We frequently receive inquiries from overseas about troubles regarding trading companies located in Japan.
The troubles are such as,
I bought goods from a Japanese company and paid the money, but the company did not ship the goods at all.
I bought and received goods from a Japanese company, but the goods was broken and did not meet our requirements.
I bought and received goods from a Japanese company, but there was no certificate attached even the company promised to provide a certificate.
There are several ways to settle these problems, such as getting the refund, or ask the company to send a replacement which meets the requirements.
The attorney will generally handle these cases as follows.
1. Review the evidences and see if the client should move forward.
2. Send a demand letter (content certified mail) to the company in Japan.
3. If the company doesn’t cooperate or doesn’t reply, then the attorney will file a lawsuit.
4. If the company doesn’t pay even after getting the court’s order, the attorney will collect the money from the company through the court enforcement procedure (See this page)
The attorney fee for above written step 1 and step 2 is 80,000 yen plus tax. (Additional fee may be charged, if the case requires additional working time compared to usual cases.)
The attorney fee for filing a lawsuit (step 3) is generally calculated from the amount to claim (hourly charge is also available for some cases). However, the legal fee will be usually more than 600,000 yen.
It may also cost more than 300,000 yen plus tax for doing the above written step 4 (even the procedure may end up in vain).
In Japan, generally you cannot make the other party to pay these legal expenses, and we request our clients to pay the initial fee in advance.
Additionally, even if you file a lawsuit and get the court’s order for payment, it does NOT directly mean you can actually get the money. If the other party has no asset, it is not possible to be paid from them anyway. So, usually, if the amount of damage is below certain amount, it may not be cost effective to file a lawsuit for collecting money.
However, we have experienced many issues solved by sending a letter from the attorney, it is recommended to do the above written step 1 and step 2. You can then think about how to proceed depending on the other party’s response.
Anyway, it is strongly recommended to trade with trustworthy companies when you start the international trading. Also, make sure to get a copy of the official company registration of the other party before starting the trades (we can obtain a copy for you if you request). This is because in some cases (which are likely to be fraud), we cannot even locate the address of the other party.