Do you have defaults in your company, and you don’t know what to do? A client may not pay you the invoice he owes you despite having talked to him,  It is a common problem in companies and, many times is unknown how to interrupt the prescription period and prevent the debt from prescribing because it has not been claimed reliably. In this post we tell you what to do to avoid the prescription of debts.

What is debt prescription?

A debt prescribes when a legally established period of time has elapsed without the creditor having claimed payment. In other words, the obligation to pay prescribes after a period of time.

When debts become statute barred?

The statute of limitations for debts is regulated in article 1964.2 of the Spanish Civil Code, which establishes that:

Personal actions that do not have a special statute of limitations expire five years after the compliance of the obligation can be claimed “in continuing obligations of doing or not doing, the term shall commence each time they are not met”.

In 2015, there was an amendment of  the Spanish Civil Code  significantly reducing  the statute of limitations for debts, therefore, it is currently necessary to be very careful so that the period does not elapse without interrupting it.

How a prescription of a debt can be interrupted?

Article 1973 of the Civil Code regulates how to paralyse the prescription of a debt and establishes the following:

Prescription on actions is interrupted by the bringing of such actions before the Courts of Law, by an out-of-court claim made by the creditor and by any act of acknowledgement

of the debt by the debtor

As a consequence of the above, if a client of your company owes you money, he will be interested in stopping the limitation period and claiming the debt. To achieve this you have several options:

  • Make an out-of-court claim. Before going to a trial, it is always advisable to resolve by amicable negotiation The out-of-court claim of the debt can be done in several ways to make it irrefutable:
  • Through registered fax services. In this case the process is not complex, but it does take time: write the registered fax, print it, sign it, take it to the post office and collect the text certificate a few days later.
  • Through a registered electronic communication. In this case, you can send a registered email claiming the debt, without leaving home and with the assurance that you will have proof of its delivery, its content, and its receipt by the debtor. Therefore, it may be used as valid evidence before a court, in the event that the debtor does not pay within the established period. At  Lleida.net we provide electronic notifications such as:

Registered email In this case you will have evidence to prove that a communication has been sent, when it was received, where it was sent, where it was received and its content.

Openum a service attesting the opening of documents sent by email or SMS. In this case there is a record of when the document was sent, when it was received and when it was opened by the recipient.

Bring a case before the Courts: in this case, the claim can be expensive, since you will have to pay attorney and attorney fees, and it may take a long time to collect, due to the backlog of court cases.

What content should have an out-of-court claim for a debt ?

For an out-of-court claim for a debt to be effective, it must have the following content:

  • Date of the claim.
  • Details of the debtor and the creditor (name or company name, address, etc.).
  • Origin of the debt (for example, data in the invoice, and the invoice itself may be attached)
  • Outstanding amount. It is important that, before claiming the debt to double-check the amount is still outstanding and the amount due
  • Deadline for payment.
  • Consequences of remaining unpaid after the  agreed date (for example,  legal proceedings).

As you have seen, it is important to know both the statute of limitations for debts and how to interrupt it to prevent the debt from being extinguished due to lack of claim by the debtor. We must not  forget that there is an accumulation of debts of several clients ,the company may face cash problems, so it is essential to act quickly and agilely.

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