To inform individuals who have missed payments that they are being sued, debt collection agencies and their attorneys often rely on a third party process server. These workers are usually charged with serving debtors official papers letting them know they owe a debt and requesting their appearance in court.


Because reliance on these servers is so heavy, recovery specialists must make sure the company is trustworthy and can get the job done. However, sometimes one dishonest server can ruin the reputation of the business and put collection agencies and lenders at risk for losing money.

Case against process servers

According to California Watch, ABC Legal Services is being sued by a number of California citizens. Sixteen people claim they were never served with legal papers or summonses, despite workers for the company saying they successfully served the documents.

Though in many cases, process servers are upstanding and do their job well, a number of workers abuse their position, which is often paid per serve. California Watch detailed there are areas, including the Sunshine State, in which the industry is unregulated, which can prompt lies.

For example, California Watch detailed, Richard Lowry, a ABC Legal Services process server, said he served teacher Matthew Walker with papers describing an upcoming lawsuit over a $2,341 personal debt at his office in school. Walker, however, was coaching a basketball game miles away, and many witnesses back his statement.

Considerations to be made by collection agencies, lawyers

It is important to note that because of Section 803, Part 6 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, servers are not subject to the same laws involving communications collection agents are. However, if a collection agency employs a process server and the debtor is never notified of the court date, the recovery company may win the case through a default judgment, California Watch explained. If the individual chooses to sue down the road because of a lack of communication, the case could be overturned and the agency could end up losing its money.

"We don't do process serving; we hire process servers, and when we hire someone, we want to make sure they're doing their job," ACA International representative Mark Schiffman explained to California Watch.

Process servers may be held more accountable for their actions in the near future. According to InsideARM, the first annual Process Serving Standards Summit will be held in July in Colorado. The standards currently governing the sector will be reviewed, and eventually be more detailed and account for emerging technologies.