Possible insolvency of agencies
Thread poster: Astrid Elke Witte

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:43
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Mar 4, 2005

I wondered if there is any way to find out whether an agency has become insolvent. I do not how regular an occurrence it is anyway, for that to happen, but I assume that, if there is a way to find out, it is an unfortunate necessity to be equipped with such information, in order to be able to tell whether they won't pay or can't pay the invoices.

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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:43
German to English
+ ...
I depends on whether they are really a company... Mar 4, 2005

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I wondered if there is any way to find out whether an agency has become insolvent. I do not how regular an occurrence it is anyway, for that to happen, but I assume that, if there is a way to find out, it is an unfortunate necessity to be equipped with such information, in order to be able to tell whether they won't pay or can't pay the invoices.


One way of finding out (in Germany) is by inspecting the commercial register (=Einsicht in das Handelsregister). This won't work, however, if the company in question is not (required to be) registered there, such as is the case with a GBR (=Gesellschaft des bürgerlichen Rechts = partnership under the German Civil Code).

Companies that file for bankruptcy must make this publically known by publishing the news in a special gazette (cf. § 9 InsO = Insolvency Statute, a translation into English can be found here: http://www.iuscomp.org/gla/statutes/InsO.htm#s9 ).

You can also inquire at the competent Insolvency Court, i.e. the Amtsgericht (there is quite a debate about how to properly translate the name of this German court - local/municipal/trial court) where the company is seated. At least they will be able to better inform you where to find the information you are looking for.



[Edited at 2005-03-04 18:35]


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Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 23:43
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Downpayment Mar 4, 2005

I ask myself if we could ask for a downpayment.
Why not?


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 04:43
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
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You could ask for downpayment, Mar 4, 2005

I suppose, but whether anybody will agree to it is another question.
You can see our BB record, but we NEVER had paid a translator upfront and will not do it.

Best Regards

Uldis
yonna wrote:

I ask myself if we could ask for a downpayment.
Why not?


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:43
Member (2004)
English to Polish
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Upfront payment Mar 4, 2005

Uldis Liepkalns wrote:

I suppose, but whether anybody will agree to it is another question.
You can see our BB record, but we NEVER had paid a translator upfront and will not do it.


Well, that's agency approach.
However, it is not at all uncommon for direct clients to pay upfront full amount or a portion of it. Actually, I was also offered a downpayment from an agency who contacted me for the first time and I do request it ocassionally if I don't know the client. It is certainly not very frequent, but it's a good business practice.

Magda

[Edited at 2005-03-04 23:05]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:43
Member (2002)
German to English
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TOPIC STARTER
I had wondered if there were any lists that could be consulted Mar 5, 2005

Thanks, Derek. I had wondered if there were any lists that could be consulted regarding possible insolvency, just as there are lists regarding the payment reputation of agencies and/or companies in general, but I guess, as you say, the only thing is probably the Commercial Register.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:43
English to German
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No easy answer Mar 5, 2005

Hi Astrid,
There's no easy answer to that question, mainly for the following reasons:

- as already mentioned, the situation of sole traders may be more difficult to trace compared to companies (having said that, a sole trader's liability covers all his/her personal assets);

- company registers work differently in different countries - it's sometimes difficult to get online information. There are good resources, though - the UK Companies House website is a good example.

But the real issue here is that, by the time such information reaches an official register, it's far too late - by that time, the information will have spread in the market anyway. What you should be aiming for is to anticipate problems - in my experience, many victims of insolvency worked for the defaulting party just before the default.

Admittedly, not an easy task - that's why I require 30-40% in advance from unknown customers.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:43
German to English
+ ...
Some risks can not be excluded, but they can sometimes be mitigated. Mar 5, 2005

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Admittedly, not an easy task - that's why I require 30-40% in advance from unknown customers.


Thank you for clarifying that, Ralf. This seems reasonable considering the current "Zahlungsmoral" in Germany (and other places).

I would also suggest organizing (streamlining) your debt collection, if you haven't done so already, so that your claims receive the best possible ranking if the contractual partner does go bankrupt.


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