What is the process if a debt collector is unable to identify an individual of which they have purchased debt on?

I am aware that many of these debt collectors often don't get much information to go on. They buy the debt (at a very low cost) and often very little information is included with that debt, perhaps just an email address, phone number and potentially an old address. This can sometimes make it very hard for these debt collectors to identify individuals. Which got me wondering what happens if they cannot actually identify someone?

Of course, the obvious answer is that they would eventually try and obtain a County Court Judgement against the individual. However, my understanding is that for a CCJ to be valid/acceptable they have to reasonably know that the individual is at the given address. If they're unable to contact that person via email, telephone, letters or otherwise. Can that qualify as "reasonably knowing" that the individual is at that address?

1 Answer 1


They write the debt off

Purchasing debt is a risky business - that’s why they only pay pennies in the pound for them.

There are many reasons why a debt may be irrecoverable:

  • There may be no basis for the debt
  • The debtor may have a valid counter-claim against the creditor
  • The debtor may be able to successfully dispute the debt
  • The debt may “age out”, that is pass the statute of limitations beyond which legal action can’t be commenced
  • The debtor may be unlocatable (as you suggest) - either actually unlocatable or not worth the cost of finding.
  • The debtor might be dead or wound-up
  • The debtor might be broke.

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