Let’s see those damaged car tyres!
If your debtor refused to pay an invoice claiming that the quality of the goods is insufficient, always ask for evidence. We frequently see that debtors try to avoid payment by claiming that the delivered goods are of poor quality, with no evidence or real complaints.
The German tyre dealer sold used and reconditioned tyres to a tyre dealer in the Netherlands, which in turn resold the tyres. The two companies had been doing business with each other for over a year when suddenly the Dutch company stopped paying.
In total, more than €30.000,- worth of invoices was outstanding with the Dutch company. The German creditor tried to get in touch with the debtor, but unfortunately with no result. An additional problem was that the employees of the German company did not speak Dutch.
The case was taken up by our Dutch lawyer who together with our German lawyer immediately sent a reminder to the Dutch debtor, urging them to pay the outstanding invoices. Now that a letter from a law firm had arrived, the debtor suddenly felt the urge to respond. A response soon arrived on behalf of the Dutch company stating that they had a good reason not to pay: the car tyres they had bought did not meet the applicable quality standards. In fact, they had received many complaints about the quality of the car tyres. According to the Dutch debtor, this had caused them considerable damage. Many tyres were returned and couldn’t be sold further. The damage amounted to €30.000,-. As this was equal to the outstanding invoice amount, they argued they were not obliged to pay.
Since it was impossible to find a solution amicably, our German client decided to initiate legal proceedings. A lawsuit was filed against the Dutch debtor to recover the outstanding invoice through court. During the hearing, the case was dealt with in Dutch. Since our German client did not understand the language, our German lawyers also acted as an interpreter.
In court, the judge asked about the damages suffered by the Dutch company. They had not submitted any evidence of this. No report, no pictures of the broken car tyres: nothing was sent to the judge. The judge, in turn, was curious about the damage and suggested that our lawyers see the damages for themselves.
At that point, the Dutch debtor became extremely nervous and made excuses to avoid the visit. it soon became clear why, as there was no evidence of the damage suffered, not even after the judge had given the Dutch debtor the possibility to provide evidence of the damaged goods. Since no evidence was found, the Dutch debtor had to pay €30.000,-.
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Do you also have a payment conflict with your trading partner that you would like to solve as soon as possible? Then please do not hesitate to contact us. Our specialised lawyers will be pleased to advise you in your specific situation.