Amicable collections

1.1. General information

We maintain a professional collections process and focus on the relationships between you and your debtors at all times. Our team of collections specialists carry out the collections process in-house. We contact debtors both verbally and in writing whilst adhering to federal and state laws.

When there is a case of dispute, we aim to reach an amicable solution between you and your debtor. We do this by analysing all the contractual documents (e.g. signed contracts, orders, confirmations, invoices, delivery notes, as well as all standard terms that have been agreed to). All of our investigations are completed with the assistance and agreement of our legal team.

1.2. Local agents

We can perform direct collections activities. They are managed by a selected network of local agents who can visit debtors across Italy in order to collect monies. This solution has proven to be successful for medium to small amounts, for individual sole traders, shops, and small companies, and particularly for sectors such as food, textiles, clothes, and shoes. The local agents’ network can also investigate locally in order to search for untraceable debtors.

1.3. Interest

We always charge interest to debtors at 8% on a daily basis. The European Directive 2000/35/CE, implemented in Italy with D. Lgs on 9 October 2002, n. 231, has been updated by the European Directive 2011/7/EU on 16 February 2011 and implemented in Italy, modifying the previous D. Lgs 231/2002 by the D. Lgs on 9 November 2012, n. 192. Interest is always requested during both the amicable phase and judicial phase.

From a cultural point of view, Italian debtors very rarely agree to pay late payment interest. It’s often used as a negotiation tool between debtors and collectors. Often, they tolerate some delay in invoices’ payment (particularly in sectors such as clothes, shoes, and food).

1.4. Debt collections costs

Due to contract laws, the collections convention between you and Atradius Collections must be signed, so that another person cannot be linked to the tariff. The laws allow us to request collections costs, but if we do so without specifying the amounts, including the legal tariff on lawyers, they are not seen as valid. There are strong cultural obstacles to paying collections costs, and we cannot claim them back in court as there is no jurisprudence for us to do so.

1.5. Prescription

The prescriptive period for credit is 10 years (article 2946 of the Civil Code), which can be interrupted when the creditor notifies the debtor of the interruption of the prescription and asks for payment. Once this has been received, the prescriptive period would be calculated again.

For shipping contracts or contracts of carriage, the prescriptive period is one year. For transport contracts from non-European countries, the prescriptive period is 18 months.

1.6. Accepted and most common payment methods

The most common payment methods are bank transfers and cheques. We will also accept drafts issued directly by debtors, but not from a third party.

1.7. Types of companies

In Italy, there are two main types of companies: partnerships and capital companies.

The partnerships are:

“Società in nome collettivo” (S.n.c)

  • Unlimited liability of the partners
  • Has to be registered in the ordinary section of the “Registro delle Imprese”

“Società Semplice” (S.s.)

  • Unlimited liability of the partners
  • Has to be registered in the special section of the “Registro delle Imprese”

“Società in accomandita semplice” (S.a.s)

  • Unlimited liability of only the declared unlimited partners (“socio accomandatario”)
  • Has to be registered in the ordinary section of the “Registro delle Imprese”

The capital companies are:

“Società a responsabilità limitata” (S.r.l)

  • The minimum capital requirement is EUR 10,000
  • Registered with the “Registro delle Imprese”
  • Limited liability of the partners

“Società di capitali” (S.p.a)

  • The subscribed minimum capital requirement is EUR 50,000
  • Registered with the “Registro delle Imprese”
  • Limited liability of the partners

“Società in accomandita per azioni” (S.a.p.a)

  • The minimum capital requirement is EUR 50,000
  • Registered with the “Registro delle Imprese”
  • Limited liability of some of the partners (“soci accomandanti”)
  • Unlimited liability of some of the partners (“soci accomandatari”)

For an individual company, the owner is the person that has unlimited liability for the debts incurred and is a minor entrepreneur, craftsman, or farmer.

1.8. Sources of information

We can evaluate the solvency of debtors and the financial situations of debtor companies. To investigate in a more accurate way, we can add some extra services for you, such as bank account research, officially booked goods research (e.g. vehicles, crafts), estate research, and estimations in public registers. All these elements can help create a clear picture of each debtor’s situation, and help us advise on the best way to collect the money.

In order to trace debtors, we check the information registered with the Chamber of Commerce and we can ask for certificates at town councils. We can also entrust the local agents in our network to investigate locally. At the Chamber of Commerce, we can obtain all the information referring to a company, such as the legal form, legal address, names of the shareholders, and status of insolvency.

(End of chapter 1 - Amicable collections)

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