Let's Get Started

Tell us about your debt in just a few minutes.

World map with connecting currency
back to articles

What is the process for international debt collection?

Are you struggling to get paid by an overseas customer? Give yourself the best chance of success with our handy explainer on how the international debt collection process works.

Our super-connected world has empowered many more companies to trade internationally. However, with extra opportunity comes added risk. What happens if one of your overseas customers fails to settle an overdue debt? With potential language, cultural and legal barriers as well as geographical ones, international debt recovery can be more complex and challenging than dealing with a defaulting debtor in the UK.

Stage one – working the case from the UK

When it comes to international debt collection, it is sometimes possible to get results without having to involve a third party. A professional debt collection agency will typically pursue every possible avenue to recover the debt from the UK, including calling, texting and emailing the debtor during business hours in their time zone.

Stage two – bringing in a local agent

If all their efforts to recover the debt prove fruitless, the agency will then contact a partner agency based in the debtor’s area of jurisdiction and instruct them to attempt collection.

It’s often the case that simply contacting a debtor locally, using their native language, is enough to get them to pay up. If more action is needed, the partner agency will have a good understanding of local legislation and debt collection protocols. That means they can ensure that procedures are followed correctly, therefore maximising the chance of achieving a positive outcome.

What about legal enforcement?

First of all, a debt collection agency will do some research to decide if legal action needs to be taken in the UK or overseas. It’s a common misconception that legal proceedings against an overseas debtor can only be instigated in the country where the debtor trades or resides. In fact, in some cases it’s possible to litigate in the UK for an overseas debt. For example if the terms of business or sales contract states that disputes are to be settled via the courts in their own country.

If legal action is not possible or advisable in the UK, the debt collection agency’s local partner will be able to provide expert support in instigating proceedings. Their understanding of local legislation will ensure that everything is done correctly and you have the best chance of achieving a successful outcome.

Is it time to get professional help?

If you’re not confident in dealing with an international debt, it makes sense to bring in the professionals. A good debt collection agency will not only have experience and expertise in international debt recovery; they’ll also have a network of trusted overseas debt collection partners who can provide local presence, the ability to speak the customer’s language and knowledge of the relevant territorial legislation and commercial environment.

International debt collection experts

At Redwood Collections, we provide a comprehensive debt collection service, both in the UK and overseas. In the first instance, we’ll do everything we can to chase debtors and recover debts directly from the UK. If this doesn’t get results, we’ll take things to the next level, involving one of our trusted overseas partners, who can provide valuable support locally. With Redwood Collections on your side, you can trade internationally with confidence to help your business Grow Stronger.

Skyscrapers connected by foot bridge

How can we help?

From one-off bad debts to ledgers that require more regular attention, we’re here for you.

Tell us how we can help your business, please complete this form.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.