Debt collection in Europe is different than the United States. Both the success rates and the average collected amounts are higher in Europe. Furthermore, it is common in Europe for attorneys to collect your debt prior to going to court. Bierens has a team of international in-house attorneys from over 20 different countries, who are specialized in collecting small or large past due accounts receivable in Europe. Under one roof, Bierens can provide fast and successful results anywhere in Europe.
Suggestions when a Romanian customer is not paying:
- Sending a reminder is not compulsory in Romania, but we do advise you to send a reminder immediately.
- In your reminder, state that you will hand the claim over for collection if payment is not made;
- In Romania, a period of payment between fifteen and thirty days is common;
- Always inform your Romanian customer that you may start legal action and allow your customer another chance to pay. If you do not, the Court may decide that you are responsible for your own debt recovery costs;
- Record everything in writing, including a signature, and always send important documents and correspondence by registered post. In Romania, there needs to be unquestionable evidence of all agreements.
Our Romanian Lawyers Are Familiar with Local Legislation
Our Romanian debt recovery lawyers have extensive experience and knowledge of Romanian legislation and regulations. In addition, they are fully aware of commercial traditions and culture in Romania. That makes it easier to get your Romanian debtor to pay quickly.
Debt Recovery in the Romanian Language
Our lawyers speak both your language and Romanian, which allows them to overcome language barriers with ease.
Customised Debt Recovery
Our commercial debt recovery approach is customised to each unique case, and we provide you with tailor-made advice.
We will always give our honest advice on the chances of success in your debt recovery matter. Putting your interests first is important to us; we endeavour to provide you with your options, as well as our advice on the best route to take. It’s easy to see how we put our core values of integrity and justice into practice.
The Debt Collection Process in Romania
The debt collection process in Romania can be divided into two stages. During the extrajudicial phase, collection takes place without Court intervention. During the judicial phase, we involve the Court in order to make your Romanian debtor pay. Because we are a law firm, we can assist you during both stages. In Romania, most matters are resolved during the extrajudicial phase, without Court intervention.
1. Extrajudicial Debt Collection
In principle, we always start the debt collection process with the extrajudicial phase. During this phase, we try to avoid the need to go to Court, as this can be expensive. We will contact your Romanian debtor to ensure that your debtor pays. At this stage, we have the following options:
- Written demand letters and phone calls: We send the debtor a written demand letter and contact them by telephone, requesting that they pay your claim within a few days, together with interest and costs;
- Requesting seizure of assets: In Romania, if you have an unpaid claim, it is possible to request seizure of the debtor’s movable and (immovable) assets. This is only an option if legal proceedings to obtain an enforcement order have already been started. Under these same conditions, the creditor may also attempt to seize receivables owed to the debtor by third parties;
- Announcing legal proceedings: When no payment takes place, we can, in consultation with you, start legal proceedings. Often, announcing legal proceedings will convince your Romanian customer to pay.
2. Judicial Debt Collection
If your debtor refuses to pay during the extrajudicial phase, after discussion with you, we can go to Court. We will always provide you with information in advance regarding the potential costs, and we only proceed with your permission. In Romania, similar cases handled by different Courts can have completely different outcomes. Moreover, the validity of, for instance, arrangements made by email, may be assessed differently by each Court. Our Romanian lawyers have the knowledge and experience to provide you with the best possible assistance with your debt recovery matter in Romania. During the judicial phase, we have the following options to obtain payment:
- Small claims proceedings (“Procedura privind cereri cu valoare redusă”): Although we advise against it, you can conduct these proceedings without a lawyer. Such proceedings can be started for claims with a principal amount of no more than 10,000 Romanian RON (approximately €2,200). You will need to complete a form with the particulars of the case and send it to the Court. Your debtor will receive a form allowing him to provide evidence to the contrary. On average, the Court will take ninety days to issue a decision. In addition to written documentation, the Court may also use other forms of evidence, such as calling witnesses or external experts. One requirement of small claims proceedings is that costs are not disproportionate to the size of the debt;
- Order for payment proceedings (“Procedura somaţiei de platā”): For a court fee of only forty Euros, together with a lawyer, you can commence order for payment proceedings at the Romanian Court. This is the most effective method of obtaining an enforceable Court decision within three months. There is no cap on the principal amount for these proceedings;
- Ordinary civil proceedings: If the agreement on which your claim is based is not documented in writing formally, it cannot be dealt with by the small claims or order for payment proceedings. Therefore, your claim must proceed in an ordinary civil procedure. Our Romanian debt recovery lawyers will be pleased to advise you on your options;
European order for payment proceedings:
- In the event of an undisputed claim between two parties based in EU Member States (except Denmark), it is possible to commence European Order for Payment proceedings. The lawyer handling your case can assess whether this kind of procedure is suitable in your case.
- For European Order for Payment proceedings, the creditor usually completes a standard form and submits this to the Court. The Court then issues a European Order for Payment. The debtor then has 30 days to state whether they object to the claim. If there is no response within the 30-day period, you may ask the Court to make the order for payment final (called a “declaration of enforceability”). This is a valid and enforceable judgment which is accepted in any Member State (except Denmark). The European Order for Payment is never appropriate for disputed matters (so not in cases where there is an argument about the invoice). The advantage of this procedure are speed and low costs (some Member States don’t even charge a court fee), but the disadvantage is that if it becomes disputed, the procedure comes to an end and an ordinary civil procedure will have to be started if the creditor wants to continue.