Top 10 European debtor excuses

3 min.

After more than 60 years of debt collection in Europe, we are amazed by the creativity some international debtors display in coming up with “convincing” excuses. This article may convey the impression that our own creative brain went in overdrive, but we assure you: debtors have actually tried to fool us with these remarkable excuses. Feeling ashamed on their behalf, we present: the Top Ten European Debtors’ Excuses.

  1. Summer break

    “No, I cannot pay. The location of my company is in a skiing area and is only open in winter. As it is summer now, I have no source of income.” What about his beach resort on the Mediterranean coast then? Is that resort also only operational in winter? – France
  2. Expectant

    You may be faced with different rules and procedures in Europe, but how to explain a pregnancy that lasts twice as long? “I cannot pay right now, unfortunately, because I am about to give birth.” A little later we contacted this debtor again to settle payment. “That’s not possible, I am heavily pregnant.” “Still? “”Yes, no, yes still.” Although this constitutes a unique and remarkable medical situation, we still do not see how this would prevent someone from transferring a payment. – Spain
  3. Mia famiglia

    Italians highly value their family connections. These relations are so strong, that even business agreements are affected by the “nonna” and “fratello” of your business partner. Therefore, do not be surprised if you have to wait a bit longer for your money, because your Italian partner still owes money to his grandmother. It may also happen that a defaulting brother can be the reason for overdue invoices. “My brother still owes me money. As soon as I receive that money, I will transfer it to your company.”– Italy
  4. Surprise party

    A friend of a French debtor informed us that the debtor had moved to another country. Which country, the girlfriend could state with certainty. That someone would not share such information with his friends, we considered to be suspicious, to say the least. Therefore, we sent a bailiff to investigate. Only the confetti was missing when the bailiff rang the doorbell at the debtor’s original address in Paris and came face to face with the debtor. Surprise! – France
  5. Thank you very much, please

    The Brits are known for their extremely polite and correct behavior, but they definitely have a sarcastic edge too. One of our clients had been waiting for some time for payment of his invoices. The British business partner assured our client time and again that it was “top priority” and that “he was doing all he could to effect a transfer of payment as soon as possible.” That this concerned a sarcastic debtor who had absolutely no intention of paying, eventually became clear to our client. – England
  6. On a tout le temps

    Terms of payment? No, there is no need to hurry, according to this French debtor. After a sizeable invoice had remained unpaid for six months, one of our clients handed the claim over to us for collection. We immediately contacted the debtor and asked why he had not paid yet. “But six months is not that long, is it?”, the debtor claimed. “I do not understand why the creditor could not wait a little longer.” – France
  7. Modern times

    We all remember the days when you needed to connect by telephone in order to go on the internet and send emails. In those days, it would have been credible that there would not be an immediate response to an email. Today, the internet is omnipresent. So our Belgian debtor indicating that he could not respond to his email because he was abroad was not a plausible story. It became even less plausible when the Belgian debtor informed us of this impediment by email. – Belgium
  8. Banks are closed

    “I would really like to transfer the money right away, but my bank is the problem. I will contact them immediately.” The problems the banks faced were serious: due to the crisis, all banks were closed and transactions were frozen. This would have been an absolutely plausible excuse, other than that this only concerned banks in Greece. In the country of this empathetic debtor, such a situation did not exist at that time. – Denmark
  9. Más tarde

    Telephone contact is often the most effective method of contact in dealing with a defaulting debtor. Due to the time difference, our attorneys sometimes have to make calls at what are nocturnal hours to us. It gets more complicated when it turns out that the debtor’s financial department is not open during the afternoon. Especially if, when we subsequently call in the morning and the office hours have been changed again to the afternoon. – Spain
  10. Falling over oneself to pay

    Debtors are generally quite adamant about it; they want to pay but circumstances beyond their control always throw a spanner in the works. For instance, there was an Italian debtor who, good-humoredly, was already on his way to the bank. He was only a few meters removed from the bank and he felt the check burning in his inside pocket, when disaster struck. He tripped. He did his utmost to break his fall, so he could get to the bank as soon as possible. During this fall, however, he not only broke both his arms but also all his fingers. Of course we understood that he was deeply disappointed that he would not be able to sign the check until several weeks later. – Italy

European Debtor Excuses

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