In international trade, problems involving bad debts are more easily avoided than rectified after they occur. Credit checks and services such as the international company profile can also limit the risks.
When payment problems occur, answer the following questions before seeking outside help or filing an insurance claim:
1. Have you contacted the buyer to determine the problem?
2. Have you attempted to negotiate a mutually agreed solution to the problem?
3. Have you supplied the goods/services as per the contract, invoice, letter of credit?
4. Is there an issue of quality or price?
5. Are all your shipping and customs documents in order?
6. Was there damage or theft?
7. Have you tried to work out delayed payment terms with the buyer?
8. Have you discussed your problem with your bank? With a lawyer?
9. Have you exhausted all efforts to obtain payment from the foreign buyer?
10. Do you have copies of all correspondence and records related to the dispute?
If negotiations fail and the sum involved is large enough to warrant the effort, a company should obtain the assistance and advice of its bank, legal counsel, and other qualified experts.
The ICC handles the majority of international arbitration and is usually acceptable to foreign companies because it is not affiliated with any single country. For information contact the vice president for arbitration, U.S. Council of the International Chamber of Commerce, telephone 212-354-4480
The Advocacy Center at the U.S. Department of Commerce puts the resources and authority of the U.S. government behind your team in pursuit of international contracts or other U.S. export opportunities.
Commercial Service Overseas Offices
The U.S. Commercial Service has offices located in Embassies and Consulates in over 80 countries worldwide to provide on-the-ground assistance to U.S. companies facing trade and export-related issues.
The U.S. Foreign Agriculture Service has offices located in U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world.