With Court Data, the Right Questions Make All the Difference

By Carl Cogdill |

Data Clarity in Uncertain Times: 6 Questions You Should Be Asking

Governments, citizens and businesses around the world are doing their best to make sense of the recent changes impacting the global economy. For industry and community alike, our collective next steps remain uncertain, but a common refrain of “unity” has emerged. It’s brought with it inspiring acts of kindness and selflessness that define the human spirit.

The scale and swiftness of this collective reaction has been impressive, so it is unfortunate that bad actors looking to exploit the most vulnerable businesses have not remained idle. Indiscriminately, they continue to threaten industry and community, and the public records side of the U.S. criminal justice system are a prime target.

For example, we’ve seen companies that are currently amplifying marketplace uncertainty by offering CRAs “court searches.” While we acknowledge the situation is fluid, providing court searches in courts that have been closed to the public begs several questions. Objectively, though, there are two that come to mind: 1) What exactly is being provided to a CRA by these companies? and 2) Where is the data coming from? Now more than ever, it is critical to be mindful of the age-old concept of caveat emptor.

In the business of risk management, it’s always prudent to be wary of “too-good-to-be-true” scenarios, especially when it comes to products or people that purport to offer services no one else can (unless they’re willing to show you what’s under the hood of the car, so to speak). During these uncertain times, Wholesale Screening Solutions has outlined a series of questions that we recommend CRAs ask to create certainty with their public records research organization of choice. It can make all the difference.

6 Questions to Create Clarity:

  1. If the court is closed, where exactly is the data you are providing coming from?
  2. Was this an alternate data source that you were using before the COVID-19 crisis? If not, why?
  3. What information would I not get using you now, that I would have gotten if I were able to run a search in the court?
  4. Are pending cases included in your alternate data source?
  5. Are open warrants included in your alternate data source?
  6. How often is your alternate data source updated?

There were many online data sources that Wholesale deemed unacceptable prior to the COVID-19 crisis, and our organization’s stance on these has not changed. If a data source cannot provide the exact level of quality that Wholesale would get by pulling the information in the courthouse, then our teams will wait until the courthouses open, period. Quality has been, and continues to be, our top priority. We do our best to make this very clear by publishing our Six Sigma score, and this will continue to be our position – even if the profits of the company are impacted. In an age when anyone can make up anything and put it online as truth, quality and trust cannot be fabricated. They are inextricably linked, and for Wholesale, it’s not an area we are willing to compromise on, especially in times when our clients need us most.

If I or any member of the Wholesale team can help separate facts from fiction in these uncertain times, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Carl Cogdill
About Carl Cogdill
Carl Cogdill is Senior Vice President of Supplier Management and Process Engineering for Wholesale Screening Solutions. He oversees the Wholesale Screening Solutions research network to ensure we deliver the most accurate information in the shortest possible time. Carl also leads the company’s process engineering efforts, where he looks at anything and everything in operations that can be improved to increase quality, efficiency and accuracy.