Debt collection in France

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.

Submit your case before 16.00 pm and we will act today!

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.comBoddac.frInforgreffe.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.
Submit your case before 16.00pm and we will act today!

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

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  • Fast solutions for your cases
  • Real measures to recover your payments
  • The best results for the lowest costs

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.

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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.

Enforcement order
Regular proceeding €6000 onwards

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.

Cheque enforcement
Bailiff

French bailiffs

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.

International debt collection

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.

Seizure of assets
Summary proceedings

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.

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Free advice from the best debt collection specialists

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  • Fast solutions for your cases
  • Real measures to recover your payments
  • The best results for the lowest costs

Find out how we have helped others with debt collection in France

From simple debt collection cases to complex legal matters, from small businesses to multinationals across different industries, our specialists have assisted over 24.000 companies worldwide, including France. Find out how our French specialists and lawyers have helped other companies in similar situations and find the solution for debt collection in France.

Frequently asked questions about debt recovery France

How does debt collection work in France?

Debt collection in France always starts in the extrajudicial phase where we send your debtor demand letters and contact by phone. If your debtor disputes the claim or fails to respond, then we can proceed with legal action.

How will you recover my debt in France?

We will always contact your debtor by sending demand letters and phone calls. This way we avoid any form of miscommunication. Our approach is always firm and respectful, and you will always be updated on the status of your case.

What are the costs for debt collection in France?

We handle all out-of-court cases on a No Cure No Pay basis, also for debt collection in France. You only pay €150,- for administrative costs. We aim to recover the principal amount including interest and costs from your debtor. If you decide to take legal action against your debtor, then we switch to an hourly or fixed fee. We do not have hidden costs and always consult you before proceeding with any action incurring costs.

How long does an average debt collection procedure in France?

This depends on each situation and debtor. We always start with an amicable debt collection phase. This process takes a relatively short time because we provide your debtor with limited time to proceed with the payment. When launching your case, your caseworker provides you with an estimate of the duration of your case. Should your debtor fail to respond, then our specialists and lawyers provide you with an expected outcome or course of action within 4 weeks. If legal proceedings are necessary, the debt collection process is necessarily extended. The duration depends on the legal proceedings and whether the debtor raises a defence.

When is a debt collection case taken to court?

Our preference is to collect your claim without court intervention. Therefore, we always start our collection process amicably. If this has no effect, then we proceed judicially. However, we always consult you first.

What chances do I have for a successful recovery in France?

The chance for a successful recovery depends on the nature of your debt collection case. In our experience, 95% of the cases that we solve are successfully done so on a No Cure No Pay basis. Our specialists and lawyers always do their utmost to ensure fast and efficient collection of your full claim. We always make sure to give you honest and practical advice on how can we deliver the best results.

What possibilities do I have for debt collection in France?

Our debt collection in France always starts with an extrajudicial phase. If legal proceedings are necessary, we have many legal options available, such as the Injonction de payer européenne (European order for payment proceedings), Procédure de règlement des petits litiges (European small claims procedure), Procédure de référé (summary proceedings) or Procédure au fond (ordinary civil proceedings). Once obtaining an official court verdict, we can have measures enforced.

Can I appoint a bailiff in France myself?

In France, it is possible to appoint a bailiff for an amicable collection, but the bailiff’s means depend on the type of claim, its status (disputed or not) and whether or not you have an enforceable title. Also, some of the means of pressure can only be handled if a lawyer guides the bailiff. Therefore, we would always advise hiring a lawyer and mandate a bailiff through your lawyer, so that you know what action is undertaken.

How long before a debt is written off in France?

Payment claims in France have a limitation period of 5 years, which applies as soon as the invoice is due and payable. There are some exceptions whereby different limitation periods apply. For example, for transport-related claims, 1 year is applicable and 10 years for construction-related claims. Creditors can also interrupt the limitation period by filing a claim in court.

How much does it cost to go to court?

The court fees depend on the value of the claim. In some cases, the amount is fixed, however, it also depends on the nature of the litigation. In addition, our own legal fees are included as well.

How long do legal proceedings take in France?

The duration of legal proceedings in France depends on the complexity of your case and whether or not your debtor raises a strong defence.

Can apply for the bankruptcy of my French debtor?

It is possible to summons a debtor in insolvency. Usually, it is the last legal action possible, when the debtor is reluctant to pay. To have a debtor declared bankrupt, specific proceedings are required. The claimant will have to summon the debtor before a specialised court that handles bankruptcy cases. Only the court is able to declare a debtor bankrupt.