Have ethics gone out of the window?

23 August 2014

Anyone who has watched the television programme Heir Hunters will realise that the business is all about ‘getting there first’ …. or is it? Being first to call the potential beneficiaries is the toughest call of all, as you are generally breaking the news of the loss of a member of their family and this is never easy to deliver, whether they were close or not. Will that company secure the case? Not necessarily.

When new cases are listed by the Bona Vacantia division, how many companies and researchers are working on them? I would suggest several dozen if not more. So, how can we ensure that we sign the case? It’s all about the initial contact. That’s what the family remember. Are you sympathetic, or too business-driven? Do you give them time to ask questions or just say, ‘we’ll send you the contract in the post?’ Will the lowest commission seal the deal? [For example, when you get three quotes for an extension, do you choose the cheapest? Are Sainsburys Basics as good as the more expensive brands?]

This week, I have been met with several stories of the practices of other researchers which have filled me with horror and, whilst this business is competitive, I think some companies need to remember that people have feelings. Just stop and think how you would feel if you were at work and received a call to say one of your siblings had died? Or you are the grandson of the deceased, who you only met when you were very young, and you are mistaken for the son of the deceased?

Stop and think fellow Heir Hunters…. Put ethics a little (a lot) higher on your agenda.

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