A group of leading rival US sales companies are plotting a post-EFM get-together to share information about - and take steps against - the rising tide of cash-starved buyers who are not honouring contracts.

Frustrated by international buyers who they say renege on deals by failing to pay balances on time - if at all - sellers have rallied together to fight another worrying consequence of the global recession.

In fact a grapevine already exists at the EFM whereby sellers are swapping information about the market plans and proposed deals of troubled buyers, according to several top sales agents who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.

Without being able to close deals, sales agents are unable to meet their sales estimates with the banks, jeopardising future loans at a time when the credit crunch has devastated financing channels. Most banks already have assembled blacklists of bad buyers and the sellers are planning ways to keep the banks apprised of the newest offenders.

The Bank Of Ireland has now shut its film financing offices in Los Angeles and London (see separate stories), joining a growing band of institutions that have withdrawn or scaled back their loan financing activities such as the Royal Bank Of Scotland, Continental Capital and Societe Generale.

'There's a difference between bad buyers and those who are facing difficulties,' one sales chief said. 'We want to help our partners who need assistance, but at the same time we have to be aware of those who threaten to disrupt our business.'

Companies from Russia, South Korea and Spain in particular have caused headaches for sales agent, although contacts stressed these companies were not indicative of their countries as a whole.

One senior sales executive at a major company suggested deal structures might need to change, with buyers taking out currency protection insurance to avoid being overwhelmed by significant currency fluctuations when it came time to pay the balance 12 months later.