Businesses write off millions of pounds every year because business customers who owe them money simply disappear without trace. In a deliberate attempt to protect their own interests and avoid their debts, unscrupulous business owners will move away changing the business address, telephone number and even the business name. Unfortunately Advocate is unable to accept instructions where no current contact details are available, however, we recommend you consider using a tracing company to locate the debtor’s current contact details.
If your debtor has absconded a tracing company could accurately establish and verify the debtor’s current location and trading status. It’s quite easy to move out of a business premises without leaving a trace, but it’s impossible for a business to start trading at new premises in a new location without being traceable. Most tracing agents will utilise in house tracing software and search tools, and intensive searches of external real time databases can produce positive results within 24 hours.
We can recommend the services of FindUKPeople who operate throughout the UK and who have produced some exceptional results for a number of Advocate’s clients.
Usually larger businesses with a sizable workforce will locate within the same area, sometimes they will simply change name and move to a different unit within the same industrial estate or to a neighbouring industrial estate. For smaller businesses with few or no employees, especially those that are run from home, it is much easier for them to relocate over long distances and to a different area of the country.
Once you have enlisted the services of a tracing agent and provided they have been successful in tracing the debtor, we will validate the new contact details provided and should they be sufficient for us to commence action we will begin the debt recovery process.
Please note we can only take action against the legal entity the invoices have been issued to. If your invoices have been issued to a limited company which has been dissolved or liquidated, we would be unable to take any action against them. If the same directors have started a new company at the same address with a similar name, we would be unable to pursue them as legally the old and new companies are completely separate legal entities.
If the debtor is a sole trader, a change of trading name or trading style does not affect their liability to pay your invoices as they personally liable to pay the debt. Similarly if a sole trader has ceased to trade, they will still be personally liable to settle the debt.
Commercial debtor tracing can be particularly appropriate in cases where a debt has been outstanding for up to six years. You may be surprised to find that a business you thought had closed and that owes you money, is successfully trading in a different area under a different name. If the debt is over six years old, then it will probably have become statute barred and if that is the case it would not be possible to continue to pursue payment of the debt.