Communication isn’t always as straightforward
When doing international trade with a foreign business partner, communication is one element that is easy to underestimate. This happened to our Dutch client with a French customer.
A major supplier of French cheeses had purchased a machine from our Dutch client. That machinery was used to package the products the company produced. But when the Dutch company sent the invoice, the French customer indicated that they did not want to pay.
With no clear explanation provided, our Dutch client had no idea what the issue was. After several attempts of reaching out to the debtor, it also became clear that communication was a major factor and little progress was made. Our Dutch client was certain they had lost the payment for the machine and had little hope the amount would be recovered. As a final resort, they decided to transfer their case to our experts at the French Desk.
"In international disputes, we regularly see that there is a communication problem because the parties do not speak the same language. Because we approach debtors in their own language, we quickly get to the heart of the problem and find a solution."
Our lawyers at the French Desk then contacted the unpaying customer. It soon became very clear that this was a case of miscommunication. With the help of our lawyers at the French Desk, the staff could now communicate in their own language and identify the core of this dispute.
The machine that was delivered to the French customer, was not what they were looking for and wanted to return the machine. Unfortunately, no cooling-down period was agreed in the contract. This meant that in principle, they were stuck with the purchase. The French customer had tried to make this clear in English to the Dutch supplier. But with little command of English, much of it was lost in translation.
When our French lawyer communicated this back to the client, it turned out that this was not a problem for the Dutch packaging company. After all, the packaging company could easily sell the machine again to another company. In the end, it was agreed that the French customer would pay for all the logistical costs, as well as the additional expenses incurred. Both parties were satisfied with the result and could resume their work.
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Taking legal action may not always be the suitable course of action for your case. With an international business, it could be a matter of miscommunication. With our native-inhouse lawyers, we ensure that miscommunication is no barrier for you. At Bierens there is always a specialist who speaks the same language as your debtor. If you would like to know more about what we can do for you, contact us today for your free consultation.