Recovering debt from abroad
Thread poster: Stuart Hoskins

Stuart Hoskins
Local time: 14:32
Czech to English
+ ...
Dec 17, 2009

I think an agency in another EU country is sinking and they owe me a lot of money. How should I proceed (considering I can't speak the language of that country)? Any advice welcome.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Some ideas Dec 17, 2009

If they are going into liquidation, then the only thing you can do is to ensure that your claim is considered along with all the rest - unfortunately, yours is going to be below many others because employees, services (phone, electricity, ...), major suppliers etc all get their share first. You should send an official reminder by registered post to their registered office and hopefully (normally) that should find its way to the official receiver, who should send you a claim form.

Most countries have an official register of companies and you should be able to obtain up-to-date information on the company, normally for a fee. In France you can record an interest in a company and be sent notification of any change or event automatically. You only have to pay to see the details.

If they are just trying to avoid paying, there's the European Small Claims Court for smallish sums. For larger sums you would have to hire lawyers or debt collection agencies. Whatever you do, don't pay for them if you think the agency is going under as you'll just be throwing good money after bad.

Good luck
Sheila


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Ansgar Knirim  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:32
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
European order for payment Dec 17, 2009

Please take a look here:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/judicialatlascivil/html/epo_information_en.htm

This describes the standard procedure of collecting debts from other EU-countries.

However, I am afraid this procedure will not help you much if the agency is insolvent.

Best regards and good luck,

Ansgar


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 14:32
German to English
+ ...
Secured/unsecured creditors Dec 17, 2009

Sheila, why should major suppleirs get paid first? Only employees (and usually the revenue and social insurance) automatically get priority (and importantly, get paid in full first), then come secured creditors (usually the bank) and then the unsecured creditors, who could be both large and small suppleirs, and they are all treated equally, i.e., in broad terms, get the same percentage of their debt paid out of any assets remaining.

Having said that, it's pretty obvious there will porbably be a good few creditors ahead of Stuart, so doesn't look good. Stuart needs to keep an eye on what is happening, press for payment but if the agency goes under, you need to get registered as a creditor (the receiver will want proof), and then there are all sorts of procedures, most of which will normally not cost you much if anything What I've said will be true for most if not all EU countries.

[Edited at 2009-12-17 18:53 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
@ David Dec 17, 2009

David Wright wrote:
Sheila, why should major suppliers get paid first?


Well, actually, I'm just passing on what a French lawyer acting as receiver said to me. He accepted my claim, which was for 350 €, but said that I wouldn't get anything as the services and major suppliers had to be paid first and there probably wouldn't be anything left.

He was right, too! Not a centime for little old me! So I imagine it wasn't a straight percentage payment, even though I know there wasn't much money to hand out, the company owner having run off with all she could take just before the bailiffs arrived and having spent most of it before the police caught up with her and her four-year-old son.


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Opportunity knocks Dec 18, 2009

If the agency is going under then their (former) clients will be looking for another translation supplier. Your experience and TMs may give you the inside track when it comes to winning the account. Start talking to the end-client!

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Recovering debt from abroad

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