It is often a challenge for foreign companies (North American, European and Asian businesses alike) to collect a debt in Latin America.
One of the most efficient and effective alternatives in debt collection in Latin America, is negotiating a settlement between creditor and debtor.
A settlement deal contains either (i) a one-time payment, with a discount, as full and final settlement, (i) a payment plan with periodic payments, or (iii) a compensation which could be return of materials or products, or otherwise; or a combination of the three options mentioned.
We strongly recommend foreign businesses to consider looking for settlement deals when they have overdue invoices to collect from clients in Latin America.
Here is why.
Getting your payment faster through a settlement deal
Closing a settlement deal with a client who owes you payment for overdue invoices will result in faster payment; either as a full and final settlement payment or through a payment plan reached. Continuing to chase your debtor without looking for a settlement may take substantially longer, let alone looking for the legal alternative, which may take years before there is a verdict and which is a far from tempting alternative as we will explain below.
Settlement in debt collection to avoid legal
By looking for a settlement deal, you vow by an amicable solution and thus legal action is avoided. If the debtor does not pay its overdue invoices and legal is the only alternative left, in Latin America the creditor will need to start legal proceedings locally (so in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Brazil; wherever your debtor is located). Generally, legal proceedings in Latin America are very unattractive (they are costly, proceedings are extraordinary long and often incomprehensible to foreign business, and sometimes legal systems are just frankly dysfunctional) or practically impossible (the paperwork is not compatible with local regulations and legislation, or the claim lacks the requirements to effectively enforce legally). Any alternative to avoid legal action should be taken very seriously. And looking for a settlement is a great alternative to get paid and avoid legal.
Settling debts can be a commercial trigger
Negotiating a settlement means that creditor and debtor are on speaking terms. It keeps the door open for continuation of the commercial relationship and often it can even boost recovery or reinforcement of the commercial relationship. This is especially the case once a settlement deal is reached. Through settlement negotiations, apart from working on a deal to collect your money, you also work on the commercial relationship.
Settlements are an efficient and effective method for debt collection in Latin America. The advantages are that closing a settlement deal with the debtor results in faster payments, negotiating and reaching a settlement means avoiding legal proceedings, and finally, the settlement approach can be a commercial trigger and help recovering or reinforcing the relationship with your client.
Cobroamericas is a provider of international debt collection services and focuses on collections in Latin America and the Caribbean. If you are interested in learning more or discussing issues in connection with a settlement approach for debt collection in Latin America, please connect with Cobroamericas on Linked-In or follow us on Twitter.
To participate in the conversation about debt collection in Latin America please join the Linked-In Group Debt Collection Latin America.