International Debt Collection Handbook
We realise better than anyone else how the diversity and complexity of country specific debt collections procedures, legislation and cultural approaches present a major challenge for companies.
Navigating the diverse and often complex country specific debt collections procedures along with the various legislative and cultural approaches in different countries presents major challenges for many companies and as specialists in this field, we know better than most, the type of obstacles you're likely to face.
To support you in selecting the right approach to debt collection in the countries in which your business operates, Atradius Collections has developed and compiled the International Debt Collection Handbook for you. It contains a wealth of specialised and detailed information on every aspect of debt collection, so we hope it becomes an indispensable business tool that you will use regularly. It's also very easy to use. Just choose a country from the comprehensive list and you will find insight and in depth detail on the different stages of amicable settlement, the financial regulations that apply to collections, legal proceedings and insolvency procedures.
We hope you find it both interesting and, more importantly, useful.
Below you'll find a synopsis per country:
Atradius Collections Australia uses a small boutique of experts who provide an excellent service. If you intent to file a case in Australia, mind that there are three jurisdictions. Which court you have to address, depends on the amount of the debt. Read the full version.
Austrian cases are dealt with by our German subsidiary. Therefore we apply the same debt collection costs that are charged to German debtors, calculated on the basis of the RVG (Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz), the statutory lawyers' fees. These costs do not equal the fees and costs we invoice to our clients, which again are based on the contractually agreed fees of the actual Debt Collection Agreement. Collection costs represent the claim of the client to the debtor based on the payment delay of the debtor, and include interest and costs resulting from the late payment. Read the full version.
In Belgium, Atradius Collections makes use of a proficient network of local agents, specialised in direct collection activities. This is particularly effective for medium/low debts, for specific categories of debts and for particular trade sectors. Read the full version.
Our local debt collection attorney in Sao Paulo uses highly experienced correspondents all over the country. They negotiate with the debtors to avoid having to go to court, as the legal system in Brazil is fairly complex. Read the full version.
Atradius Collections avoids costly litigation by acting as an arbitrator. In Canada there are two legal system: one based on the common law system that originates from Great Britain and another for Quebec only, that has its basis on the French Code Napoleon. Read the full version.
According to government regulations, it is prohibited for any enterprises or individuals to establish debt collection companies in any form and to engage in debt collection business. In short, debt collection activity in China is prohibited. But, law firms are exempt from the prohibition. Read the full version.
In the Czech Republic it can be rather difficult to claim for interests on outstanding amounts. It is regarded matter of negotiation between debtors and collectors. According to the vast experience of Atradius Collections, visiting debtors of certain categories by local operating agents is rather successful. Read the full version.
Atradius Collections Denmark believes that solving any debt problem out of court saves time and costs. The amicable solution is indeed the cheapest and fastest solution for Danish debts. Collections costs are calculated according to the official tariffs of the Danish authorities. Read the full version.
The debt collection process in France always begins with a written reminder, so that the debtor knows who the creditor is and which company is dealing with the debt collection. Many cases are built around a dispute en AC France pragmatically handles those files by clarifying, asking for evidence and by trying to solve the dispute. Sometimes a dispute can be partially acknowledged, and then we negotiate to come to an agreement. Read the full version.
German debtors are used to pay interest for late payments. If a debt cannot be collected amicably, a legal procedure enforces the payment and collections costs will be invoked. Nowadays, more than 60 % of the German courts reward this additional claim, though this used to be a matter of dispute. There are different ways to recover the collection costs. They are handled in three different ways, some of which are only explicitly available to German clients. Read the full version.
We have several attorneys and debt collections partners acting for us on the Greek territory and collecting our claims out of Court or in Court. Personal visits to debtors are frequently organized, our LDC's privileging the direct contact with the debtor which greatly helps the debt collection process in that country. There is no better way to evaluate the debt collection prospects. All our attorneys / agents in Greece are in a position to check debtor's solvency examining in particular the Court Registries, the Land Registry and the Registry of Mortgages. Read the full version.
Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city with a good mix of foreign and local capital companies from large multinationals to small medium enterprises.The legal languages are Chinese and English. The spoken language most commonly used is Cantonese and written language is Traditional Chinese which is different from mainland China as it uses ‘Simplified Chinese’. Read the full version.
Some 80 % of all payments are deliberately delayed in Hungary. It is advised to use payment reminders in written form, and to seek an out of court solution for lawsuits last many years in Hungary. Read the full version.
AC India makes use of a very experienced law office in India, which works like a debt collection office visiting the debtors and negotiating payment schedules and is in a position, if needs be, to represent us in Court in a very efficient way. Read the full version.
Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to get the full amount of interests; it is often considered a mater of negotiation between debtors and collectors. Procedures can last for a long time in Italy, even with a courts judgement. Read the full version.
Late Payments in Commercial Transactions Regulations 2002 An EU wide law came into effect on 7 August 2002 to combat late payment in commercial transactions. This law was implemented in Ireland by Regulations which provide that penalty interest will become payable if payments for commercial transactions are not met within 30 days, unless otherwise specified in a contract or agreement. Read the full version.
According to Atradius' experience, a successful method of recovering debts in Luxemburg is to visit debtors. This is especially effective for medium/low amounts. In case of legal proceedings, a lawyer functions as an intermediate party. It can take years before a judgement is given, e. g. in case of a dispute or an appeal to a judgement. Read the full version.
It is very common in Mexico to dispute a debt and we recommend to try to reach a payment agreement in an amicable way. Due to long lawsuit terms from 1 to 3 years this seems the best to do.
Although a written agreement is not necessary in Mexico to consider a transaction enforceable in court, documented evidence helps in collections proceedings. Read the full version.
In the Netherlands, every client has his own dedicated collector. Each collector is supported and advised by the Dutch Legal Team, experienced collectors all with master degrees in law studies. Atradius Collections carried out investigations whether and which legal action could be successful. Read the full version.
Atradius Collections Denmark maintains a professional collection process in Norway, focusing on the relationship between client and debtor at all times. Our team of collection specialists carry out the collection process in-house, contacting both orally and in writing whilst adhering to federal and state laws. Read the full version.
There are 3 different methods of out of court collection in Poland: mediation, settlement and arbitration. Out of court solutions are less expensive and faster than legal proceedings. The court fees depend on the type of legal action and the amount of the debt. Read the full version.
To determine whether it is worthwhile to start legal action, AC Portugal values the amount of debt to the possible costs of collection and the time involved. In Portugal there are two types of legal procedures: a simple claim if the debt is undisputed and the accao ordinaria. Inspite of its name, the latter is to follow when strong objection of the debtor is expected. Read the full version.
Once we have carried out all the amicable recovery actions and we have to conclude that an amicable recovery is not possible, we analyze if it is possible to initiate a legal action based on the case documentation. As the legislation stipulates a creditor may be represented within a court only by a lawyer, we concluded contracts with lawyers specialized in commercial law.Read the full version.
As professionals in collection we are in a position to provide the first class service and individual treatment and analysis of each case in order to successfully recover the overdue debt. Read the full version.
A dispute is often one of the main reasons why an invoice remains unpaid. In general, we try to collect amicably, and this involves visits to the debtor's premises. It makes a stronger demand and clarifies that legal actions will be taken in case of non-payment. Read the full version.
Most business relationships are regulated by Slovak Commercial Code and Slovak Civil Code. Interest rate should be specified in the contract between supplier and buyer. If it is not specified, the buyer can charge an interest rate on late payment based on the law. Read the full version.
In Spain, no interests are claimed in the amicable phase. It depends on the amount of debt which type of legal action has to be started. Furthermore it is important whether a debt is undisputed or whether a debt raises opposition after a judgement has been given. Read the full version.
Debt collection is strictly regulated in Sweden. In order to collect debts on behalf of a third party, a license issued by The Swedish Data Inspection Board is required. An amicable solution is the fastest and cheapest solution for our customers. Read the full version.
The Swiss legal system is well organised but rather complex for outsiders. As far as debt collection is concerned, Switzerland has developed a unique and very efficient system: an official office in every canton, called Office des Poursuites or Betreibungsamt (Office of Collections). Read the full version.
As all Maghreb countries Tunisia is not an easy place to collect debts. Unfortunately Tunisian debtors are often showing bad faith and are trying to avoid payment by all possible delaying tactics which debt collectors have to cope with.To this end, most of the debtors are assisted by lawyers who are contributing to slow down the collection process in the interest of their clients.Judges,legal system, courts' organization are far from being efficient to the detriment of creditors. Read the full version.
The Turkish judicial system is composed of High Courts, Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Appeal which is the last instance for reviewing judgements rendered by the lower courts.Legal actions in case of objections to Payment Order issued through the Bailiffs Office will be conducted before the Commercial Courts. Civil courts of 1st instance cover all civil cases other than those assigned to the Peace Courts. The Turkish legal system is well organized and rather efficient, but since the debtors are generally making opposition, the legal process turns out to be extremely slow with appointment of experts and granting the debtor a lot of remedies. Read the full version.
The first stage of legal action in every jurisdiction is issuing a Letter Before Action. If the debt remains unpaid there are basically three option: a County Court judgement, a full Court proceeding or Winding up (trying to declare a company insolvent). Read the full version.
In the amicable collection process amounts due, fees and collections costs can be pursued, in the legal phase, you can only claim the principle amount , unless there is signed agreement of the debtor. US collectors aggressively pursue debtors within the limitations of state and federal laws. They make sure that in case the amicable phase is not productive, the file is sufficiently documented to form the base of the second tier of the collection process, the legal phase. Read the full version.