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Debt collection: what to do to get the money owed?

Home > French Business Law | Published 2014-11-18

Debt collection

Trade relations can give rise to many disputes: sudden rupture of a listed long-term relationship, poor performance of the service provided or default in connection with a sale or service delivery.

In case of dispute with a contractor linked to an outstanding problem, the initial instinct is to try to make amicable recovery of the debt. Demanding payment of amounts owed by a negotiation often leads to a constructive dialogue to identify the reasons for the dispute, such as temporary financial difficulties of your trading partner. The provision of simple payment terms then solves the conflict.

When necessary, the attorney may charge for sending a notice to your contractor, including certain mandatory elements and powerful arguments. It is also not uncommon to conduct a transaction by which the parties agree to pay a certain amount to avoid litigation.

Judicial remedies in case of default

If amicability is still the preferred route, it may not lead to a satisfactory result based on the other party in front of you.

The complexity of the case will depend on the choice of appropriate procedure.  Refusing to seriously challenge a claim may be the subject of an action for interim relief, provided they also understand the urgency of the situation. A Referee may thus allow for obtaining interim measures such as a provision, in an amount equal to all or part of the claim.

It is also possible to apply for an order for payment for the issuance of a writ of execution. This then entitles the creditor to obtain payment of his debt, for example by a seizure of assets creditor.

In contrast, when the very existence of the claim or its amount is disputed by the other party, it may be necessary to assign it to the courts to obtain payment of the amounts due and possible damages. This will then demonstrate that the claim is certain and payable and the amount can be measured, which is something your attorney will be able to handle.

Guard against trade disputes

Many disputes can be avoided or, if need be, resolved smoothly when the contractual relationship was cleverly organized. A well-written contract, including appropriate clauses anticipating the resolution of disputes, can allow all parties to avoid lengthy and costly procedures.

Also, do not forget to provide safeguards, such as bank guarantees or retention of title clauses, in order to guard against the risk of insolvency so to not endanger your own business.

Protecting your business is essential. Surround himself with the advice of a debt collection expert; which ensures the implementation of appropriate procedures and a peaceful settlement of your situation.

This article is available online for public information purposes. It is updated regularly, as needed. Due to the constant evolution of the laws and the legal system, we cannot guarantee that the information in this article is still applicable. We invite you to contact us with any legal questions or concerns you have regarding this topic at +33 1 56 79 11 00. In no way can this firm be held liable for articles that contain inaccuracies or are now out of date.

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