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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.

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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.

WHAT IS A TRADEMARK AND WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO REGISTER IT IN PORTUGAL?

A trademark is a sign that identifies products or services that exist or is going to be launched in the marketplace. Trademarks enable us to distinguish a company’s products or services from those of other companies. A trademark can comprise letters or words (verbal trademark), but may also be composed of pictures (pictorial trademark), or both (mixed trademark). It is also possible to register sounds as trademarks (recorded graphically on staves - sound trademark), as well as three-dimensional shapes (three-dimensional trademark). Trademarks can also be made up of advertising slogans, independently of any Copyright protection they may enjoy. If the trademark is pictorial or contains a mix of words and pictures, you need to attach a picture of the trademark for publication in the Industrial Property Bulletin. This should be on A4 paper, no larger than 8cm x 8cm, and no smaller than 3cm in at least one of its dimensions. The image for publication should be of good technical quality

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.

NUMBER OF NEW COMPANIES RISES

Business formation with new businesses having been started in Portugal went up in 2017. Over 3,687 new companies were registered in Lisbon (14.5% more than in 2016), while Porto registered 7,107 new firms (5% up on the previous year). On the other hand, business failures in Portugal fell 12.7% in 2017 compared with 2016 to 6,284, while the number of new companies being set up rose 9.1%, to 40,465. Lisbon and Porto saw the highest number of bankruptcies – 1,683 and 1,330 respectively, but these were still 2.4% and 15.4% lower than in 2016.