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Debt Collection in Italy – How to chase a debt in Italy

Many UK companies conduct a substantial part of their business with overseas partners, and while this can bring many advantages, it can also lead to difficulties, not least around the rules on late payment and how debt can be collected from those who pay late.

When doing business with an Italian trade partner, you will be confronted with trading traditions and conventions that are distinct from your own, while Italy has a set of laws and regulations that differ widely from those in the UK. As a result, debt collection in Italy is frequently complicated and time-consuming.

Late payment in Italy

Italian businesses, like those in many other southern European countries, have long payment terms. The maximum payment time of 30 or 60 days is frequently surpassed since payment laws are more lenient. It is common in Italy to receive your money after 80 days and a delay of 100 days is not unusual.

Extrajudicial and judicial

Debt collection by non-judicial measures is the initial step in the process. The goal of this phase is to persuade the debtor to pay their obligation without requiring judicial processes. This is a critical step since if it is handled correctly, considerable time and money can be saved by not going through the courts.

The first stage is to gather any relevant information about the claim, such as invoices, cheques, and payment promises, as well the contract or written agreement between the parties.

At this point an international debt collection agency can write a letter of reminder based on the information gathered, urging the debtor to pay the amount within a particular time frame. The goal of this letter is to see if the debtor is willing to pay the whole amount owed or if they have any issues.

If the debtor does not respond, the best course of action in Italy is usually to send a second letter of exhortation with a warning and a formal notice. This letter represents the last chance for the dispute to be settled without resorting to the courts. In addition, the formal notice has significant implications: it suspends credit regulation and establishes the effective start of default interest.

If the debtor expresses their willingness to pay, that is the point at which a legally enforceable written agreement between the parties can be drafted. If the debtor refuses to pay or challenges the claim, and it is not possible to reach an arrangement, the next stage is to turn to the courts to start the legal process.

But then, you might be starting a legal process which could easily be lasting for 5 to 7 years so at this stage, you might wish to organise a site visit as a last attempt to find an amicable resolution.

International Debt collection expertise

Debt collection in Italy doesn’t have to be a stressful business. By engaging the services of a professional international debt collection agency, you can leave the recovery process to the experts and focus on growing and operating your business. If you have a query about an Italian debt, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help secure repayment quickly and efficiently.

CLI is a member of the TCM Group and has extensive expertise in foreign debt collection.

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