International clients that don’t pay – overdue export invoices

As exporting company you try to make the best payment arrangement with your overseas customers. But they do not always pay in advance, and then there is the risk of non-payment. What to do?

First: try to avoid this nasty situation

Non-payment is something that can not be avoided. But you can reduce the risk for it, with some relatively simple measures:

  • Ask for documentation about the company: its business registration certificate, something that shows the authority of the person who signs the contract, a simple proof of address like a bank statement or utilities invoice header.
  • Google the company name together with words as ‘fraud’ or ‘fake’.
  • Have a local party do a quick background check. They may find what you can’t see from abroad.
  • Ask for at least a (small) partial payment in advance. This way you know for sure what company you are dealing with, and also that your contact person has the authority to get this through.
  • Work with banks or third-party payment providers that your client should pay in advance, but that will only release the money to you when they receive the goods.

But you can’t exclude all risks and sometimes there is just bad luck in play.

Let us contact your debtors

Of course the first step is to contact your clients yourself and send a few reminders. And you may get some excuses. But if payment remains overdue, it may be good if one of our team members in your client’s country makes a call. We get more easy past receptionists and secretaries, and we know which excuses are valid or not. If there really is a problem with your delivery, then we consult with them what needs to be done to resolve this.

Please note we are not just a collection agency. We have highly experienced commercial people who focus on really resolving the problem and turning a non-paying customer back into a happy customer.

Consider legal steps

If your client still is unwilling to pay without any good reason, then we can assist you in further steps. First of all the jurisdiction is important: under what law the delivery agreement is made. If it’s the law of your own country, then you can litigate there, but you will have to send formal notices using the system of your client’s country. If the contract is under his law, then it becomes more difficult and you will need a local lawyer. We can help you find the right people.

You can hire us by the hour

Our involvement doesn’t need to take too much time. You can hire us by the hour based on an hourly fee. We charge a minimum of three hours per job, which always includes:

  • A first call with you to fully understand the problem and what you have done so far
  • Background research on your client/debtor, which we can do using local resources
  • Contacting the right people
  • Providing you clear feedback and suggestions for next actions

Just contact us and learn what we can do for you.

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