Today my boss tossed a 10-year-old partnership agreement on my desk (in this partnership, there is us and the limited partner) and told me to contact the limited partner and request information needed for a refinance. He gave me the name of the limited partner and its president's name from 10 years ago. Based on the amount of turnovers and mergers in this field, I knew I was about to embark on a search for a needle in a haystack.
First I tried Google. The search came up with a lot of similar names, but not an exact match. So I tried the Minnesota Secretary of State Web site and various online yellow pages. No luck there either. So then I sat and flipped through the extensive partnership agreement, hoping to find letterhead or notes or something that would have some contact information on it. I came up with an address, but no phone number. Oh, and also I found a different name than the one my boss had given me. Shocker. I don't know why that didn't occur to me earlier.
I Googled the other name, and realized why I hadn't been able to find them in any Minnesota related searches. They're a Florida company. Alrighty then. So I went to the State of Florida's Web site and did a business search, hoping to verify the address that I had was current, or find the current one. Yeah, they had several addresses listed. None of them matched the address my boss had given me. And no phone numbers for any of them, of course. Oh, and there had been a merger in 2003, so I was still searching the wrong name.
I did a reverse directory search on one of the addresses, but didn't find anything useful. So I searched the third name and finally found a Web site. The company had offices all over the world except at the address my boss had originally given me. So I called the number of the office closest to the 10-year-old address. I went through a slew of automated menu options, and then waited on hold for a human.
Human told me to call the Boston office.
I called the Boston office. I got more menu options, and then got to listen to more elevator music while I waited for a real live person. Unfortunately, this was an effort in futility, as the human at the Boston office told me that all of their limited partnership accounts were now handled out of the Dallas office.
I called the Dallas office, went through their automated menu selections, waited for a human, and then finally got to talk to someone. This person searched our company name and the company name of the limited partner and their address, but could find no record of our agreement much less the name of the person who was now handling our account. She asked if she could put me on hold while she looked into it. I waited for 10 minutes, and would probably still be waiting if I hadn't been disconnected.
The above process took about an hour. That's an hour of my life I'll never get back. At least I got paid to waste my time.