International debt collection: How the EOS Cross-border Center works.
Although international trade boosts a country’s economy, it also creates a problem: outstanding invoices. By establishing its Cross-border Center 10 years ago, EOS found a way to recover receivables across national borders.
- International debt collection is much more time-consuming and complicated than recovering debts in your own country. But you no longer need to write off your international receivables.
- For more than 10 years, the EOS Cross-border Center has been helping its clients get their international invoices paid.
- The team has the support of an international network of reliable partners, offering expertise in more than 180 countries.
Pet owners – and there are plenty of them in his native Holland – create the most work for Raymond Pappot. “They often buy products online that they cannot find here, especially from German stores,” says Raymond. In the meantime, Raymond knows thousands of these consumers by name, and every day a few more are added. Because on behalf of a German online retailer, EOS passes on to Pappot the outstanding invoices that Dutch customers have yet to pay, and it is his job to recover the debts. Raymond, who lives and works in Almere, 25 kilometers from Amsterdam, has been running a debt collection business since 1988. In 2015 he got a phone call from Romina Rosiello-Ene, who recruited him as a partner for the EOS Global Collection Network. Since then he has also been extremely successful in recovering the debts of German creditors that are clients of EOS DID.
“A lot of people order things from other countries and then don’t pay, for whatever reason,” says Romina, Senior Manager International Relations & Solutions at EOS. But even under these circumstances, they soon receive a reminder letter from a debt collection service in their own country and in their own language. “This is the strength of the EOS Global Collection Network,” says Romina: “With the help of our international partners we can recover debts all over the world.”
Companies no longer have to give up on their international receivables.
Romina Rosiello-Ene helped to establish and develop the EOS Cross-border Center: “Of course, international debt collection is nothing new,” she says. But in many places, receivables management is very labor-intensive and complicated. “You need to determine where the debtor is, then find a local partner to take over the case. You also need to send files and ensure that you comply with the statutory regulations of each country,” she continues. That involves more effort than some companies are capable of or even want to make. “This is why many companies ultimately give up on their receivables.”
With the help of the EOS Cross-border Center, these creditors no longer need to write off their debts, because the Center substantially reduces the work involved in receivables management by finding permanent partners in each country, like Raymond Pappot in the Netherlands, and through a technical innovation, the “EOS Global Collection” online portal.
This is where the local partners of the creditors can enter all the relevant information about a case: name and address of the defaulting payers, amount of receivable and interest, invoices and reminders, and entire files. Using a country code, the platform automatically passes the case on to the relevant specialist in the country concerned, who then recovers the debts locally. This allows EOS partners and customers to follow the progress of a case in real time, from acceptance of the collection order to completion of the recovery process.
The greatest conflicts in international debt collection occur due to cultural differences and different mentalities.
International debt collection with high quality standards.
“The greatest conflicts in international debt collection occur due to cultural differences and different mentalities,” says Romina. “Collection agents working in international recovery therefore need to be sensitive to these aspects.” This is why in the platform they also have access to a lot of useful tools that are important for local knowledge, like the ‘Global Wiki’, which lists the legal specifics, peculiarities and ‘good to knows’ for many countries. “We only enter into an alliance if the partner is prepared to work with the platform,” says Romina. “It is the very keystone of our work.”
To ensure that the interaction between the various countries works smoothly, EOS has developed quality standards for its partners. The Cross-border Center makes sure that they know and adhere to these standards. The center offers the partners advice and support and hosts webinars, workshops and training programs all over the world. This means that even those cases that previously seemed futile can still be resolved. One such example is SkyToll, a supplier of on-board units (OBUs) for toll collection in Slovakia.
Truck drivers using Slovakian freeways need to pay tolls. They carry a toll device on board (OBU) that records their route and calculates the tolls. Payment is made afterwards. The problem is that a lot of freight forwarders do not pay their invoices, and recovering the receivables is often complicated, as 70 percent of SkyToll customers come from other countries, primarily from Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. To get the money back from all these places single-handedly is a mammoth task. For years, SkyToll had to simply watch its outstanding invoices pile up. The company’s financial situation was deteriorating. And at some point, it was obvious that this situation could not continue. SkyToll needed help from an experienced service provider to collect the money from the defaulting payers, and it opted to work with EOS KSI in Slovakia.
In 2015, EOS took over about 16,500 SkyToll cases, many of them up to two years old. “It was an endeavor that even SkyToll itself did not have much faith in at first,” says EOS KSI Head of Sales Peter Hettes. “SkyToll found it hard to imagine that we would manage to recover the outstanding debts.” But the results exceeded expectations, as 40 percent of cases were successfully resolved. “Today, SkyToll is one of our best cross-border customers,” says a delighted Peter.
It’s a huge advantage to be part of it. It enhances my firm’s reputation and our profile as an international player.
Many partners in one network.
In the Netherlands, 1,200 kilometers away, Raymond Pappot and his team can meanwhile resolve out of court as many as 90 percent of the several thousands of cases they handle for EOS every year. “This reduces the costs for both parties,” says Raymond. The EOS Global Collection Network is the main reason why he is so successful. “It’s a huge advantage to be part of it, as it enhances the reputation of my firm and our profile as an international player.” Because in the Netherlands, EOS is well established as a reputable and reliable debt collection service provider. “People know that they can trust us,” says Raymond. “The logo alone opens doors.” Accordingly, business is going well for Raymond. So well, that last year he had yet another telephone call from Romina, who was pleased to inform him that he was now an EOS “Preferred Partner”, an exclusive designation for those debt collection partners of the Cross-border Center that are particularly effective and trustworthy.
The Cross-border Center itself is also constantly improving and growing. “In 2010 we started up with 26 internal and external partners,” Romina recalls. “Now we have 83.” They all ensure that receivables claims can be enforced in more than 180 countries via the EOS Global Collection Platform. The results speak for themselves. In ten years, EOS Global Collection partners processed 400,000 cross-border cases worldwide and achieved the settlement of outstanding invoices worth more than €100 million. And there’s more to come. The demand for international collections in the B2C and B2B segments is growing rapidly, in the Netherlands, in Slovakia, and all over the world.
Do you too have outstanding international receivables? Then get in touch with us!
Photo credits: Henning Ross (4), Benne Ochs