Following on from part one "Going Dutch: Contractor Debt Recovery in the Netherlands" we speak to Alex Tucker, the contractor who found himself at loggerheads with the Dutch agency and find out more about what brought him to this point.
We spoke to Mr Tucker about his experiences, and he explained to us the balance that self-employed IT contractors have to try and strike, between offering services at a competitive price, while earning enough to cover their own sickness, holidays, or periods when there is simply not as much work available.
"I also try to be as honest and lenient as possible with my customers," he added. "The payoff is that I have a great relationship with all the people and companies I've worked with, and never had a problem that couldn't be solved with a bit of one-to-one communication."
However, that changed when the incident described above occurred and Mr Tucker, who had not agreed to the anti-competition clause included in the original contract, was sent a €25,000 invoice when he was expecting his final payment for the work he had done.
"My life was turned upside down, as a family with a mortgage and two young kids, our plans for the near future were completely thrown. We were planning on moving house and thinking about another child, but had to put everything on hold to just figure out how to react to this unexpected behaviour from a third party."
Mr Tucker outlined his approach to resolving the situation, which began by 'lawyering up' in the jurisdiction where his client was based.
"I had to engage a Dutch law firm to make sure I was covered legally; this wasn't cheap, but gave me some peace of mind that I was legally in the right," he explained. "In the meantime, I had a meeting with Steve McCabe, our local MP, who was firmly on my side."
But despite Mr McCabe's best efforts to communicate with the British Embassy, the European Parliament, and the middle-men involved in this incident, no significant progress was made and Mr Tucker says:
"we were stuck in limbo"
For the remainder of the story, we'll let Mr Tucker tell the tale in his own words, as things accelerated substantially from the moment Safe Collections became involved...
"Enter Safe Collections. Almost a year after completing the work for which I hadn't been paid, I found Safe Collections online and dropped them an email asking whether they would be interested and how much they cost. I got a call back straight away and it was comforting to hear a friendly, understanding voice telling me that my situation wasn't that uncommon and that they could try to recover my debt for me. I didn't hesitate, and gave Safe Collections all the information I had and asked them to pursue the collection of this outstanding money.
"At every step, I was informed of progress and asked to give consent before any further steps were taken. At the last step, as it turned out, Safe Collections asked me to confirm that I had definitely not signed a contract with the middle-men, before they went ahead and managed to pull off what an expensive law firm, an MP, the contracting department and myself couldn't do: they got my money back!
"Safe Collections provide a friendly and courteous service acting as a trusted, objective arbiter to resolve disputes and recover debt. In this case, the debt was recovered from the Netherlands and Safe Collections were able to engage their own trusted affiliates to properly explain and resolve the situation overseas. I would recommend them again and again."
As we always say, working with fully licensed and qualified debt recovery partners overseas is often the best way to reclaim money owed by clients in their jurisdiction, rather than trying to act directly across international borders.
While Mr Tucker had already taken a comprehensive approach and done all the right things - including getting a local lawyer to act on his behalf - it was not until our affiliate stepped in that the debt was resolved.
Safe Collections are, of course, delighted to have been able to achieve success where others had already failed - and we're properly chuffed to receive such high praise from Mr Tucker, too.