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I have recently been scammed in Poland. My company accounts frozen.


SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #1
I have a Sp. z o.o. (LTD) company here in Poland.

I was issued an crazy invoice by a company I subcontracted.
The invoice demands payment for things that clearly go against our contract and other works preformed had to be binned and done again at my own cost.

So I replied to the invoice point for point stating why I do not owe them any money and demanded that they come in and fix the problems they caused.

They claim that I must pay first and that the repairs come under guarantee, this is not true.

That was over a year and a half ago.

The way the Polish law is, if a company does not pick up it's post it is seen in the eyes of the law as if it has been received.

I never got the letter from the subcontractors with their dispute, I assume they either paid off the postman or had someone with skinny wrists to take out the note that requires me to pick up post form the post office.

So next thing I know the bailiff is knocking at my door, I refuse to let him in and instead call into his office the next day.

My company accounts were frozen for 40,000 Euro and they searched for any assets that the company owns, i have done some acrobatics and they have not got one grosz and I very much intend on keeping it that way. So they have called off the bailiff.

I have appealed the decision and asked for an extension for my case to be heard, the Judge has denied my appeal and I have appealed to a higher authority.

I have discovered that the other companies that this subcontractor has worked for have also been scammed.
The subcontractors are a family and although they set up companies using the same name, they are in fact different companies with different directors from the same family.

They have been in 13 court cases in the last two years, to my knowledge, so I do not see suing them as an option as they will definitely have hidden their assets and it also explains the delay in their law action against me.

There are many more details, as you can imagine but I thought I would share my experience.

I am disgusted that my side has not been looked into by the courts.

I have had enough and I will be leaving Poland shortly.
pawian 188 | 17,819
6 Aug 2013 #2
Do you suggest the injustice you have experienced here is sth unique and impossible to take place in another European country?
OP SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #3
Are you suggesting that this is acceptable because injustices happen in other countries?

I have worked in several different European countries and this is the first time I have heard of a judge not looking at both sides of a dispute.

I have the right to work here and employ people here and I should have the law behind me as a law abiding citizen.

To my knowledge this postal law was a way of shortening the court's time spent on cases but this is being used as a loop hole by criminals.
Cardno85 31 | 976
6 Aug 2013 #4
Do you suggest the injustice you have experienced here is sth unique and impossible to take place in another European country?

I did not read it that way at all Pawian and I think you are being rather misleading with your choice of quote to use. I read it as him having had a bad experience and wanting to leave the place where it happened, as I'm sure many people would after being the victim in such a scenario. If I was to say that my house got broken into and I wanted to move somewhere else, I am not doing it because I believe my house to blame for this, but rather the feeling of edginess living there as it has happened. Do you think Sean will be happy dealing with other sub-contractors in the same region (especially knowing they have multiple companies) in future? He will always have that sense of betrayal and I think moving on somewhere else is a way of dealing with that feeling, not accusing all of Poland of wanting to cheat him.

This thread is not Poland bashing, it's just talking about his experience, don't jump on the defensive horse mate.
poland_
6 Aug 2013 #5
I have had enough and I will be leaving Poland shortly.

Do you have separation of assets between you and your wife?
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
6 Aug 2013 #6
Sean, in regards to the postal law - I was advised by an adwokat a while ago that for this law to be binding, there had to be proof of attempted delivery - which means sending it by registered post and requiring it to be signed for. Do they have such proof?

I certainly (when having to threaten various language schools with courts) used to send all communication by registered post in order to have the proof of attempted delivery.
pawian 188 | 17,819
6 Aug 2013 #7
Sean says he hasn`t received the note calling on him to pick the mail.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
6 Aug 2013 #8
That's what I'm wondering - if he didn't get the note, did they have proof of sending it?

Either way, just yet another shocking example of Polish courts being useless.
pawian 188 | 17,819
6 Aug 2013 #9
don't jump on the defensive horse mate.

What makes you think so?? :):) I wasn`t defensive, come on, I am only curious if such cases happen in countries like Britain, I mean when a foreigner runs a company and is taken for a ride by local enterpreneurs and courts who know the tricks of the British law.

That's what I'm wondering - if he didn't get the note, did they have proof of sending it?

Probably they have, that is why he lost the case.
OP SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #10
Do you have separation of assets between you and your wife?

We do now, which is part of the bureaucratic acrobatics I had to preform to protect myself.

I read it as him having had a bad experience and wanting to leave the place where it happened

I really enjoy living in Poland but I want to move anyway, while I can.
This was the straw that broke the camel's back.

happy dealing with other sub-contractors in the same region (especially knowing they have multiple companies) in future?

I don't care what lawyer's say, doing business is about trust, contracts are supposed to reinforce that.
I have been working with other subcontractors here for many years and we don't even need a any contracts because we trust one another.

Do they have such proof?

yes, they have photographs of the post being stamped by the post office and returned BUT noone in my company saw the letter so it was never signed by us.

the letter was about 100 pages and sat in the post office, we were supposed to receive the slip asking us to pick the post up from the post office.

Sean says he hasn`t received the note calling on him to pick the mail.

I really don't know how they did it, I actually know the postman on a smile and hello basis and he certainly doesn't seem the type (I could be wrong) but that doesn't rule out the people in the post office itself.

A female friend says that her wrists are skinny enough to fit through a letter box... if so, I hope it cost them a lot of money to do this.

Edit*

I forgot to mention how ingenious this scam is.

So lets say that the bailiff took 40k Euros from my account.
If the subcontractors had paid their tax or court fees showing that company had no assets or money, I would have had no choice but to counter sue and the judge would have asked the subcontractors for the money but nobody could have got the money from the tax man.
Cardno85 31 | 976
6 Aug 2013 #11
What makes you think so??

Just the way it was worded was along the lines of "It's not Poland's fault" without addressing the issue he was posting about. As I said, I read it as him not being comfortable wanting to do business in the same place after such an experience, not that he was blaming Poland at all. Maybe I read too much into it too. :)

I have been working with other subcontractors here and we don't even need a any contracts because we trust one another.

Exactly, by them breaking their contract they have broken your trust, that's a hard thing to deal with. I can see why it would be the last straw.
OP SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #12
It feels quite good to get this off my chest on this forum.

I have not been on these forums because I have been fixing the problems this company caused and dealing with lawyers.
So sorry WB for being sarcastic in another thread, I didn't realize my frustration was coming out on here.

I am aware that you are all reading my side of the story and understandably have doubts but this case is such a load of tosh that the only way they could get the bailiff after me is by rigging the post otherwise they would have just thrown their money away because their case is THAT ridiculous.

For a prime example, half the amount 20k Euro was for something that clearly contradicts the contract we both signed.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
6 Aug 2013 #13
the letter was about 100 pages and sat in the post office, we were supposed to receive the slip asking us to pick the post up from the post office.

Now, this is interesting. Photographs alone wouldn't be enough - they would need the actual proof that the post office received the letter (the little thing you get when sending something by registered post). You should have received the first slip, then a second slip saying that the letter was in the post office. Then they would have to send it again, and the same process (slip left, then a second slip left) again.

Did they present the proof of postage in court? If not, you might want to attack from that angle - if they can't prove that it was actually sent, only photographs, then you might have got them there. It would be reasonable to argue that photographs do not constitute proof of postage.
OP SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #14
You should have received the first slip, then a second slip saying that the letter was in the post office.

Yes, exactly and I received absolutely nothing.

Did they present the proof of postage in court?

Yes.

It would be reasonable to argue that photographs do not constitute proof of postage.

The letter sat in the post office the whole time and was sent back and forth, we were supposed to have received the slip informing us to go to the post office to collect the post.

These slips do not exist, therefore the court sees it as my company having accepted the letter and as I did not respond in one week the court's decision is automatic hence the bailiff.

How they pulled that one off is a mystery.

It was also coming up to Christmas last year when the post offices are usually more busy, maybe it's easier to hide criminal activity in the chaos?
poland_
6 Aug 2013 #15
Yes, exactly and I received absolutely nothing.

Normally when they leave a slip there is also a copy in the postman's book. I would have thought your lawyer would ask to see the original book, showing dates and time. Not just a copy of a slip which anyone could have given them.
OP SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #16
I have for many years been working with lawyers in Britain and Lithuania on behalf of other people. Although this is the first time anyone has attempted to take legal action against me I was well prepared from my experience.

I think the greatest quote on this matter comes from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels 1726. i hope you enjoy it as much as I do:)

Normally when they leave a slip there is also a copy in the postman's book.

I will look into that, it's been quite a crises management situation, thanks.

Edit"
But if it was the postman he is not going to implicate himself and if it were taken out of the mail box, then everything would still match up.

I don't actually know what happens if my case is not look at,
I probably can't close down the company as there is a money owed.
I could claim bankruptcy and use the state's money to sue the subcontractors or just leave it.
Obviously the third option could bite me in the bum later and I do not like leaving things hanging.

I will probably claim bankruptcy and try to sue them using the states money if my case is not looked into, what other options do I have?
cms 9 | 1,255
6 Aug 2013 #17
Sean - one thing you should do is take your own lawyer to the bailiffs office with reasons why your creditor is at fault - make sure your lawyer is well prepared. If the bailiffs sniff hassle then they sometimes back away from a job or will ask for a small settlement.

Good luck - the courts here are hopeless so you have my sympathy
Monitor 14 | 1,820
6 Aug 2013 #18
I've checked online some forums and that's true. They write that it's enough to send payment notice twice with registered mail (polecony) to the address of contractor. And if he doesn't pick them up from the post office then it's "effectively delivered".

It's crazy because everybody can see that there is way for abuse.
poland_
6 Aug 2013 #19
I will look into that

Prepare for the worst,hope for the best.

For further acrobatics: If they do decide to pursue you personally, they can also arrest your accounts and salary or any business accounts you are beneficiary of, it is possible in Poland to register/receive court approval of your monthly net expenditure. So hypothetically speaking if your rent/mortgage, car,insurance,medical,school fees, food,travel & gas/electric costs amounted to 3,500-4,000 Euro per month for your family in Ireland. That would be registered in Poland at 45-50,000 Euro, the courts can only touch money after this amount. A smart man would never earn a salary over 45,000 Euro per year, better to do it sooner than later.
OP SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #20
Thanks.

I went to the bailiff myself, as ordered to, I played stupid and gave them no information about assets or bank accounts ( I mean who really remembers there bank account number?)

The bailiff found no property in the companies name and no money in the account (I took it out obviously).

The bailiff then went back to the subcontractor and asked for more money to possibly seize more assets.
The subcontractors are used to court cases and know that if they spend money on going after the car for an example, the bailiff will sell it for cheap, then he will take his cost out of it and then the court will take their costs out of it leaving the subcontractor with very little money, so it is not worth it.

I sold the car to cover lawyer's costs.

So the bailiff has been called off and the account unfrozen but I don't use it.

I have also found out that the subcontractors are fighting with their lawyer because they think he is charging too much (he is a very good lawyer).

So they have been doing things themselves, which has been ineffective so far.

I know it doesn't seem like it when you read this but I am very lucky.
If it were not a sp. z o.o. (LTD) i'd be in deep trouble.
If I was not able to empty the account, I would have been in deep trouble.
I have a good relationship with my clients and was able to resign contracts using another company I have here.
The list goes on....

And although I feel a deep need for justice, I am fully aware that these guys do this often enough that it will not benefit me and I will lose time, money and energy on pursuing legal action but not being one to shy away from a fight, I will pursue legal action at the government's expense after I claim bankruptcy if my case is not looked into.

I don't use government money but I see them partly to blame for this system and have no qualms about using it for this purpose.

I mean really, they won't look at my side of the dispute.... if that were to happen then this would disappear instantaneously.

My lawyer has also informed me that the judge probably said no to my appeal for the time to raise my counter argument because it is holiday season and a quick NO is quicker than looking into my case.

Edit*

They write that it's enough to send payment notice twice with registered mail (polecony) to the address of contractor. And if he doesn't pick them up from the post office then it's "effectively delivered".

It's crazy because everybody can see that there is way for abuse.

It was supposed to speed up the courts so they do not have to spend so much time on claims that are not being contested.

If they do decide to pursue you personally,

It's really not likely to happen as I am a foreigner.
I would have a lot of time to react and I have already taken the necessary steps to insure I have nothing.
Where I do lose out now is I can not claim VAT back so expenses have risen 23% in my daily operations and I still pay the accountants until the final decision comes from the courts.

This seems like something I could go to the European courts with but again the subcontractors will most probably have no assets or incomes.
Wulkan - | 3,243
6 Aug 2013 #21
I have had enough and I will be leaving Poland shortly.

9388 posts and you're leaving? lies!
OP SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #22
:)

I never said I was leaving Polish Forums, you'd miss me too much :p

jeeez, is it really that much.... :)

And in all that time I don't think I have revealed this much about myself.

I'm off for a swim, I have a lot to do and need to keep my head but thanks to all of you, a problem shared is a problem halved...well some fraction is gone anyway :)
pawian 188 | 17,819
6 Aug 2013 #23
It's crazy because everybody can see that there is way for abuse.

When there wasn`t such a law before, courts were helpless, cheaters got away and people complained .

Now there is a law but people still complain.

Funny.
poland_
6 Aug 2013 #24
a problem shared is a problem halved

Good luck with it all, SeanBM.
Wroclaw Boy
6 Aug 2013 #25
Ohh man thats bad news - what a sour taste this is going to leave.

8/10 the subcontractor probably is the victim of non payment but thats obviously not the case here and these guys know how to play the system. What kind of judge refuses to review the other side of a case? thats complete madness.

So sorry WB for being sarcastic in another thread, I didn't realize my frustration was coming out on here.

Please, it was nothing but i appreciate the apology.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
6 Aug 2013 #26
If the bailiffs sniff hassle then they sometimes back away from a job or will ask for a small settlement.

Yes - they're only paid a percentage (I think 5%?) of the amount, so they want absolutely nothing to do with anything that isn't straightforward. I've seen a case where the bailiff sat on something for almost 2 years before attempting to collect.

Normally when they leave a slip there is also a copy in the postman's book. I would have thought your lawyer would ask to see the original book, showing dates and time. Not just a copy of a slip which anyone could have given them.

Oh yes - without a shadow of a doubt that there should be a paper trail showing the attempted deliveries.
OP SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #27
When there wasn`t such a law before, courts were helpless, cheaters got away and people complained . Now there is a law but people still complain. Funny.

It must be hilarious for you pawian, only being able to see two ineffective systems of law that destroy people's livelihoods.
I employ people, people with families and mortgages, surely this must add to your amusement.

I was able to find the people who worked for me employment with other firms I've been working with.
I hope that doesn't spoil your gayness too much.

- without a shadow of a doubt that there should be a paper trail sho

wing the attempted deliveries.

There is a paper trail and it leads to the slips that I never received.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
6 Aug 2013 #28
There is a paper trail and it leads to the slips that I never received.

Sean, one thing I'd do is look very very closely at the paper trail. It might not be all that it seems - I've seen Poles forge documentation and think absolutely nothing of doing it.
OP SeanBM 35 | 5,808
6 Aug 2013 #29
[/quote]

As you know, it is proof that is needed, they won't even look at the case, it's like some surreal world where only one side is heard.

And to be honest, I'm lucky, there is nothing I could have done to protect myself more.
There must be a lot of unfortunate people who get completely taken to the cleaners.
They didn't get anything from me.
poland_
6 Aug 2013 #30
Good man Sean, at least you can look in the mirror at night knowing you did your best to protect and look after your own,


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