Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Non-paying French client and debt recovery fee
Thread poster: David Twell

David Twell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:25
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Sep 9, 2008

Hello,

Well, you would have thought I would have learned my lesson by now, having been stung by the notorious ONADEL fraudsters a few years ago...

But I completed a small translation job for 112 EUR, for a new direct client in France, 75 days ago. I reluctantly agreed to payment after 60 days, and we are now on day 75 and my bank account has still not been credited. I emailed my contact there yesterday and today (twice), but no reply has been forthcoming.

From reading some highly useful threads on this site, I realise that I now need to send them a "mise en demeure" by recorded delivery, then, if that fails, I need to get the debt collection people onto them. Would the fee for using a debt recovery company be recoverable from my client, or would this amount still have to be paid by me? I realise that this concerns a relatively small amount, but there is no way I am going to let them get away with not paying, even if it does considerably reduce the actual amount I receive after recovery charges!

Thank you,

David


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:25
French to English
At your expense Sep 9, 2008

As far as I know, it would be at your expense, the debt recovery people deduct their fee from whatever amount they recover.

Don't forget to charge interest/late fees - that might help to cover the expenses.

It's only 15 days late, that's not bad for France - see how the registered letter goes first before taking further steps!

A word of caution - you might have a hard time finding a debt recovery agency to take on such a small job? I tried to help a colleague once who was in a similar situation, and none of the agencies contacted were interested in pursuing it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
How about going straight to the courts yourself? Sep 9, 2008

I must admit I'm not sure if you can do it from the UK, but I think you can. Everything is done by the Tribunal de Commerce where the non-paying company has it HO. Once you've sent the "mise en demeure" and not received payment, you can send a form to the Tribunal, with all supporting paperwork and 38.87 Euros. They look through everything and say whether you have a valid claim. If so, you send the form they give you to the "huissiers" and you pay them to serve an "injonction de payer" on the company. If the company contests it, you go to court; if they don't contest it and don't pay either, the final round is all automatic - they are taken to court and the money is taken from them, like it or not.

At least, that's what's supposed to happen. I've just entered the last round in the fight for my 634 Euros and I won't know for maybe two months. I've so far paid almost half of that sum in legal fees, but I am assured by the "huissiers" that all will be added to the sum I eventually receive, plus interest. We'll see, but I must say that they seem very sure of themselves.

One thing to watch for is the company going into liquidation or recovery - that immediately renders this type of action invalid. If you haven't already done so, look up the company's status on the Infogreffe site:- http://www.infogreffe.fr/infogreffe/index.jsp
and place an alert so you are informed of any change to that status. The site also explains all the procedures for debt recovery, and you can print the relevant form.

I considered the debt recovery agency route, but they weren't very reassuring - they work on a percentage basis and it's obvious that they wouldn't put in much effort for such a small return. As far as I can see from the Tribunal route, the first 38.87 Euros can be lost if your claim is rejected, but if you have a sound basis for it then you're on a sound footing thereafter.

I'm glad you're making a stand - too many people just shrug and write it off, serving only to encourage others to copy them in acts of theft. Mind you, as Lori said, your payment is not very long overdue in French terms so it could be that they'll cough up when they get your letter.

Good luck and let us know how it goes..


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:25
French to English
Great advice Sheila Sep 9, 2008

I didn't mention it as it has never been clear to me if you can go through the Tribunal de Commerce from outside of France ... but definitely worth trying if you get to that point.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

David Twell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:25
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sheila and Lori, you are fantastic! Sep 9, 2008

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my question. It really shows what a caring community this site can be!

I will definitely check out their financial wellbeing on the Infogreffe site and take it from there. I agree it's not all that overdue in French terms and that they may pay up without my having to escalate matters too far. It's just that my experiences of ONADEL, plus a French company I worked for in-house in the UK at the start of my career (where we were often paid our salaries not days but WEEKS late, with no apology) make me determined not to let them win!

I'll keep you both informed of any developments.

Thanks again,
David


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:25
English to French
+ ...
Courts vs. collection agency Sep 9, 2008

Here is a link to a thread from earlier this year: http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/104158-success_stories_about_collecting_money_abroad.html

In the above mentioned thread, it appears that the courts are usually more helpful - and less costly - to collect money than agencies are. I hope the information will be useful to you.

All the best!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:25
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
My own (single) experience of using a debt collector Sep 10, 2008

Hello David,
I've used a UK debt-collecting agency only once for a French debt of a much bigger sum than what you are owed, but with unsatisfactory results. I've described my experience in other forums on Proz so I won't go into details again here, but if you'd like fuller details, please contact me personally.
Best of luck, anyway,
Jenny.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
European small claims procedure Sep 10, 2008

This doesn't help you this time David, as it doesn't come into force until 01/01/09, but it's something that may well be of benefit to many of us:

EU2007.de - EU: Small claims easier to enforce across borders
- [ Traduire cette page ]
EU: Small claims easier to enforce across borders. Colourbox. In future, it will be easier to enforce cross-border claims up to EUR 2000. ...
www.eu2007.de/en/News/Press_Releases/June/0613BMJSmallClaims.html


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxNMR
France
Local time: 09:25
French to Dutch
+ ...
Small claims procedure in France Sep 10, 2008

Have a look in www.infogreffe.fr but also in www.societe.com, which gives more figures. But two or three months isn't strange for France and all translation agencies wire their money at the end of the month. The only thing you can do now is to send a registered letter.

For bigger claims, you can go to a debt collection agency (which takes a part of the collected money; I wonder if they will be willing to work for 10% of 112 euros!) or register an "injonction de payer".

Sheila Wilson wrote:
"injonction de payer" on the company. If the company contests it, you go to court; if they don't contest it and don't pay either, the final round is all automatic - they are taken to court and the money is taken from them, like it or not.

If the company doesn't contest, the "injonction de payer" is automatically transformed in a court decision and you can ask a "huissier" to collect the debt. But: the "huissier" doesn't work for free!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
To NMR Sep 10, 2008

You noted that:
If the company doesn't contest, the "injonction de payer" is automatically transformed in a court decision and you can ask a "huissier" to collect the debt. But: the "huissier" doesn't work for free!

Of course that's true, but the amount you pay in advance for each stage of the process is automatically added to the amount of the claim, along with interest at the national rate. So, assuming the company doesn't go into liquidation (when you have to take your place in the queue and hope there's some left when they get to your claim), you get it all back in the end.

I'll tell you if it doesn't work out that way for me with my current (and first) claim!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxNMR
France
Local time: 09:25
French to Dutch
+ ...
Yes of course Sep 10, 2008

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Of course that's true, but the amount you pay in advance for each stage of the process is automatically added to the amount of the claim, along with interest at the national rate. So, assuming the company doesn't go into liquidation (when you have to take your place in the queue and hope there's some left when they get to your claim), you get it all back in the end.

I don't contest that, but you have to pay the "huissier"'s fixed costs in advance, and if the claim is irrecovable you'll receive nothing.

N.B Please note that 80% of the "injonction de payer" result in payment.


[Modifié le 2008-09-10 07:47]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Simon Mountifield  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:25
French to English
Injonction de payer Sep 10, 2008

Sorry to hear about your problem. Even if the outstanding sum is fairly small, I would chase it up as a matter of principle. It annoys me that a few bad apples think they can get away with not paying.

The people here have already given some excellent advice, and I agree that the "injonction de payer" is probably the most painless and straightforward way to proceed. A couple of years back, I was owed around 1,000 euros - I ended up getting paid (including interest and the huissier's fees). As NMR quite rightly said, you'll have to pay up front for the huissier, but those fees get added to the claim (thanks Sheila), so if all goes well, you'll get that money back. But first, unless I'm mistaken, you'll have to send a "mise en demeure". As far as the "injonction" is concerned, there's a site where you can fill out the application form online, print it and then send it off (only if your agency is registered in Paris - http://www.greffe-tc-paris.fr/index.htm).

Try looking at this post as well, which has come up in the French forum:

http://www.proz.com/forum/french/76012-factures_impayées_client_injoignable.html

Good luck,

Simon


Direct link Reply with quote
 

David Twell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:25
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks so much to everyone! Sep 10, 2008

What a great response from so many people. Thank you all! I'm off to write my "mise en demeure" now...

David


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Simon Mountifield  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:25
French to English
Templates Sep 10, 2008

I'm sure you're perfectly capable, but if you want some ideas for the "mise en demeure", let me know and I'll email you a couple of boilerplates I found on the Internet a while back (pretty handy stuff).

Simon


Direct link Reply with quote
 

David Twell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:25
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Finally a response Sep 10, 2008

There is some good news and some bad news!

The client has just emailed me to ask if a cheque is acceptable and to apologise for the delay. I smell a rat as they could be playing for time in this way. I know that when I have paid foreign cheques into my UK bank account previously I have been charged a fortune in fees and the process has taken weeks, so I really do not want to accept a cheque, especially for a small amount like this. Of course there is also the option that they are in financial trouble and planning to write a bouncing cheque.

I just checked their "bon de commande" and my invoice. There is, of course, information about the 60-day payment term, etc. but no indication as to whether payment should be by bank transfer or cheque. Do you think I am within my rights to insist on a bank transfer rather than a cheque? I realise I should have made this clear on my invoice though.

Thanks,

David


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Non-paying French client and debt recovery fee

Advanced search







SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
Across v6.3
Translation Toolkit and Sales Potential under One Roof

Apart from features that enable you to translate more efficiently, the new Across Translator Edition v6.3 comprises your crossMarket membership. The new online network for Across users assists you in exploring new sales potential and generating revenue.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search