Surfing in Romania
Fashion & Retail
When dealing with an unpaying debtor, it is important to take immediate action. This ensures that you have enough time to solve a case amicably and take legal action if necessary. If an invoice remains unpaid for too long, it can become difficult to act against your debtor. But sometimes, due to operational changes, management changes or any other unforeseen circumstances, invoices can be overlooked. This happened in 2015 with a Dutch subsidiary of a leading US surf wear and surfboard brand, who had an unpaid invoice dating back to 2010 from a Romanian debtor.
Initially, both parties believed that Romanian law was applicable. Under Romanian law, the statutory limit of three years applies. This would have meant that the invoice expired in 2013. Our Romanian lawyers would then only be able to collect the debt amicably. If the debtor disputed the claim, then there would be no way to legally enforce any proceedings or measures. Our Romanian debt collection lawyer tried to recover the amount without court intervention, but as expected, the debtor contested the claim based on the expiration of the statutory limitation.
That's when our Romanian lawyer had another closer look at the general terms and conditions and spotted an opportunity that would help our client recover the payment they were entitled to.
While both parties assumed that Romanian law was applicable, this was actually not the case. Considering European regulations (Rome I Regulation), our lawyer found that Dutch law was applicable instead. Under Dutch law, invoices have a statutory limit of five years instead of three. While all parties assumed it was too late to take further action, under Dutch law they were right within the time limit.
Once the Romanian debtor was made aware of the legal action our lawyer would proceed with, they saw no other option but to cooperate. Eventually, the debtor paid the entire amount, including all the interest and costs that had accumulated over the past five years.
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When collecting an unpaid invoice, a simple solution may not always exist. Sometimes, complex legal knowledge is required with a deep understanding of European laws. With in-house lawyers from Europe's leading economies, our experts are always aware of the cross-border differences and international laws. With our knowledge, we always strive to find the best solution for you. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.