There are various reasons why the debtor may fail to pay. One reason is lack of financial planning. A second reason is an unforeseen eventuality such as the loss of a job or health problems. A third reason is dishonesty on the part of either the creditor or the debtor.
The debtor is the person who owes the debt, either a person or an entity such as a corporation. Debt collection means pursuing payments of debts, owed by either individuals or corporations. A debt collector is an organization that is specialized in collecting debts. In our opinion Pinera del Olmo Law Firm is the best choice to collect your doubts, because we are Spanish lawyers and we know the Spanish Law and can use any legal action regulated by Law.
Collection of debts in Barcelona is a very complicated process, especially if the debtor goes bankrupt. To succeed in the collection of debts you therefore need to act fast to initiate an enforcement procedure on the debtor if an adequate solution is not found. In addition, debt collection is a complicated issue when both parties are located in different countries. It is common that debtors, when they are not located in the same countries, use the distance in their favour in order to delay payment and make it more difficult to claim.
As a consequence of the proliferation of international trade transactions and the increase in foreign investments in Barcelona, the considerable volume of unpaid debt has increased. Our lawyers at Piñera del Olmo are fluent in English, which means that they can provide advice to you and help you claim in both English and Spanish. They will consider the unique circumstances of your case to help to ease the situation for your claim, such as translation and legalization of documents, the legitimacy of the creditor, the question of jurisdiction etc.
Summary of the debt collection procedure in Spain (Barcelona, Madrid…)
To summarize the debt collection procedure, it can be divided into two stages- extrajudicial debt collection and judicial debt collection. The general rule is that the debt collection procedure starts with the extrajudicial phase, which means that collection takes place without Court intervention. The reason for this is that going to Court can be time-consuming, which we want to avoid.
More specifically, our lawyers will contact the debtor to demand payment, either by sending the debtor a written demand letter, requesting that they pay your claim within a few days, together with interest and cost, or by registering your debtor on the black list called ASNEF. When corporations are registered on that list, they often experience difficulties with finding new trade partners or maintaining existing relationships. In addition, it is often difficult for corporations on the list to get further credit. However, you need to analyze if the debt can be included in ASNEF because if a debt that cannot be added is included in ASNEF this could suppose that the creditor should also pay a compensation to the debtor for the inclusion in the ASNEF’s list.
As mentioned above, the second phase of the debt collection procedure is the judicial debt collection. In this phase, if the out-of-court procedure failed to provide a positive solution, our lawyers, after discussion with you, go to court. In Spain, there are various ways to proceed against a debtor. Depending on the type and size of claim, following options are relevant for the judicial phase to exact payment:
Order for payment proceedings: A request is made to the Court, which sends the debtor an order. After the order is sent, the debtor has only twenty days to respond, either by paying your claim or submitting a defence. If the creditor files a defence, the case is automatically referred to ordinary civil proceedings. However, if the debtor does not put forward a defence, the order for payment can result in a judgment relatively rapidly.
Summary proceedings: A writ of summons is sent to the Court. In addition, the debtor may file a defence. In general, the judge will make a decision in paper, but it is also possible to request a hearing. This option is only relevant for claims up to 6 000 €.
Ordinary civil proceeding: This type of proceeding is for claims over 6 000 €. It is extensive and can be time consuming, on average, it takes up to one-two years in Barcelona and other big cities. Similar to summary proceedings, the creditor files its writ of summon and the debtor can file a defence.
“Juicio cambiario”: In Spain, if your claim is based on a bounced cheque or bill of exchange, there is a separate procedure. Based on these bills of exchange or cheques, the Courts orders the debtor to pay within ten days. At the same time, the Court can levy a prejudgment seizure on goods belonging to the debtor.
If you need more information about debt collection in Barcelona and the related procedure, you may contact our Spanish lawyers. They will inform you on the steps of the procedure and the documents you need for debt collection (such as invoices and other documents that can prove that there is a commercial relationship between the creditor and debtor).
Disclaimer: This information in this article is not definitive, for up to date legal advice which is relevant to your case please contact our lawyers.