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Unpaid invoices in international trade

by Nurlan Agayev, Owner and Recovery Specialist, Alterlaw

– Introduction

One of the fields that Alterlaw specializes in is the international debt collection. Recently the Dutch-based legal firm successfully handled a debt collection case between an exporter from Thailand and an importer from the Netherlands. The outcome was that the invoices, which remained unpaid for two years, were paid within ten days.

The Facts

The shipment consisted of fresh galanga, a southeast Asian plant used as spice. It was divided into and carried under multiple air waybills from Bangkok to Amsterdam within a period of five months. The perishable cargo was delivered in proper condition and as agreed.
Having not received any installment of the total amount of the shipment, the Thai exporter first notified the Dutch importer for the payment. The importer had not responded to this first notification for months, until he justified the nonpayment under business issues. He still showed his intention to divide the payment into two terms and fulfill his commitments.

Unfortunately, no payment was made within the periods indicated by the importer despite the exporter’s notifications. After two years and with all the invoices left unanswered, the exporter directly requested the payment for the last time without any response from the Dutch side.

Alterlaw Approach

The Thai company entrusted the case to Alterlaw, in order to handle it within the Netherlands and to collect the outstandings. The company contacted Alterlaw, which wrote a summon letter to the Dutch importer. Based on its no nonsense and hands-on mentality, Alterlaw arranged the case within ten days from the summon letter and achieved to collect the outstandings plus the lawyer’s fee and legal interest.

All these were done on a “no cure no pay” basis that the law firm applies in its practice. With its approach and the legal tools, Alterlaw gave the Dutch importer no other option but to pay the invoices of the Thai exporter and besides this to fully compensate its financial damage.

International Debt Collection

Unpaid invoices and unanswered reminders are very common in the international trade and it can be predicted that they may become the norm in international transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic. When it comes to lockdowns and delays, you may find it hard to have your business done and your transactions paid back. Especially when the other party is located in the other side of the globe.

Alterlaw and its network of lawyers can offer their debt collection services in many countries worldwide. In case you have questions on the international debt collection practice of Alterlaw and its suitability on your business affairs, the law firm is always available to contact.

About the authors

Nurlan Agayev

Nurlan Agayev


Nurlan Agayev is specialist op het gebied van claims, incasso en contracten bij Alterlaw.
Themistoklis Karvounidis

Themistoklis Karvounidis


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