Increase in disputes linked to supply difficulties

For several months now, companies have been facing supply difficulties. As a result of the shortages, the number of disputes is on the rise, as noted by the Médiateur des Entreprises, Pierre Pelouzet. A crisis committee will be set up.

Shortages account for 20% of complaints to the Médiateur des entreprises

While supply difficulties initially impacted the construction and building industries, as well as the automotive industry due to the shortage of electronic components, the phenomenon is now spreading to all business sectors.

As the weeks go by, companies' stocks run out, and they are no longer able to meet demand, leading to an increase in disputes. According to Pierre Pelouzet, the company ombudsman, 20% of complaints today are linked to these supply difficulties.


Added to this are other problems for companies, who sometimes incur penalties because of their inability to meet deadlines, or see their suppliers' prices soar due to rising inflation.

On December 13, 2021, the Ministry of the Economy and Finance announced a series of measures to help companies facing shortages, as part of an accompanying plan.

Open to all business sectors, this support plan is primarily aimed at the hardest-hit industries: metallurgy, construction, automotive and electronics. The aim is to support companies facing cash-flow difficulties linked to supply problems.

Crisis and mediation units have been set up, and state-guaranteed loans, which were initially not to be granted after the end of December 2021, have been extended until June 2022. Other schemes have been maintained, such as subsidized loans and repayable advances, the latter of which can now be combined with a subsidized loan or a PGE.

A crisis committee to support businesses

By the end of January, these various measures will be completed by a crisis committee. Set up by the Médiateur des Entreprises, it will bring together the Chambers of Commerce and Crafts, as well as various employers' organizations, such as Medef, the Association française des entreprises privées (AFEP), the Confédération des petites et moyennes entreprises (CPME), and the Union des entreprises de proximité (U2P). At present, only the building and public works sector has a crisis committee.

In 2021, more than 2,000 referrals to the Médiateur des entreprises were recorded. While this figure is lower than that for 2020, with 3,500 mediation requests, it is still higher than the pre-crisis level. Thus, in 2021, the number of referrals to the Médiateur des entreprises was 54% higher than in 2019, when we might have expected a return to normal with the economic recovery.


Late payment between companies is the most frequent cause of disputes, even if payment times have fallen between the end of 2020 (13 days on average) and 2021 (11 to 12 days). But late payment is not the only reason for requesting mediation: rent payment is at the heart of many disputes between landlords and tenants, as are contract terminations without compensation justified by health restrictions, particularly in the events sector.