access to a URL. This information can reveal the person’s location and this would especially be the case if they were online.
Of course, the various social platforms also help process servers acquire a picture of the defendant, especially if the people you just spoke to at their property were lying about their identity. Therefore, social media works as a great way of approaching subjects if you expect to be evaded.
2. Ask Their Neighbors and Use Their Names
People always respond better when you take names. For instance, most household members trust you more if they know that you know their name. Even if you end up at the wrong address, neighbors may be able to point you to the right direction.
It is always a good idea to ask by the persons’ first name because most neighbors will find it odd that you aren’t confident about who you’re looking for.
3. Uses Props As Pretext For Deliveries
Always check your state’s laws with respect to using props as pretexts. For instance, it is illegal to impersonate law enforcement officers and FEDEX, USPS, UPS employees, as well as government agents.
Some states have made it illegal altogether to use props that make it easier for you to make contact. Instead, you could try ordering pizza and holding it as a prop while delivering a letter to the subject. You could also just as easily deliver flowers, baked goods, or anything else that is professionally delivered.
4. Call Them Using Publicly Listed Numbers
If you haven’t gotten an answer from their address by knocking on the door, try calling them on their phone number instead. If you can hear a ring inside the suite or home, you may be able to contact the person. What’s more, hearing a ringing phone outside the door confirms that you have reached the right location to serve the individual.
5. Be Polite
Sure, you may be delivering bad news for someone, but in our years of experience, we have noticed how being overly polite throws off most people. If you serving someone later in the evening, make sure to start off by saying that you’re sorry to bother them so late. If, instead, you’re serving someone earlier in the day, make sure to mention that you’re sorry you woke them so early and that you’re trying to reach somewhere soon.
A couple of polite words are bound to throw off anyone who answers the door and will instinctively make them cooperate with you.
Choose Elite Legal Services
It is a process server’s job to combine creativity, organization, and not giving up. Elite Legal Services has been providing professional support services for attorneys in New York for over 18 years; therefore, we know exactly how to get things done.