Debt collection in Greece
Is your company looking for a debt collection agency in Greece? Do you have a Greek debtor who has left your invoices unpaid? Our debt collection specialists and Greek lawyers will be happy to help you. We ensure that your outstanding invoices are retrieved as soon as possible. Read here what we can do for you when hiring a debt collection in Greece.
“Greek companies have a much longer payment term compared to many European companies. The economic crisis has considerably contributed to that. A strict debtor’s policy is, therefore, extremely important to get your invoices paid".
International debt collection in Greece
When doing business with a Greek trading partner, you are confronted with business practices, trade traditions, customs, language as well as rules and regulations that are very different from those you are used to. This makes debt recovery in Greece a complicated and time-consuming process. That is why you should hire our debt collection agency in Greece. Our international debt collection specialists and Greek lawyers have the resources to get your debtor to pay.
Payment behaviour of Greek companies
- Greeks are not very punctual and often very flexible with time. However, they expect you to be on time for business appointments.
- The statutory payment period of invoices and delivery of goods or services is 30 days.
- Greeks are among the worst payers in Europe.
- A payment term of 7 days is customary when sending a reminder.
Advantages of collection in Greece
- Greek debt collection lawyers at your country
- Greek speaking lawyers
- Highest success rates
- Debt collection throughout Greece
- Always a single point of contact
- 24/7 access to our online portal
- No Cure No Pay debt collection
Debt collection in Greece
In Greece, business is somewhat slower than in other parts of Europe. Bureaucracy is a common issue with lengthy procedures and processes. Due to the financial crisis that struck in 2009, many companies are still facing difficulties in paying their invoices on time. A payment term of more than 100 days is common in Greece and in most cases, an advanced payment is also requested.
Greek lawyer in your country
The best way to collect your invoice is by hiring a debt collection agency in Greece. Our Greek lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience with laws and regulations in Greece. As our lawyers collect in Greek, we have the sources for successful debt recovery in Greece.
Debt collection procedure in Greece
Debt recovery in Greece can be divided into two phases. In the extrajudicial phase, we collect without the intervention of the court, while in the judicial phase we do involve the court to get your Greek debtor to pay. Since we are a law firm, we can assist you in both phases.
At our debt collection agency in Greece, our starting point is to always start the collection procedure in the extrajudicial phase. In this phase, we try to avoid the intervention of the court. We contact your Greek debtor to ensure that your debtor pays the invoice. In the extrajudicial phase we have the following possibilities:
Written demand letters and phone calls
We send the debtor a written demand letter and contact your Greek debtor by telephone, requesting the payment of the invoice including interest and costs.
In Greece, it is often effective to draw up a payment arrangement. For an effective arrangement, it is very important to show understanding to your Greek business partner.
Announcing legal proceedings
Most companies will be more likely to pay once legal proceedings are announced. That is why it is advisable to hire a debt collection agency in Greece as soon as possible to announce such proceedings on your behalf.
Before announcing the legal proceedings, we will perform a credit check and analyse the financial situation of your debtor. This allows us to better assess how your debtor is doing financially and whether legal proceedings are worthwhile. We will always inform you in advance of the possible costs and will only proceed after receiving your permission.
Would you like to start judicial collection proceedings against your Greek debtor? Then the first question is in which country do you have to litigate: in your country or in Greece? The answer depends on the competent court, i.e. the court that is competent to rule on your debt collection case.
In your general terms and conditions, you can agree on the competent court in the event of a (payment) conflict. This is also called choice of forum. Have no agreements been made? Then the main rule is that the court in the country of the defendant has jurisdiction. In this case, the Greek court. You must then go to Greece to follow legal proceedings there.
In addition, the main rule is that the law of the country of the seller or service provider applies. The law of your own country is therefore applicable. We then get this complex situation where the Greek court must judge the case according to the law of your country. A legal system they are not familiar with. This is not a desirable situation. Therefore, our advice is to make agreements about the applicable law and the competent court in your terms and conditions.
Debt collection laws in Greece
Legal procedures in Greece are very effective as there are a variety of possibilities depending on your case. Nevertheless, you should bear in mind that Greece is very bureaucratic and that the legal system can sometimes be very slow. Our Greek lawyers can advise you on the best legal procedure for your case.
National order for payment procedure (Diatagi Plimoris)
For undisputed cases, the national order for payment (Diatagi Pliromis) procedure, can be initiated. With this procedure, an enforceable title can be obtained quickly and efficiently. After the judge has reached a verdict, our Greek lawyer will immediately deploy the necessary resources to carry out this decision.
Ordinary civil proceedings (Agogi)
In the case of a disputed claim, i.e. if your debtor has good reason not to pay, your lawyer can summon the debtor (Agogi). Both parties will have to defend their case in court and submit all the necessary documents.
Provisional legal measures (Asfalistika Metra)
In more urgent cases a petition can be submitted for the application of provisional legal measures (Asfalistika Metra). A hearing takes place and provisional measures are granted. These can include a precautionary seizure, after which ordinary legal proceedings will be initiated. By the filing of a petition for provisional measures, the court can also grant an enforceable Preliminary Injunction (Prosorini Diatagi) until a definite verdict is reached for the petition.
International collection laws
In addition to Greek debt collection laws, there are also several European measures that can be used if your Greek debtor refuses to pay. It is important for the European Union that trade between European countries is stimulated. Therefore, there are two alternative procedures that can be used for foreign claims between two EU countries: the European Payment Order Procedure and the Small Claims Procedure.
Both procedures are relatively fast and inexpensive. A standard form must be completed and sent to the competent court. The court then deals with the debt collection case and reaches a verdict.
The Small Claims Procedure is only suitable for small claims up to € 5,000. The European Payment Order only applies to undisputed claims. Although it is a simple procedure, it is not often used very often. The Greek Diatagi Pliromis procedure is similar to this procedure and is more cost-effective.
Litigation in your own country
Have you agreed in the general terms and conditions that the court in your country is competent? Then legal proceedings can be started in your country. Depending on your specific situation, our Greek lawyers will look at what is most beneficial for your company. If we are going to litigate in your country against your Greek debtor, we can start ordinary civil proceedings. Both parties will be heard, after which the court will make a judgment.
If a judgment has been obtained in your country, this judgment has yet to be executed in Greece. It is provided by the EU’s law that all judgments obtained in the EU Member States are also recognised in other EU countries. For the execution of a judgment from your country in Greece, your court issues a certificate. This is then sent to the bailiff in Greece together with the judgment. The bailiff can then start to work immediately to ensure that the judgment is executed in Greece.
An outstanding invoice cannot be collected forever. An invoice can expire. Once the statute of limitations for your invoice has expired, you can no longer enforce payment of your invoice through the courts. It is therefore important to keep a close eye on this limitation period.
In Greece, a statutory limitation period of 5 years applies to corporate claims. This period commences when the claim is due and payable. This is the due date of the invoice. If the term of payment of an invoice is 30 days, the limitation period of 5 years starts after the 30 days have elapsed.
Imagine: you have delivered a batch of clothing to a customer. On April 1st 2017 you send the corresponding invoice, with a payment period of 30 days. However, your customer did not pay. The due date of the invoice is 1st May 2017. The limitation period of 5 years starts from this moment. On May 1st 2022, your invoice will therefore expire.
Exceptions to the limitation period
Some claims are subject to a different limitation period. For example, in European road transport there is a limitation period of one year. In the maritime sector, too, an invoice expires after one year.
Preventing the statute of limitations
You can prevent the limitation of your invoice by interrupting the limitation period. The interruption stops and resets the limitation period. In Greece, the limitation period can be interrupted by initiating legal proceedings. It does not matter if it is through the order of payment procedure or the ordinary one. However, just sending a payment reminder does not interrupt the limitation period itself.
In addition, what also stops the limitation period in Greece is a letter from the debtor confirming the existence of an outstanding invoice. This is an official acknowledgement of debt which must be undersigned by the debtor. For example, a payment arrangement or a contract that is drawn up in an official mediation procedure or in negotiations between lawyers is considered as serving as official confirmation of the debt.
Judicial debt collection in Greece
Our debt collection agency in Greece has helped many companies around the world with their debt collection cases in Greece. We have not only assisted foreign businesses, but also Greek firms in their own country. We specialise in debt collection cases in various areas of law:
- Buying and selling
- Rental and leasing
- Agency agreement and distribution agreement
- Damages and unlawful acts
“Bierens is a highly effective and professional partner. Not only do they have a strong debt collection procedure, they also give solid advice.”
Manuel Maas, Eneco
Is your debtor located in Athens, Thessaloniki, or Patras? No matter where your debtor is located, we can assist you throughout Greece. For successful debt recovery in Greece, you can rely on our Greek lawyers.
More than a debt collection agency
If you are looking for a debt collection agency in Greece, you are in a much stronger position with a debt collection lawyer. Our Greek lawyers have more resources than a regular debt collection agency. Moreover, they work faster and are also more successful.
No Win No Fee Debt collection
During the extrajudicial phase, we work based on the No Win, No Fee basis. If we do not collect, then you pay no legal fee. You only pay €150 for administrative costs. After all, an unpaid invoice causes enough frustration. We think it would be unfair if you were to be faced with all sorts of additional fees.
You only pay a fee if we can collect the claim. We try to recover this fee from the debtor as much as possible. Therefore, a successful collection case will cost you almost nothing! We call that justice, for you are getting exactly what you are entitled to.