Debt collection in the land of the rising sun
Olivier Nosal – CEO, FILTRAL:
How do you collect a debt of 80,000 euro when everything is against you? An eight-hour time difference, thousands of kilometres and a disagreement about the application of the contract, while continuing to maintain the quality of the business relationship? A balancing act explained by Olivier Nosal, Director Filtral France.
Did your case have a number of difficulties?
Olivier Nosal: It was complicated. Apart from the purely factual constraints related to language and the time difference, my customer was in dispute with us over the application of the contract. However any legal proceedings were excluded, since the cost of a lawyer in Japan is prohibitive, and above all I wanted to maintain our business relationship.
After several attempts, I decided to entrust the matter to Cabinet Arc. I needed a legal approach, a company able to look into the basis of the contracts. I also knew that the intervention of a credit management firm would have a much greater psychological impact.
What was the procedure?
ON: The matter was referred to an international debt collection specialist. It was necessary to have a partner with knowledge of Japan’s legal and cultural environment. Business codes are very different there, you have to be diplomatic, conciliatory, while also standing firm. The negotiations were long-winded and delicate. The firm provided almost daily reports on progress. I had access to a progress report on my client extranet.
Apart from the legal aspects, what role did the negotiations play?
ON: Cabinet Arc played a real mediation role between us. It negotiated the terms of our transaction, an exercise that usually ends in the courts in cases of this type. In the end, I was able to recover almost all the money by negotiating a reasonable schedule of payments. And most importantly, we have maintained our business relations.
“Business codes are very different there, you have to be diplomatic, conciliatory, while also standing firm.”