Some people come to us to trace a debtor and then cross reference the information we provide on the electoral roll, when they don’t find a match at the trace address they wrongly presume that the information we have supplied is wrong. The truth is the electoral roll is useless for tracing people let alone a debtor who has only recently moved.

The article has been written by Ryan Shaw the UK’s leading debtor tracing expert.

The electoral roll that is made available to marketing and trace companies is no longer the full electoral roll and hasn’t been since 2003. This tends to be kept quiet by the online electoral roll search providers. In reality over 50% of UK adults now opt off the electoral roll, this means if you search an address for a person then they simply won’t appear at it.

Here at People tracing Experts we have the same problem, our electoral roll data is exactly the same as everyone else’s, we still use it but more to confirm the details of an address such as postcode rather than a bonafide tracing tool. As a tracing tool it is the best option for people performing searches at home but from a professional researchers point of view it’s inadequate, for tracing debtors its useless.

Most of the debtors we are asked to trace are fully aware that they can opt off the electoral roll and as soon as they are chased for debts they do so the next chance they get. Most people who understand the electoral register form and read it fully also decide to opt off the register too, this leaves less than 50% of UK adults on there. Further to this and perhaps most importantly of all, the electoral roll is updated just once every 12 months, so as soon as someone who is on the electoral roll moves, you will not be able to find their new address using this system.

Finally, the electoral roll is a list of names and addresses, it doesn’t qualify the person as being the exact person you are looking for, potentially it could just be someone with the same name, living in the same area.  In my opinion there is nothing less professional for a trace company to do than trace the wrong person, the implications for the poor soul who has been caught up in this debt web is massive, as they have to try and prove that they are not the person. The collection agencies that have taken the information at face value and then presumed the wrong person are left with egg on their face. This is what has lead trace companies to getting such a bad reputation, but we shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush.

As soon as I started FinderMonkey Debtor Tracing I wrote a series of procedures to combat the tracing of the wrong person, even though back then there was only me doing the trace work! It was critical that any person who came on board to trace debtors understood the seriousness of tracing the wrong person, in my opinion the electoral roll can cause this to happen and should not be advertised as a tool for tracing debtors.

Cut forward five years and People Tracing Experts is going from strength to strength, I believe this is down to the work both John and I put into the tracing process so early on. We’ve taken the Credit Services Association guidelines too and those of the Office of Fair Trading to keep us at the forefront of tracing debtors. This determination to provide a quality service was rewarded at the end of last year when we finished as runners up for Debtor Tracing Team of the Year at the 2012 Debt Collection Awards.

So when we trace a debtor (and this is for an individual rather than any of our fantastic clients)and they tell me that the address we have supplied is wrong because they have looked on the electoral roll and the debtor is not there, I smile to myself and very nicely tell them why what we have supplied is correct!

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Thanks for reading.