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European Small Claims Procedure for Italian Client
Thread poster: Roberto Bertuol

Roberto Bertuol  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2007)
Italian to English
+ ...
Apr 27, 2016

Hello everyone,
I am based in UK and have an issue with an Italian customer who does not want to pay. The sum is below Euro 2,000. Does any of you have experience using the European Small Claims Procedure with an Italian customer? It looks pretty straightforward to me, although I am sure there is something I need to watch out for.
Any advice is more than welcome.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 10:37
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Also any information about small claims to China? Apr 27, 2016

Roberto Bertuol wrote:

I am based in UK and have an issue with an Italian customer who does not want to pay. The sum is below Euro 2,000. Does any of you have experience using the European Small Claims Procedure with an Italian customer? It looks pretty straightforward to me, although I am sure there is something I need to watch out for.


Apologize that my topic does not match with the Italian case. I also badly seek the small claim procedures for China [Beijing] as well. This case links China with a big multinational firm whose headquarter is in Europe, though.

Any information would be appreciated.

Soonthon L.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Preparation was all I needed Apr 27, 2016

I investigated its use for a recalcitrant French client. I went through the online submission screens, filling in the forms. At the end you get the choice to submit the claim and/or save it as a PDF for later submission. I saved it and sent it to my client with a note to say that it would be presented to the court on XX/MM/YY. He paid straight away. I'm sure he could see I wasn't going to go away, and he didn't want trouble with the courts.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
@Soonthon Apr 27, 2016

That will be a totally different matter. The European procedure is for when both parties are based in the EU. You aren't, and you must, I believe, sue your client at the address that appears on the invoice. You need to take advice on that.

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Roberto Bertuol  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2007)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Sheila Apr 27, 2016

That's a good tip

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Getting paid Apr 27, 2016

Roberto Bertuol wrote:

Hello everyone,
I am based in UK and have an issue with an Italian customer who does not want to pay. The sum is below Euro 2,000. Does any of you have experience using the European Small Claims Procedure with an Italian customer? It looks pretty straightforward to me, although I am sure there is something I need to watch out for.
Any advice is more than welcome.


There have been about 4 occasions on which an Italian agency (and in one case a direct client) has tried not to pay me. On every occasion I have been able to persuade them, very quickly, that it is in their own best interest to pay me. Contact me privately if you want to know my "technique".

[Edited at 2016-04-27 09:03 GMT]


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2014)
English to German
Same as Sheila Apr 27, 2016

I had a similar situation with a Dutch client who had ignored any of my attempts to contact them (the CEO of the company), they ignored the debt collection agency I had asked to deal with the matter, only when I let them know that papers would be submitted to the European Small Claims Procedure I received an immediate e-mail letting me know that they would pay - and they did.

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Roberto Bertuol  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2007)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Tom Apr 27, 2016

Hi Tom
I sent you a private message
R


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sailingshoes
Local time: 04:37
Spanish to English
Juste tell them... Apr 28, 2016

.. you'll see what you can get for the target document on the market.

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Anne Pinaglia
Netherlands
Local time: 04:37
Member (2011)
Italian to English
+ ...
DO NOT START SMALL CLAIMS May 14, 2016

Speaking from experience, I made the mistake of doing it once. Never again! The procedure is NOT, I repeat, NOT actively operational in Italy, hence by sending the paperwork (and fee) you file a civil claim that requires you to be present (yes, you can waive this, must be in writing at a later date) and you have to have a "bollo" placed on your paperwork (this is ONLY available in Italy, so you must be prepared to have someone in Italy get it for you). If you manage to do all of this, you will likely wait a year for a positive judgement. Once you get your judgement, you essentially get handed a piece of paper that says "you're right, you're owed this money," but there is NO requirement for the other party to pay (I swear, I'm not making this up). With this paper in hand, you then need to hire an Italian attorney to follow through on said judgement, which includes "pignoramento" (seizure of goods) to pay the amount owed. This is a lengthy process as well, and nothing that is essential to the operation of business may be seized. So basically, it's a lot of work for nothing.

I started the procedure in 2012, it's 2016 and I only have the judgement in my favor. I have hired two attorneys, one of which could no longer locate the business, the other found it and the person responsible said they flat out had no intention to pay (assumedly knowing that I would just be going down a dead-end). Said attorney recommended I initiate the seizure procedure with a third attorney. To be honest I don't think I have it in me anymore.

So, with that said, I'm not sure I can offer you a better solution to recover the amount owed, but I strongly advise you to not go the legal route in this case. Italy is still quite far behind in this regard, as is painstakingly clear from the state of its economy.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Well? May 16, 2016

Roberto Bertuol wrote:

Hi Tom
I sent you a private message
R


So Roberto -did you get paid?


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sailingshoes
Local time: 04:37
Spanish to English
Persistence May 17, 2016

I've lived in Italy for some time now, and although I agree with Anne's comments, I haven't had problems here as yet, although payments terms are often ridiculously long.

In the past I have had the odd refusal to pay by clients in other EU countries. I've persisted. I've made it clear that if necessary I will come and sit it my customer's office until they pay me. On one occasion I carried through on the threat, bringing a robust friend (totally harmless, but just doesn't look it). A cheque was made out.

I've worked in translation for over 30 years and I've never once accepted non-payment and have always been paid. If you're more trouble than the job is worth, or can convince the defaulter that you are, you'll be paid.

However, I'm intrigued to hear about Tom's method...


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Roberto Bertuol  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2007)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Success at last May 17, 2016

I finally got paid after pestering them with calls, emailing the admin department etc. Thank you all for your advice and for sharing your experience. Still think that I need to have a strategy in place as this does not happen very frequently, but when it does, it is very stressful...

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
My method May 17, 2016

sailingshoes wrote:

However, I'm intrigued to hear about Tom's method...


Basically, my method consists of:

1. Giving them an unfavourable rating on the Blue Board
2. Telling them I've done that
3. Explaining to them what will happen next, without further notice, unless I receive full payment into my account within X no of days.

I don't explain what will happen next in my own words. I invite them to visit the website of a recovery agency, where all the steps are set out in an escalating scale that begins with a polite phone call and ends with several people coming to your door, unplugging your computers and taking them along with your chairs, your phones, etc.

They usually pay up within a few days. In one case, immediately.The payment usually comes with a rude email.

But for this to work you have to MEAN IT. It has always worked for me because if anyone tries not to pay me, I am not going to mess about.

One last thing: the bad BlueBoard rating stays where it is. The whole point of the BB is to inform other users.

[Edited at 2016-05-17 19:49 GMT]


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Iris Schmerda  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:37
Member (2016)
French to German
+ ...
Interesting method May 18, 2016

"begins with a polite phone call and ends with several people coming to your door, unplugging your computers and taking them along with your chairs, your phones, etc."

Interesting! Which recovery agency offers this kind of service?
So far I have always had the impression that these agencies are rather useless, as they have no legal force ...


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