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How to Use the Small Claims Court if You Don’t Know the Whereabouts of the Other Party

If you run a small business and rely on people paying you on time, you may be particularly upset if you cannot get somebody to comply. They may not have complained and seemed to be happy enough with your product or service, but the cheque or credit card number is not going through for reasons you cannot understand. In this case, you may be able to go to the Small Claims Court to chase the funds, but if you're having trouble getting in touch with this individual, how could this work? Do you need to notify the other party formally?

Weighing up the Costs

To begin with, you need to understand that there are several costs involved in pursuing the debt, and you need to balance these costs against the outstanding sum. There will be a fee payable when you file a claim in the Small Claims Court, and you may need to bring in an outside service to help you trace it.

Understanding the Situation

Some people in this situation may simply want to make it hard for you to find them. Others may have moved on to a different location, and the previous details you held are no longer valid.

Tracing Methods

As you suspected earlier, you will certainly need to serve papers before you can proceed with a court claim. There are various ways to do this, but ideally, you should ensure that the paperwork is handed to the individual or left in their presence.

Social Media Search

If you don't know where they live, you may have to conduct some detective work. Social media may be a good place to start, and with a little effort, you may be able to uncover their accounts on some of the major channels. Recent posts may give you an idea of where they are and could even tell you where they work or prefer to socialise. This information may make it easier to track their whereabouts so that the relevant information can be given to them.

Property Records

You may be able to check the property records in a given jurisdiction, assuming that you know what city they are now in. If they are a property owner, this data will be held on a central database that the public can often access.

The Best Approach

As a busy business owner, you may have plenty of other work to perform without trying to be a detective. In this case, you should certainly talk with a process server as they do this kind of thing professionally. They may have other methods available to them that could help track down the individual so you can move forward and make your claim.

For more help, contact a serving legal documents service near you.