Having drawn from the expertise of Atradius Collections' local offices, the International Debt Collections Handbook explains the different regulations and procedures for debt collections in Greece.
In the amicable phase, the collector gets in contact with the debtor. The collection process commences with an automatic letter sent to the debtor’s email address (if any) or fax number from our system, followed by an initial telephone call. Investigations are also conducted via internet sources and local contacts. It is important to have relevant documentation from the beginning of the case and know the debtor company’s VAT number in order to check if the company is active under the Greek General Commercial Registry (www.businessregistry.gr/publicity/index).
Note: Commercial claims have a time limit of five years, starting from the original due date.
Atradius Collections has several attorneys and debt collection partners acting on our behalf in Greek territories and collecting our clients’ claims either in court or out of court.
All our attorneys and agents in Greece are in a position to check the debtor’s financial status, order a credit report (estimated cost: EUR 150) and examine the court registries and the Bulletin of Judicial Publications (deltio.tnomik. gr/decisions) for court decisions and actions against the debtor. They can also check the Land Registry (estimated cost: EUR 300–EUR 350) for immovable property and the solvency of the debtor (estimated cost: EUR 150) if this is not clear (bankruptcy, article 99). Furthermore, personal visits to the debtor can be organised in the areas of Athens and Thessaloniki for significant outstanding debts. As the last amicable step before proceeding with legal actions, our agents can instruct the local bailiff to serve an Extra Judicial Declaration (EJD) or an out-of-court notice or a Letter Before Action (LBA) to the debtor (estimated cost: EUR 150–EUR 250 depending on the distance).
Late payment interest may be charged to the debtor on the first overdue day. The Recast Directive 2011/7/EU, which stipulates that payments in the EU must be made within 60 days, was transposed into domestic law through Law 4152/2013 (which retroactively entered into force on 16th March 2013). In contrast to the regulations set forth in most EU member states, late payment rules in Greece are very comprehensive: in general, payment terms in business-to-business transactions must not exceed 60 calendar days unless otherwise agreed by contract and provided that the delays are not grossly unfair to the creditor. Beyond this point, interest may be due as negotiated by the parties. But in any case, the law allows creditors to charge an automatic interest rate approximately from 7% to 8%.
Debt collection costs
In theory, the transposition of the Recast Directive 2011/7/EU into domestic law would entitle creditors to charge a flat EUR 40 collection fee when payment is late. In practice, however, it is very uncommon to do so unless a claim is brought to court.
The Debt Collections Handbook presents a snapshot of Greece's economic situation and covers the following topic:
- Legal procedures
- Insolvency proceedings
- Time frame and outcome
To read more about steps and procedures undertaken in debt collections in Greece: