Debt collection in Spain

Debt Collection in Spain

When dealing with debt collection in Spain, you might come across the terms Burofax or ASNEF. If a bailiff is required or if you decide to take legal action, you will find that debt collection laws in Spain differ from those that you are used to. With Spanish debt collection lawyers by your side, our experts overcome the language, cultural and legal barriers that arise when dealing with debt collection in Spain. With our native specialists by your side, we can tell you everything you need to know that will guarantee you the maximum chances of success for your debt collection in Spain.

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

Fase de recuperación amistosa: Debt collection in Spain in 8 simple steps without court intervention

  • Step 1: You can easily start your debt collection in Spain within 2 minutes. You will be requested to enter your own details, your debtor’s details and information regarding your unpaid invoice in Spain. You can do so here.
  • Step 2: Your case will be assigned to the most equipped Spanish debt collection expert. We ensure that your assigned caseworker has experience dealing with debt collection in the same sector that your company operates in. We start our investigation by checking international credit reports and local databases. This way, we can understand why the invoice was not paid and define our strategy accordingly.
  • Step 3: Based on the information provided on your Spanish debtor together with our investigation, your Spanish debt collection specialist will draft a requiremiento de pago. This is a letter of formal notice or demand letter, informing your Spanish debtor of the outstanding amount and requesting them to pay. This will be written in Spanish and customised according to your case. If necessary, we can also send it through a registered post known as a Burofax.
  • Step 4: Your Spanish caseworker will reach out to you. You will be able to determine how you wish your debtor to be approached. For example, whether you prefer a harsh or soft approach, we will adjust our strategy accordingly. Moreover, you can track the status of your case 24/7 through our online portal.
  • Step 5: If your Spanish debtor fails to respond to the requiremiento de pago, then our efforts don’t stop just there. We will directly contact your debtor by phone and in writing. Based on our experience, we know this puts your Spanish debtor off guard, allowing them no time to think of any excuses. This way we avoid any miscommunication and can make clear agreements.
  • Step 6: We can also pay your Spanish debtor a visit. With our contacts across Spain and private detectives, we can further investigate your debtor to gather more information.
  • Step 7: If your debtor is still under the impression that they can get away with non-payment, then we can have your Spanish debtor registered on a blacklist known as the ASNEF. Once registered on this list, it will become extremely difficult for the debtor to obtain finances or establish new business relations.
  • Step 8: 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 Spanish debtor, we can collect your claim. If your debtor still 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 possible costs.
Submit your case before 16.00 pm and we will act today!

Spanish-speaking lawyers: Meet our debt collection experts

With our team of native in-house specialists, we can overcome any language, cultural and legal barriers. Our Spanish specialists contact your debtor in their native language and are familiar with the Spanish business culture. Based on our experience, we know that this increases the chances of a successful debt collection in Spain. Because we adapt our strategy by sending letters drafted in Spanish 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 mean business. With our Spanish Desk located in Barcelona, our team can help you with debt collection across Spain.

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 Spain

With No Cure No Pay debt collection in Spain, you are in a much stronger position than when hiring regular debt collection agencies or debt collectors in Spain. A regular debt collection agency in Spain cannot do anything you can do yourself. With Bierens, you are charged the costs of regular debt collectors in Spain for the cost of a debt collection lawyer. Our starting fee is €165,- for administrative costs. We aim to recover the principal amount including interest and costs from your debtor as much as possible, however, the final amount depends on the outcome of the case. If you decide to take legal action against your debtor, then we move to an hourly or fixed fee. For a full overview, you can view our fees here.

No win No fee
Debt collectors in Spain

Spanish debt collection laws

Compared to other countries, legal debt collection proceedings in Spain might take longer. The Spanish legal system is characterised by all kinds of formalities that both creditors and debtors must follow. For example, for a lawyer and bailiff in Spain to be able to represent their client in court, the client must first grant the power of attorney on their behalf.

With our debt collection agency in Spain, they can advise on the best procedure for your case, because they know their way around the debt collection laws in Spain. For instance, there are several legal procedures they can initiate on your behalf explained below:

Proceso Monitorio: Payment order procedure

The proceso monitorio is an order for payment procedure, whereby a lawyer submits an application to the court. With this application, the lawyer requests the Court to extend an order of payment to the debtor for immediate payment. This application must be supported by documents that prove that there is an outstanding invoice. The court then sends the debtor a payment request, in which the debtor is requested to respond within 20 business days. Within these 20 days, the debtor can either pay or reject the claim.

Should the Spanish debtor fail to respond within 20 days, then the court will issue an enforceable title in favour of the creditor for the amount of the payment requested. However, if the debtor disputes the claim, then the procedure is forwarded to either the juicio verbal or juicio ordinario depending on the amount of the claim.

Disputed case
Enforcement order

Juicio verbal: Regular proceeding up to €6000, –

For debt collection claims up to €6,000 a lawsuit is filed with the court while supporting documents are submitted. The court examines the case and all related documents and decides whether to initiate the requested legal proceedings. A copy of the writ of summons and related documents are sent to the debtor. The debtor then has 10 business days to file its reply in court. If the court considers a hearing to be necessary, the court can point a hearing. If not, it will rule the judgment directly after receiving the reply from the debtor.

Juicio ordinario: Regular proceeding from €6000, – onwards

This proceeding can be applied for claims over €6,000. A lawsuit is filed with the court, together with the documents that support the claim. The court then examines it alongside all related documents and decides whether to initiate the requested legal proceedings. A copy of the writ of summons and related documents are sent to the debtor. The debtor then has 20 business days to file its reply in court.

After that, the court appoints a preliminary hearing to determine if there is an amicable solution. If not, the disputed facts and the means of evidence are established, and another hearing is scheduled for the trial. On average a regular proceeding takes 21 months.

Regular proceeding €6000 onwards
Cheque enforcement

Juicio cambiario: Cheque enforcement

When dealing with debt collection in Spain, debtors have the possibility to pay with a pagaré or bill- of exchange. This is a form of a cheque, which states the date on which it can be cashed. If the cheque bounces, then the juicio cambiario can be initiated, which means cheque enforcement.

Based on the unpaid cheque and the bank's statement, a request can be made to the court to seize the debtor's assets. The court will then give the debtor 10 days to pay or oppose. There are few possibilities for the debtor to object and only those that are specifically stated in the law.

Procuradores: Debt collectors in Spain

For most legal proceedings in Spain, a party in a proceeding must be assisted by a lawyer and a bailiff known as a procurador. The bailiff represents the party in court, monitors the time frame, and ensures that the procedural documents are delivered and received from the court as well as from the opposing party on behalf of the party. The lawyer is responsible for the management of the proceedings, defines the strategy, drafts and writes relevant documents, pushes the proceeding forward, and pleads the case in court on behalf of his client.

Debt collectors in Spain

Why hire Bierens rather than a regular debt collection agency in Spain?

  • Highest collection rate throughout Spain
  • Extensive measures to recover your debt in the extrajudicial and judicial phase
  • No Cure No Pay debt collection in Spain
  • Immediate action after uploading your claim
  • 24/7 tracking of your case in our online portal

“Did you know that when litigating in Spain, you need to grant a lawyer the power of attorney through a notary? Only then can lawyers represent you in Court in Spain. ”

Debt collection enforcement in Spain

Once we have obtained a judgement against your Spanish debtor, the request for enforcement will have to be submitted to the Spanish Court. A sentence obtained from another Court that is a member of the EU could be executed directly in Spain without the judge having to validate the sentence. However, because Spain does not have independent bailiffs, other rules apply. The execution of a sentence in Spain is carried out by the Court under a special procedure known as the proceso de ejecución. With the help of these procedures, the following Spanish enforcement measures can be invoked:

  • Seizure of assets
  • The public sale of goods
  • Seizure of tax refund

The civil servants within a specific department in the Court known as the servicio de notificaciones y embargos or servicio común de embargos, act as the bailiff. The Court can order to have the debtor’s assets seized, arranges the public sale of goods and ensures that enforcement measures are carried out.

Seizure of assets
Summary proceedings

Limitation period in Spain

When dealing with debt collection in Spain, payment claims have a limitation period of 5 years. This period starts as soon as the claim becomes due and payable. Depending on the different contractual agreements, a different limitation period may apply. For instance, a limitation period of 1 year often applies to matters relating to transport law. For professional services, such as the legal sector, a limitation period of 3 years applies instead, as well as for claims that have followed the juicio cambiario, the cheque enforcement procedure. It is possible to prevent your invoice from expiring by interrupting the limitation period. The interruption stops and resets the limitation period. In Spain, there are 3 ways to stop a limitation period:

  • A Burofax is a registered letter to the debtor confirming the existence of an outstanding invoice. In addition, the outstanding amount is clearly stated. Other forms of communication proving the outstanding amount are also acceptable
  • A debt acknowledgement by the debtor
  • A claim filed in court

International debt collection laws in Spain

Besides having the knowledge and expertise in local debt collection laws in Spain, our team can also assist clients with international debt collection cases too. If you and your debtor are members of the European Union, then we can initiate the European Small Claims or European Order of Payment depending on the amount and complexity of your case.

International debt collection

Start your debt collection in Spain today

Start your debt collection case in Spain today! While our Spanish 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 Spain

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 Spain. Find out how our Spanish specialists and lawyers have helped other companies in a similar situation and find the solution with debt collection in Spain.

Frequently asked questions about debt recovery Spain

How does debt collection work in Spain?

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

How will you recover my debt in Spain?

We will always contact your debtor by sending an initial demand letter and a phone call. This way we avoid any form of miscommunication. Our approach is always firm and respectful, and you will always be informed of the status of your case.

What are the costs for debt collection in Spain?

We handle all out-of-court cases on a No Cure No Pay basis, also for debt collection in Spain. You only pay €165,- 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 move to an hourly or fixed fee. We do not have any hidden costs and will first consult you before proceeding with any action.

How long does an average debt collection procedure in Spain?

This depends on each situation and debtor. We always start in the amicable debt collection phase. This process takes a relatively short time because we provide your debtor with limited time to complete the payment. When starting your case, your caseworker will provide an estimate on the duration of your case. Should your debtor fail to respond, then our specialists and lawyers can provide you with an expected outcome or course of action within 4 weeks. If legal proceedings are necessary, the debt collection process takes longer. 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 a collection in the amicable phase. If this has no effect, then we proceed with court action. However, we always do so in consultation with you first.

What is a Burofax?

A Burofax is an official notification that is sent through registered post. It is a secure document that is recognized by the Court and third parties. A Burofax sent to a debtor often includes relevant details regarding the claim such as the due date, amount and payment term.

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

The chance for a successful recovery depends on the nature of your debt collection case. 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 to collect your claim as fast and efficiently as possible. We always make sure to give you honest and practical advice that will deliver you the best results.

What possibilities do I have for debt collection in Spain?

Our debt collection in Spain always starts within the extrajudicial phase. If legal proceedings are necessary, we can proceed with the proceso monitorio (payment order procedure), juicio verbal (regular proceeding up to €6000) or juicio ordinario (regular proceeding from €6000 onwards) or juicio cambiario (cheque enforcement). Once obtaining an official court verdict, we can have measures enforced.

What is the ASNEF?

The ASNEF is short for "Asociación Nacional de Entidades de Financiación". It is a blacklist that includes companies with outstanding debts.

Can I appoint a bailiff in Spain myself?

Yes, you can and have to appoint a bailiff in Spain yourself byways of a notary power of attorney that can be issued in your own country, as long as it includes The Hague Apostille. Procuradores (bailiffs) are mandatory by law for most proceedings and they represent the party in court, monitor the time frame and ensure that procedural documents are delivered and received from the court as well as from the opposing party on behalf of the party.

How long before a debt is written off in Spain?

Payment claims in Spain 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 cases in the transport sector, 1 year is applicable instead. Creditors can also interrupt the limitation period. In Spain, they can do so by submitting a Burofax to the debtor to notify them of the outstanding amount, an official acknowledgement of the debt by the Spanish debtor or 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. For more information is it best to contact our Spanish Desk.

How long do legal proceedings take in Spain?

The duration of legal proceedings in Spain depends on the complexity of your case and whether or not your debtor raises a defence. You will be able to track the status of your case 24/7 through our portal and your assigned debt collection specialist or lawyer will always keep you informed.

Can apply for the bankruptcy of my Spanish debtor?

Yes, you can apply for the bankruptcy of a Spanish debtor as long as certain conditions are met. For more information, it is best to contact our Spanish Desk.