Debt Collection in France
Did you know that debt collection in France can take longer than in other European countries? With native French lawyers by your side fluent in the language, we can recover the payment you are entitled to. Our experts are accustomed to the business culture and well-versed with the knowledge of debt collection laws in France. From sending your debtor a mise en demeure, contacting a bailiff in France, or initiating the Injonction de payer or Procédure au fond, you can count on our lawyers. With No Cure No Pay debt collection in France, our lawyers can help you recover your payment swiftly and efficiently. Find out everything you should know for a successful debt collection in France.
Phase extra- judiciaire: Debt collection in France in 7 simple steps without court intervention
- Step 1: You can easily start your debt collection in France within 2 minutes. You will be requested to enter your details, your debtor’s details and information regarding your debt collection in France. You can do so here.
- Step 2: Your case will be assigned to the most equipped French debt collection specialist, who has the knowledge and experience relating to your industry. We start our investigation by checking international credit reports and local databases such as Societe.com, Boddac.fr, Inforgreffe.fr and more. This way we can understand why the invoice was not paid and define our strategy accordingly.
- Step 3: Your French caseworker will send a mise en demeure, which is a letter of formal notice or demand letter. This will be written in French and customised according to your case. Under French debt collection law, these letters are sent through registered post.
- Step 4: Your French caseworker will reach out to you. You will be able to determine how you wish your debtor to be approached. Moreover, you can track the status of your case 24/7 through our online portal.
- Step 5: If your French debtor fails to respond to the mise en demeure, then we will contact your debtor by phone and e-mail as well. We engage in a conversation to understand the position the debtor is in, which also helps to avoid any miscommunication.
- Step 6: We can also mandate a bailiff to pay the debtor a visit. With our contacts across France, we can further investigate your debtor.
- Step 7: 95% of our cases are solved in the extrajudicial phase without court intervention. With the expertise of our native in-house specialists and the various resources that we have in store for your French debtor, we can collect your claim. If your debtor refuses to pay or disputes the case, we can continue in the legal phase in consultation with you. Before doing so, we extensively discuss your options and costs.
French Desk: Meet our debt collection experts
With our native in-house specialists, we can overcome any language or cultural barriers. Our French specialists have the capacity to contact your debtor in their native language and are familiar with the French business culture. Based on our experience, we’ve seen that this works. Because we adapt our strategy by sending letters drafted in French and customising these according to your case, your debtor is more inclined to pay. Your debtor is made aware of all the consequences of non-payment and knows we are able to pursue your case even to court.
Free advice from the best debt collection specialists
No Cure No Pay Debt collection agency in France
With No Cure No Pay debt collection in France, you are in a much stronger position with a debt collection law firm than a regular debt collection agency in France. A regular debt collection agency in France can only deploy its resources to a certain extent, while our debt collection lawyers can also advise and proceed with legal action. We start on a No Cure No Pay basis, whereby we charge €150,- for administrative costs. This allows us to investigate your debtor and act according to the best strategy. Our aim is to collect the interest and costs from your debtor; however, this depends on the amount, complexity of the case and debt collection laws in France. If legal proceedings are necessary, then we agree on a fixed or hourly fee with you in advance. For a full overview, you can view our fees here.
Debt collection laws in France
When taking legal action against a debtor located in France, there are several French debt collection laws that we can rely on. The best collection procedure to use will differ depending on the situation. Our French debt collection specialists know their way around the domestic debt collection laws in France. They can advise you on the most suitable procedure to follow for a successful debt recovery in France.
Injonction de payer: Order for payment proceedings
If the French debtor refuses to pay in the extrajudicial phase, then our French lawyers can start an injonction de payer. This order for payment procedure is the most cost-effective way to get your invoices paid. The French lawyer will make an official request to the court to obtain an enforceable title. With this enforceable title, the debtor is compelled to pay the debt immediately. If the debtor does not pay, creditors can proceed with, for example, seizing the debtor’s assets.
Before obtaining an enforceable title, the debtor will be informed and asked to provide his views. The debtor can also make an objection which extends the procedure, given that the court will request the creditor to address the debtor’s objection or attend a hearing.
Procédure de référé: Summary proceedings
If the debtor disagrees with the invoice, the claim is disputed. For disputed cases, we advise commencing a procédure de référé. In this case, the French lawyer will present all relevant documents that indicate that the debtor must pay. This takes place through a bailiff.
For summary proceedings to be admissible, we will have to prove that the unpaid invoice is due, and that debtor does not object to the claim. However, if the court decides that there is a substantive dispute on the claim, the case will have to be carried out under the procédure au fond, also known as ordinary civil proceedings.
Procédure au fond: Ordinary civil proceedings
In case of more complex disputes, cases will be solved under the procédure au fond, under which our French lawyers represent the client before the French court. We summon the debtor to a hearing date, to which the debtor is compelled to attend. During the initial hearing, lawyers are expected to present their cases to the judge. The judge will then set up a schedule for lawyers to exchange their written submissions. Once the schedule is completed, parties are called to a final hearing after which the judge reaches a verdict.
Bailiffs in France are sworn in as Court officials. They are entitled to handle extrajudicial and judicial matters. Our French lawyers work closely with bailiffs to enforce court decisions through enforcement measures, that bailiffs alone are competent to handle.
At Bierens, our lawyers have extensive experience in proceedings in France. Therefore, they have developed a portfolio of legal partners in France to perform effective and satisfying results. For example, when a judgement is issued in favour of our client, the debtor is given a time frame to act voluntarily. Our lawyers mandate a bailiff to handle assets and vehicle searches for seizure, which is then performed as a pressure tool.
International debt collection in France
While our lawyers specialise in the debt collection laws applicable in France, there are other European and international debt collection procedures that we can initiate on your behalf. If you and your debtor are both nationals of any member state of the European Union, the European Small Claims and European Order of Payment are two legal possibilities that we can initiate on your behalf.
Why hire Bierens rather than a regular debt collection agency in France?
- Highest collection rate throughout France
- Extensive measures to recover your debt in the extrajudicial and judicial phase
- No Cure No Pay debt collection in France
- Immediate action after uploading your claim
- 24/7 tracking of your case in our online portal
“Did you know that once an officual judgement is obtained from the French court, the verdict must be enforced within 6 month?”
Debt collection enforcement in France
Once we have obtained an official judgement from the French court, the verdict will have to be enforced within six months of the judgement’s issuance. For a judgment to be executed against a debtor, it has to be served by a bailiff. A bailiff will then be able to undertake any execution measure possible to pressure your debtor to pay. In French law, there are a number of execution measures available to a creditor, such as an asset search and seizure, a conservatory seizure, bank or vehicle seizure. The bailiff in France can also register the company on an official local and national database.
Limitation period for debt collection in France
When dealing with debt collection in France, payment claims under French law have a limitation of 5 years. This means that once the limitation period becomes time-barred, you will no longer be able to take any legal action against your debtor.
However, there are several exceptions to this rule. For example, payment claims under transport law have a limitation period of 1 year, while some under construction law claims have an expiration date of 10 years. There are several ways creditors can extend the limitation period, with an acknowledgement of the claim by the debtor or by initiating legal proceedings. If you would like to know what this could mean for your debt collection in France, do not hesitate to contact us.
Start your debt collection in France today
Start your debt collection case in France today! While our French Desk gets started on your case, you can resume your regular business operations. Upload your case for immediate action or contact our experts today.