5 Reasons Why a Bad Process Server is like a Bad One Night Stand

Love them or hate them, one night stands happen. On one hand it could be hugely satisfying for both people. I say both, there could be more involved, but that’s another story. On the other hand, you could end up feeling cheap, dirty and used.

Let’s be honest, in all probability there is more likely to go wrong than there is right, but sometimes you dive head first into these predicaments without thought of the consequences. Believe it or not, using a process server for the first time can be much the same experience.

So, for what it’s worth, here are the top 5 reasons why a bad process server can be like a bad one night stand, in descending order:


You met someone in a bar, it was early on in the evening and you ended up paying for the drinks for the rest of the night. Not only that but you’ve had to spend hours chatting away the evening, making small talk and trying to be witty. All that fluff all builds up to one question; “Do you want to come back with me?”, but just to get that far you’ve invested a lot of time, effort and money. But it pays off and they say that they do want to go back with you.

So then you get back and the carnal pleasures you expected and looked forward to turn out to be about as much fun as stubbing your toe. When you expected the joys of a good bump and grind, the experience was found lacking.

You’re probably wondering what on Earth this has to do with process servers. Well, when you’re looking for a process server you invest your time as you shop around, checking out websites, looking in directories etc and then you finally decide on who you’re going with and commit to how much it’s going to cost. But when things go wrong and they mess up, you’re left with the bill anyway. There’s plenty of process servers out there who promise the Earth, but once they’ve got the work, the effort actually serving the documents just isn’t there.


You wake up the following morning and see the smiling face of your conquest. It was fun for both of you, but now you’ve got to get ready for work and you want them to leave. But they’re not done yet, first they want breakfast. Ok, a bit of breakfast isn’t unreasonable so you make your way to the kitchen. They don’t leave the bedroom. You can see where this is going and on some days, it might be fun, but you know you have to get into work for an appointment first thing. You make a swift breakfast and then invite them to leave. Finally, it’s the end of it.

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Except it isn’t.

You gave them your phone number and you’ve got 6 missed calls by lunchtime. By the end of the day you’re wound up and annoyed. You thought the whole affair would be done with by now. All in all, it takes you several weeks for them to get the message. This was NOT what you signed up for.

Much like the process server who promises to serve your process the same day, or night, but it actually drags on for days or weeks before they actually get the job done. Obviously there are times when it is impossible to physically serve them immediately despite your best intentions but the problem is often managing your expectations realistically. If you expected a one night job but it’s takes weeks, it’s going to leave a bad taste in your mouth.


So you’re standing in bar and frankly, you’ve had a few sherbets. You see a stunner, get talking and amazingly they want to go back to your place. Couldn’t be better. Until the following morning. You open your eyes, roll over and see… a close resemblence of John Prescott. The sight makes you cringe and you wonder how many shandies you had the night before. You feel cheap and dirty. In fact, as soon as they leave you jump in the shower. You tell yourself that it’s a mistake you will never, ever, make again.

You know sometimes, we look at potential suppliers, process servers included, with beer goggles on. They appear slick, smooth & sophisticated but it doesn’t take long before you realise they are grossly incompetent. It’s never a good thing if your process server makes you feel cheap and dirty, but hindsight is often too little too late.

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Ok so your one night stand was amazing and you feel great, it was immensly satisfying for both of you. Just one problem, you didn’t take any precautions so you’ve left yourself at risk. And sure enough, the worst thing happens. A few weeks later you get a call out of the blue. It takes you by surprise and all of a sudden the fond memories of your one night stand have turned into a nightmare situation.

In the world of law, the unexpected problem can be a call or letter out of the blue, disputing that service took place. You thought it had gone swimmingly well, the process server personally served the documents quickly and sent you a statement of service within only a few days. Only they couldn’t have done because the apparent recipient was sunning himself on a beach in Magaluf at the time service allegedly took place. You get some pressure from all angles, where did this process server come from? As it turns out, the process server you instructed with the flashy website and the sophisticated chat actually sub-contracted the work to his cousin’s best friend’s aunty who promptly took a few quid to file it in her ‘trash’ bin. If only you’d used precautions…

And the number one reason why a bad process server can be like a one night stand is…


It’s possibly one of the worst things you can hear after a one night stand; “Mr Smith, you’ve got an infection”. At best, you’ve got to take 2 pills, 3 times a day, for 2 weeks and you can’t have sex throughout. At worst, well, you can use your imagination for that. It’s probably fair to say that your one night stand just wasn’t worth it.

When things go wrong in process serving, thankfully the consequences are often not quite so dramatic and don’t involve medication to put things right. But you’re left feeling sick all the same, as you’ve forked out good money, the job went wrong and now you need someone else to come in and put things right.

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Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way.

The underlying causes of many process serving mishaps is that a few critical checks are not carried out BEFORE instructing someone. So here is a quick checklist of things to look out for:

* Recommendations. Look for endorsements from your peers. Testomonials on a website without actually credible details of who made the recommendation just don’t cut it. And do not be afraid of ringing another lawyer to ask if they actually made the recommendation and if they stand by it.
* Who is actually doing the work. Lot’s of investigation firms offer nationwide process serving but then sub-contract the work out by advertising the work on public internet groups. They don’t know anything about the process server themselves, let alone you. Make sure that whoever you instruct is doing the work themselves OR has a reasonable method of working with other agents.
* Don’t focus on cost. If you were taking a client out to lunch, would you go to McDonalds? Of course not. If you pay Happy Meal prices, you’ll get a handful of fries and a cheap plastic toy. It’s worth paying a little more for an Aberdeen Angus burger, you’re less likely to be sick the next day. And finally…
* Find out how they will handle difficult scenarios. Most process serving is straightforward but if you’re isn’t, you don’t want to find yourself weeks down the line with no progress. Ask the process server beforehand what they will do if the person tries to evade service or if there are other complications.

So there you have it. The top five reasons why a bad process server can be like a bad one night stand. More importantly, some simple steps you can take to avoid it. Now I’m off to have a shower.

What’s your story? If you’ve had a bad experience with a process server (or a one night stand for that matter) or you have any questions about process serving, leave a comment below and I’ll respond with my thoughts and advice.

Matthew Frost is a qualified accident investigator and process server. He is also the author of ‘How to Get the Best from Process Servers & Enquiry Agents’. Most importantly, he is a down to Earth kind of chap who always likes to help and answer questions where he can.

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