Debt Collection Portugal: collecting your Portuguese claims
If your debtor is located in Portugal, it is possible to transfer your money claim to an international debt collection agency. Whether it is a Portuguese customer who does not pay an invoice, a defaulter who has fled to Portugal, or a compensation that you are entitled to, Collection Company will recover your money.
We make use of a wide network of lawyers and bailiffs in Portugal. They know everything about Portuguese legislation regarding debt collection and can quickly and efficiently collect your money for you.
Specialized in debt collection in Portugal
It’s every entrepreneur’s nightmare when doing business abroad: a customer who doesn’t pay. After all, your debtor is located hours away by plane and speaks a language you don’t master. The language used in all court documents in Portugal is for example Portuguese. Moreover, you’re likely unfamiliar with local customs and regulations regarding debt collection.
That’s why Collection Company has built a global network of lawyers, attorneys, and bailiffs, including in Portugal. We can engage them at any time to help you collect your unpaid invoices.
The debt collection process is coordinated by our own international debt collection specialist. They will keep you up-to-date during the process and oversee the local specialists. This way you don’t have don’t need to communicate in Portuguese with local parties to collect the money you’re entitled to.
You can continuously track the progress of your claim in our Online Cockpit.
Would you like to know more about our debt collection services in Portugal? Request a free and non-binding consultation.
Transfer your claim now
Do you have a money claim in Portugal? Fill out the contact form and one of our international debt collection agents will get in touch with you to discuss your case.
Why choose Collection Company for debt collection in Portugal?
How does debt collection in Portugal work?
Similar to most other countries, debt collection in Portugal consists of two parts: an extrajudicial phase and a judicial procedure.
The most efficient and least costly way to collect your claim is through extrajudicial (amicable) debt collection. This phase involves sending reminders and building a case file. In the majority of cases, this is sufficient to collect the debt.
If it is not possible to collect the outstanding amount through an amicable process, we can initiate legal proceedings in the Portuguese court.
The extrajudicial debt collection process includes sending reminders and warnings to your debtor. With a friendly reminder, we draw your debtor’s attention to the outstanding debt. If we don’t receive a response or if your debtor still doesn’t pay, we send a warning. This is more stern in tone.
Additionally, we try to get in touch with your debtor over the phone and send emails and WhatsApp messages. This way, we gradually increase the pressure on the debtor. In total, there are 16 points of contact with your debtor within a period of 3 weeks.
In the final warning, we inform the defaulter that we will take legal action if the payment is not received by the ultimate due date of the warning. We make it clear that this will incur significant costs for your debtor.
Judicial debt collection
In Portugal, we have two options when initiating a judicial procedure. Firstly, there is the injunção, a simplified procedure intended for the collection of uncontested claims. If you have fully documented your claim, for example, through a contract, an issued invoice, and the sent reminders and notices, and your debtor does not contest the claim, we can request the court to issue an order for payment. This judicial debt collection procedure is conducted entirely digitally, regardless of the amount of the claim.
With the payment order, we can have a bailiff seize assets from your debtor.
If your debtor does contest the claim, we can file a regular lawsuit. This procedure is called acção declarativa in Portugal. Your debtor will be summoned to appear before the court. Both parties will have the opportunity to submit their evidence and substantiate their positions. Ultimately, the court will make a ruling.
With the court’s judgment, we can then have assets seized from your debtor.
European Small Claims Procedure
It is not always necessary to initiate legal proceedings in Portugal itself. If the claim is 5,000 euros or less, we can also make use of the European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP). This procedure can be used if you are owed money by another company, organization, or customer.
To follow this procedure, we can file the claim with the court in your own country. The court will notify your debtor, who will then have the opportunity to respond. The court may request further information or schedule a videoconference hearing.
The judgment of the court is enforceable in all EU countries, except Denmark.
European Payment Order (EPO)
Another option is to apply for a European Payment Order (EPO). This is a procedure for uncontested cross-border claims. If your debtor does not dispute the validity of the claim but simply fails to respond, we can request a European Payment Order.
The advantage of this procedure is that we only need to submit a few standard forms to a designated court in your own country. The judge then issues a payment order.
If your debtor does not respond to this, we can enforce the payment order through a bailiff in Portugal. With the payment order the bailiff can seize assets from your debtor.
Would you like to have a European Payment Order issued against your debtor? Contact our collection specialists to discuss your case.
How does the debt collection procedure work in Portugal?
The collection of your claim begins with an amicable procedure. We first send a payment reminder to your debtor on our behalf. This way, we have written proof that we have demanded payment. Next, we try to contact your debtor by phone and send emails and WhatsApp messages. We do this 16 times over a period of 3 weeks.
When the debtor still does not pay after these efforts, we send a final notice, informing your debtor that we will take legal action if payment is further delayed. We also specify the costs that your debtor will incur as a result.
If your debtor still refuses to pay, we will consult with you to determine whether you want to initiate a lawsuit. If so, we will prepare the necessary paperwork and initiate the legal proceedings. Throughout the entire judicial procedure, your interests will be represented by our specialists.
If your debtor knows that there will be legal steps taken against him during the recovery of the debt, he has the opportunity to conceal assets. This way, there will be nothing to be gained from him once the judge has made a ruling.
To prevent this, we can ask the judge in advance to secure certain assets of your debtor. This is called “cautionary or interim attachment”. For example, bank accounts can be frozen so that your debtor can no longer withdraw any money from them. The judge will weigh whether the interest in securing the assets outweighs the debtor’s right to use them.
Seizing assets from your debtor in Portugal
If we have a judgment from the court or a payment order, we can have this executed by a bailiff in Portugal. If your debtor does not pay voluntarily, the bailiff can, for example, place executory attachment (juízos de execução) on your debtor’s assets.
For instance, we can let the bailiff put an attachment on the debtor’s bank account or income to repay the debt to you. If your debtor has no income or bank balances, the bailiff can also seize physical items and sell them publicly.
Filing for Bankruptcy in Portugal
If your debtor claims to be unable to pay the outstanding invoice, we have the option to file for their bankruptcy (falência). If your debtor is declared bankrupt, the court appoints a trustee who tries to pay off all creditors from the bankrupt estate.
Most delinquent debtors will do everything possible to prevent bankruptcy. We often see that a debtor “suddenly” can pay the claim when a petition for bankruptcy is filed. Thus, this is an excellent means to increase pressure on your debtor.
Advice about your case?
Submit your contact details and one of our debt collection specialists will contact you immediately!
Debt collection Portugal: legal areas
Collection Company specializes in international debt collection. For example, we recover your money if customers fail to pay, but we also handle debt collection within other jurisdictions. For instance, we can also collect debts that have risen because you are entitled to money from compensation or based on a rental or purchase dispute.
We can assist, among others, with claims in the following areas of law:
- Construction law
- Rental and leasing
- Buying and selling
- Labor law
- Agency agreement
- Damages and wrongful acts
We work directly for clients as well as for third parties such as lawyers and accountants.
Anything else we can help you with in Portugal?
- Reliable advice on contracts and terms
- Credit information on companies in Portugal
- Disputes regarding retention of title and right of reclamation
- Mediation in reaching private agreements and settlements
Submit your claim in Portugal
Free advice on debt collection in Portugal?
Submit your contact details and one of our debt collection specialists will contact you immediately!
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about debt collection in Portugal
FAQ: What do we need to collect a debt in Portugal?
To recover the claim, we ask you to provide as much information as possible. This may include contracts, invoices, bank statements showing payments, credit notes, and other documents supporting your claim.
Don’t have all the paperwork complete? That’s not a problem. Our collection specialist can discuss the matter with you to determine what evidence you do have for your claim.
If available, we would appreciate receiving the following documents:
- Copies of agreements made, such as a purchase agreement, email correspondence, a fax confirmation, or simply a summary of what was agreed upon
- (Copies of) your invoices
- (Copies of) your payment reminders
- Your terms and conditions
- Proof of delivery
FAQ: Do you need a lawyer for debt collection in Portugal?
For a regular judicial procedure (acção declarativa), a lawyer is required in Portugal. Collection Company works with the best lawyers in Portugal. They can assist us during the case.
For a simplified procedure (injunção), no lawyer is required. Also, for following the European Small Claims Procedure or requesting a European Payment Order, a lawyer is not mandatory.
FAQ: Does a retention of title apply in Portugal?
It is possible to agree on a retention of title, but it must be clearly stated in the contract. For certain products such as real estate and vehicles, the retention of title must also be registered.
If you agree on a retention of title, you have the right to reclaim delivered goods if the agreed price is not fully paid.
FAQ: What is the statute of limitations for claims in Portugal?
In Portugal, there is a general statute of limitations (prazo de prescrição ordinário) of 20 years. A claim must generally be brought before the court within this timeframe. In some cases, it is possible to request the court to suspend the statute of limitations.
FAQ: Why not hire a debt collection agency in Portugal?
When you engage a debt collection agency in Portugal for debt recovery, you will have to communicate in Portuguese. At Collection Company, your case is coordinated by an English speaking debt collection agent. They will keep you informed about the progress of the case and oversee the local specialists in Portugal. Therefore, you do not have to maintain contact with the parties in Portugal yourself.
Collection Company can handle the entire debt collection process for you, including legal procedures. For this, we work with lawyers and legal experts in Portugal.
Why 40.000 customers tried our services
I had a difficult case against my debtor. I had a ticket for an event, but then the event was cancelled due to new covid regulations and my debtor refused to pay me back. After two months of corresponding with my debtor, I decided to start incassoprocedure. My case was handled in no time and it was really no cure no pay. I highly recommend them. Especially Danny was very insightful and helped me solve the case.