Using debt collectors
Thread poster: Jenny Forbes

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:09
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Jan 25, 2007

have any "Prozies" had experience of using debt collectors? I resorted to using one last year for the first time, to collect a large overdue debt from a French agency. The firm I used was recommended to me because it specialised in foreign debt. They charged 15% of any funds I received as from the date of our agreement, but they proved to be most unsatisfactory. For a start they put a woman who didn't speak French on to my case. Ultimately I did receive part of the funds owed, mainly due to my own efforts and because I visited the agency in person while I was in France. The debt collectors refused to send me a report on what they had done for me and on how matters stood, although their terms stated that they would keep me regularly updated. Ultimately they caused me nearly as much frustration as the defaulting agency - and I still had to pay them the 15% because I had agreed to do so. I hope never to be in that situation again, but I'd be interested to hear the experiences of any ProZ members on this subject.

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xxxPRen  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:09
French to English
+ ...
How about using a lawyer? Jan 25, 2007

Hi Jenny, as you say, it was a large amount. Rather than giving a collection agency (with what sounds like dubious practices) 15% of a fairly large chunk of money, it would probably be less expensive to have a lawyer send a demand letter to the client stating that unless payment is received by X date, legal action will commence. I'm pretty sure a letter from a lawyer threatening to take them to court would serve as a greater impetus to pay, and prove that you're very serious about getting your money.

Paula


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:09
English to French
+ ...
Maybe it's better to use a debt collector in the country of the bad payer Jan 25, 2007

I've never had to use one, but I think that I would choose a debt collector operating in the same country as the non payer. This way you ensure that there will be no misunderstanding or language problem on their side.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:09
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you both Jan 26, 2007

Thank you, Paula and Nordiste, for your answers.
You're right. With hindsight, I can see that using that debt collector was not such a good idea, but I was getting a bit desperate and had been advised that using a lawyer in the UK for a debt in another country would be prohibitively expensive. If the debt had been in the UK I'd have gone to the Small Claims Court.
I was hoping to hear from members about actual experience of using a debt collector. However, as I've received only two replies, I guess no-one has used such a firm recently.
I hope never to be in that situation again - indeed, one of my main reasons for joining ProZ was to avoid dodgy agencies in future. But it's turned out to have many other enjoyable and useful features too.
Jenny.


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