Skip to main content

HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY COLLECT A DEBT IN PORTUGAL

To evaluate the chances to successfully collect a debt in Portugal, one should ask the following main six questions:

1 - Is the debt business or consumer related?
Business-related debts often have more chances to receive an immediate positive response than consumer debts. So if the debtor is a company, there are more chances of collecting the debt, unless de company is insolvent or out of business.

2 - How old is the debt?
The age of the debt is critical. Despite the fact that in Portugal the period of limitation is 20 years, the older overdue invoices are, the more difficult it becomes to collect.

3 - Are there documentation to support the debt? 
To make a strong case towards the debtor, and to start legal actions to enforce payment of overdue invoices or a contractually agreed payment, it is mandatory on file the documentation that supports the claim. Supporting documentation regarding the debt may consist of contracts, invoices, order forms, order confirmations, debt acknowledgement, and (email) correspondence about the outstanding invoices or reasons for not pay.

4 - What is the reason why the debtor is not paying? 
Financial problems? The debt is disputed? This helps to guide debt collection strategy towards attempts to fully collect or look for a settlement or payment plan.

5 - The debtor can be located? 
Essential information includes the full company name or full name of the person, full address details, telephone numbers, cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses and VAT number. It is important to keep such information up to date during the whole commercial or consumer relationship, as it may turn out to be vital once payment problems show up later on.

6 - What is the current solvency of debtor?
Before starting it is essential to be aware of the debtor’s solvency status as well as other data such as pending legal actions. If insolvency proceedings have been initiated, it indeed becomes impossible to enforce a debt and if there are pending legal actions against the debtor the chances of collecting decrease substantially.In these cases writing the debt off and stop spending more time or money on something which is practically impossible to collect could happen to be the best solution. It is also important to check company records and relevant financial information (in Portugal publishing yearly financial results is mandatory).

To determine chances for success in collecting a debt in Portugal, we suggest to ask yourself these 6 questions. We can help answer these issues, especially the last two. The answer is crucial to determine the next steps to collect a debt in Portugal.

POPULAR

PORTUGAL, A PEACEFUL COUNTRY

In the recent Global Peace Index 2016, Portugal is ranked as the fifth most peaceful country in the world, in a table that organises 163 countries.

The index is based on 23 quantitative and qualitative indicators that measure the level of peace in each country. The indicators can be grouped into three general themes: level of security and protection of society; the number of international conflicts and; the degree of militarization.

Among these factors, Portugal scored in militarization (1.4 points out of 5), society and security (1.6 out of 5) and internal conflicts (1.1 out of 5). Portugal also scored in other factors such as the perception of crime, the level of violent demonstrations and crimes, the impact of terrorism or the number of displaced persons.

PORTUGAL MAKES TOP TEN OF RETIREMENT DESTINATIONS

The Annual Global Retirement Index places Portugal as the seventh best destination in the world to retire. The top three destinations listed by International Living are Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama. Spain has listed two positions below Portugal in ninth and is the only other European nation on the list.

According to International Living’s report, “the third-safest country in the world in the 2017 Global Peace Index, Portugal is not only secure but beautiful.” It adds that “if Portugal’s attributes have convinced you to give it a try, here’s a tip: Begin your test drive in the capital. Lisbon is easy to reach, with direct flights from major cities around the world.”

DEBTS TO BE RECOVERED IN THE COURTS REACH THE EUR 7.2 BILION

The enforcement proceeding (debt recovery through the courts) has been considered one of the major problems in Portuguese justice and also one of the barriers to the development of the Portuguese economy. In 2013 the cases for legal collection amounted EUR 5.6 billion, regarding 201,000 enforcement proceedings lodged in the courts. Between January and April 9 this year, 38,924 cases were filed, valued at EUR. 1.6 billion. Portuguese courts have pending something like EUR 7.2 billion to collect, which corresponds to 4.3% of GDP.

I AM AN E.U. CITIZEN, HOW CAN I REGISTRATE IN PORTUGAL?

To make your registration in Portugal, you only have to apply for a Certificate of Registration of Citizen.

The Certificate of Registration of Citizen of the European Union must be requested by any citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra and Switzerland, wishing to remain in Portugal for a period exceeding three months.

The request can be made to the City Hall, in person by completing a statement and delivering the necessary documents.

The application can also be made by a lawyer, as long as he has the necessary powers to act on your behalf.

I FOUND THAT THE PROPERTY I PURCHASED HAS DEFECTS, WHAT CAN I DO NOW?

Every consumer purchase is covered by a mandatory legal guarantee. As long as you are a consumer, no seller can claim otherwise.

Legally, the property must not suffer from any defect which has a negative impact on its value or which renders its regular use impossible. If these warranties are breached, the consumer can choose between repair, replacement, refund or a price reduction. However, the buyer must notify the seller of defects within one year of their discovery.

If the property is newly built, the purchaser will also benefit from a five-year warranty period. According to Art. 1225 of the Civil Code, the seller is liable for damages in respect of certain defects during five years, if he has also constructed, repaired or modified the building.