Friday, 04 November 2016 14:18

Many Rio olympics invoices unpaid despite promises

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They call it the greatest show on Earth. With 11,000 athletes from 207 countries taking part in 306 events, the 2016 Rio Olympics did not disappoint in terms of size, delivering a mammoth festival of sport unrivalled by anything else on the planet. But with mammoth size comes mammoth challenge, namely the gigantic task of organising and running the show. Staging the greatest show on Earth demands one of the biggest logistical operations - and a truly global effort.

Although it falls to the host city of each games to coordinate the operation, much of the work is contracted out. Every four years, a glut of Olympic contracts for everything from building resources to media equipment, architects to multilingual stadium announcers are handed out, with tenders won from all over the world.

Many who secure Olympic contracts are small businesses or freelancers, with a significant number of British firms and personnel involved. Given the size and global reach the operation, there is plenty of scope for glitches to occur - not least keeping on top of payments for so many contracts.

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Delays and late payments

A story from the Associated Press has done the rounds recently describing how hundreds of freelancers and contractors who worked at the Rio games have still not been paid. According to the story, some of those involved are now planning to sue the local organising committee in Rio for the monies owed to them. Many of the contractors involved are media workers, and come from countries all over the globe. Which raises an interesting question - if you have been contracted to work overseas, and payment is not forthcoming, what options do you have?

One is the option flagged up in the Associated Press story - to sue the organisation or people who owe you money. While perhaps the most obvious route, it can also be fraught with challenges, especially if you are looking to take legal action in a foreign court. Aside from the potential costs, there is also the issue of finding a reputable lawyer in the jurisdiction where you did the work, of communicating effectively enough to build a case with someone in a country as far away as Brazil, and also understanding the local legal and judicial system.

If you do not fancy wading through the complexities of seeking a legal redress across jurisdictions, one of the first pieces of advice in debt collection is be patient and try to wait it out. The Rio organising committee has stated that late payments are due to cash flow problems caused by its own sponsors and the IOC not paying in time, and has promised all will be paid in full. This kind of knock-on effect with delayed payments is frustrating but extremely common, and can take time to work through. But given the long running financial issues faced by the Rio organising committee, creditors may want to carefully consider the potential risks in allowing further credit extensions.

Other options

So if you aren’t confident in the ability of the Organising committee to pay and you don’t know any Brazilian lawyers, what other options do you have?  One final option is to find a reputable and well connected debt collection agency. Ideally you need to look for a company based in the UK that has reciprocal arrangements with debt recovery agents operating in other countries.

As with any potential supplier, you need to choose your agency carefully. Look for a company with a proven track record and history, that has clear pricing structures and verifiable references and testimonials. Finding a company with an agent in Brazil means you can pursue the late payment in much the same way you would collect an overdue invoice domestically.

As far as the Olympics contractors go, we happen to have a long standing and successful relationship with a leading collections company working in Brazil. So if you have any unpaid invoices in Brazil or anywhere else around the world, get in touch and we will be happy to discuss your options on a no obligation basis.

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Image "Rio" by flickr user Fabio Maciel shared under the Creative Commons License 2.0