Bail Bonds, Repo Men, Process Serving, and Blog Posts
Longtime readers might know that I love to write about the bail bonding industry and, starting today, its close cousin: the repossession man. Some of my longer posts (which predated our open-comment policy, so fire away) dealt with this subject. In light of two recent media stories about the subjects (I found the link to one of them — I forget which — from Combest), this is a good time to relink the old stories and share some new thoughts.
If bail bondsmen and repo men are cousins, than another family member is the process server — something I have twice done for a living. In the ’90s, I owned a company that did a lot of this for law firms, and, in 2007, I was a county deputy sheriff serving papers on the dangerous beat of Clayton and Richmond Heights. So, while I have never done any bail or repo work, I think I have a feel for part of what it is like to do them for a living. From my experiences in dealing with the small percentage of people who desperately try to avoid being served, I know exactly what one repo man meant when he said this to the Post-Dispatch:
“They have to be on their game all the time,” he said of those who try to avoid him. “We only have to be right once.”
From reading the Fox 2 story, I repeat what I previously said: Bail bondsman are one of the occupations that should have some sort of licensing by Missouri government. The article’s subhead about how bondsmen “Can Legally Kick in Your Door” doesn’t bother me, because the act of skipping on bail has long been viewed as the sort of action that results in a forfeit of your rights. However, I understand the problems that can arise from allowing convicted felons to enforce the law.
As for the repossession men (aside: Are there any repo women? Women make great process servers, it’s true), that is a tough line of work. I don’t view them as profiting off of others’ suffering, as some commenters on the Post site have accused them of doing. If they don’t repo the car, or boat, or whatever, then everybody will suffer when the firms for which they repo go out of business.
These two articles taken together, as well a story in the Riverfront Times last year, constitute a very interesting discussion of a very interesting field of work.