Process Serving Tips and Tricks

By Mark Manchester, Vice President | Rezac-Meyer Attorney Service

I have been involved in the process serving business for over thirty years, and although the basic premise has not changed, some parties are harder to serve than others. Reality TV and social media sites such as YouTube have many operating under the misperception that avoiding the server will somehow make their legal process disappear. This is unfortunate and will test the server’s skills, and wit. Here are some tips and tricks that may help your service provider effect service.

  1. Be prepared, provide as much information about the party or persons being served. Process Servers welcome photos, descriptions of vehicles, and when the individuals typically leave the house, as well as best times to catch someone coming and going from the residence. This can save a lot of time. Social media has become a process server’s best friend, as most people post pictures and will update their status as to where they are and what they are doing. This can help gauge times for service or let you know they are out of town and when they plan to return.
  2. Process Servers will typically go to the neighbors, ask for the person being served. More times than not, the server will be directed to the given address provided, or told they used to live next door, but moved. This can also make things difficult if too many questions are asked. We do not want to tip off the subject that someone is asking questions, so we have learned that less is more with this tactic.
  3. Provide a phone number and let the service provider know if the subject being served will be cooperative. Servers will call the person to see if they can hear the phone ring or the subject answer the phone while outside the door. They also check the Wi-Fi for the address as it may list the subject’s name in some form, which will help verify the address as well.
  4. Asking the server to use props can be tricky. It is best to know the state laws before suggesting this on those difficult services. It is illegal in most states for a process server to use a disguise or misrepresent their identity. However, the use of simple items has proven to be effective such as, a box, clipboard with an envelope on it, and my favorite, order a pizza, as it is being delivered you can stand behind the delivery person and complete your service while they are preoccupied with finding out who ordered the pizza.
  5. Process Servers have learned the importance of being respectful when talking to the person you are serving if they will not open the door. This can calm any fears they have and can get the door open and the job done.

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