Debt collection Italy: all risks associated with international commercial transactions

The activity of "debt collection Italy" aims at obtaining what's due by a debtor, it may be performed by a debt collection agency, a debt collector or debt collection lawyers.

In those cases in which commercial transactions are undertaken at the international level, risks of non-payment are much higher.

Failure to recover any debt most of the time is due to the foreign partner's low creditworthiness or simply to his dishonesty or litigiousness.

In order to avoid this inconvenience it is of crucial importance to select more appropriate and safer terms of payment, besides, to look at drafting contractual clauses able to secure the transaction favourable outcome.

Moreover, it is recommended to the traders to collect preventive information about the foreign partner related to: liquidity conditions, owned assets, possible pending cases, ongoing seizures or complaints.

In Italy there are various sources from which achieving information.

Debt collection Italy: what to do to get the money

The first step of debt recovery procedure in Italy is to give the debtor formal notice by registered letter, in which the debtor is ordered to pay within a certain term (7 to 15 days), with instruction that after expiry of the deadline, the case will be reported before the judicial authority.

Exception to this regulation is made in the following cases specified by article 1219 of the Civil Code:

  • the claim derives from an illegal act;
  • the debtor has declared in writing that he will not fulfil the obligation;
  • the provision shall be undertaken at the creditor's domicile and the term to fulfil has expired.

Debt collection overseas: what to do if the debtor continues not to pay.

If the debtor, despite the formal notice, continues not to pay, the creditor may bring the case before the judicial authority.

The procedure of debt collection Italy is structured in different phases:

1. appeal for injunction decree, as long as an enforceable title is already available (cheque, bill of exchange...).

The injunction decree is an order for payment issued by the Court, at the request of one of the parties, as long as the debt is of a fixed amount, in an immediately available form and payable.

Once the injunction decree is issued, it shall be notified to the debtor, who may oppose it within 40 days from the date of notification, by writ of summons and therefore by establishing an ordinary legal proceeding. Otherwise, in absence of opposition, the decree will become executive. Thus, the creditor may request the Court to append an enforcement clause to the copy of the injunction decree which has been notified and consequently draft the writ.

2. writ of execution, in case the debtor does not oppose the injunction decree.

Whoever is in possession of an enforcement title may immediately make use of a writ of execution.

It has to be notified to the debtor, who shall pay the due amount within 10 days from receipt of notification. Failing this, the enforcement measure of foreclosure on assets will follow.

3. foreclosure (movable, real estate or third party) is an injunction issued by the judicial authority against the debtor, who is ordered to abstain from subtracting assets which fall within the guarantee of the creditor.

As a result of the foreclosure, certain debtor's assets will be declared as unavailable to be subject of court order for sale until the settlement of the debt;

4. petition for sale, the debtor's foreclosed assets will be sold, with or without auction sale, in order to fulfil the claimed debt.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.