The Salvation Army refer cases to the ABI
I can’t recall the last occasion we accepted a case from a cold phone-call. We are geared to provide a service to businesses and law-firms, mostly in intellectual property protection or fraud cases, so when the phone rang and I discovered it was a lady, local to this city, undoubtedly of mature age, asking if we could trace her former husband, my automatic response was, ‘We don’t do domestic cases!’ I was about to give her the number of another ABI member who would be able to help, then casually asked how she had found our number. “The Salvation Army,” she said. “They told me to contact a member of the Association of British Investigators.” I was intrigued.
I was aware that, for many years, the ‘Sally Ann’ has run a tracing service. Indeed, on their website, they boast a 92% success rate. The caller explained that her former husband, from whom she had been divorced for some years, was obviously amongst that 8% which the organisation could not trace. Despite that divorce, she had spent many happy years with him, living both in the UK and abroad. She knew his full name and date of birth. She also knew he had a daughter living in a town in the Midlands. As for him, she knew not whether he was in the UK or, for that matter, was even alive. I asked why she wanted him traced. She explained that due to an illness she had limited life expectancy and wanted to leave a generous gift to him in her will.
The lady sounded genuine and a little forlorn and I agreed to help. I arranged with her that we would try to trace him on a ‘no find – no fee’ basis. Were we to be successful, then we would not provide her with his location unless he agreed. She was content with that. Using our sophisticated tracing techniques and tools, the matter proved achievable for us and we duly posted off a letter explaining the circumstances and asking him to contact us. 48 hours later, we received the expected call. We gave him the lady’s contact details and submitted a nominal bill to her to cover our time and expense. Her cheque, accompanied by a delightfully grateful letter, was received by return.
The lady told us that the officer at the Salvation Army to whom she had made the enquiry had warned her that there were some shady characters in the PI business, so it was imperative that she only speak to someone in the ABI as they could be trusted. She had accessed the website, typed the local location and chosen us from the list.
Undoubtedly the smallest job we’ll do this year, but possibly the most rewarding!