Suing a Spanish agency from abroad for payment or other measures?
Thread poster: BangkokRimping
BangkokRimping
Thailand
Jan 24, 2015

Hello Colleagues in Spain:

There is a Spanish agency client that owes me approximately 500 EUR and is four months overdue in payment. Despite assuring me at the start of our collaboration that he would pay my invoices on time, he claims that they are experiencing liquidity issues and this is common in Spain. In my opinion, this is an absurdly irresponsible way to run a business.

I have emailed and called to demand payment immediately on several occasions and he now refuses to take my calls/does not respond to emails. Other than using the Proz BlueBoard, what measures can I take? I wonder if it would be possible to sue him from abroad and if so, if the amount would make it worth it.

This is extremely frustrating. Thanks for any tips.


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:47
German to Swedish
+ ...
European payment order Jan 25, 2015

If you're in the EU (as your signature indicates you're not!), the European payment order is a good place to start.

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/judicial_cooperation_in_civil_matters/l16023_en.htm


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same old same old Jan 25, 2015

Unfortunately, this story sounds all-too-familiar. Many agencies and other small businesses in Spain seem to operate on a "wing-and-a-prayer" basis and it is quite likely that this one really is having liquidity problems - perhaps their clients haven't paid them and if they have offices etc, the upkeep is often too much for smaller concerns to keep going.

As I see it, the cost and effort involved in trying to retrieve a sum of 500 euros would also probably outweigh the worth of the outstanding debt.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Please alert others Jan 25, 2015

Whatever else you do, it would be kind of you to rate this client on the Blue Board and let us all know about these liquidity problems. It could save others suffering the same fate. If he already has a record it might be worth contacting reviewers, particularly in Spain, for more information.

Cash-flow problems are common here, but it's also a common excuse used by unscrupulous businesses to postpone or even avoid paying their suppliers.

A very official looking letter on legal paper might get this client to understand that you aren't going away and might get him to pay. Maybe a lawyer wouldn't charge too much for that.

But before you spend more time or money, check that he is still solvent. Nobody can get money from an insolvent business, not even the courts. I believe details are available online (for a fee) but I can't remember the name of the site offhand (on my phone, sorry). I'll look later if someone else hasn't provided it.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Blueboard Jan 25, 2015

Another vote for adding this company with a low LWA score to the Blueboard. This way you will help others not fall in the same trap. Thank you in advance!

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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:47
German to Swedish
+ ...
Liquidity is relative Jan 25, 2015

neilmac wrote:

As I see it, the cost and effort involved in trying to retrieve a sum of 500 euros would also probably outweigh the worth of the outstanding debt.


Cost (but not time) is usually recovered if the client pays.

If there are actual liquidity problems but the company generates at least some cash, it will pay the bills that it can't avoid paying: electricity, rent and so on. It will also pay suppliers where nonpayment would affect the company's credit rating and put the company's name in lists of defaulters shared among banks. This is the case if a debt recovery proceeding is initiated and the company doesn't pay (or contest).

So if the liquidity problems are real, you must have priority to get paid.
You get priority by starting a formal small claims procedure.


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Elizabeth Joy Pitt de Morales  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:47
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Please Jan 26, 2015

Please rate this client on the Blue Board as a courtesy to your fellow ProZians. The way to stop these deadbeats is to let everyone know who they are. There are other internet sites and lists where you can post this info as well, and doing so may be just the motivation the client needs to pay what is owed.

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