- August 9, 2010 at 4:38 pm #55800
A friend of mine has a property near Altea ( CB ) he had recently been contacted by a UK based debt collectors in respect of gastos de commundad/service charges relating to property his property in Spain.
The administrator/managing agent has passed the files to a UK based debt collectors. The question
a) What is the legal position i.e. can UK debt collectors act for a non UK debt. ( The debt is not under court order )
b) He was also told that if the payment was not made the use of pool would be denied.
Any advise practical or legal. Aparantly a certain element of the service charge amount is in dispute and true to Spanish way of doing things the administrators/managing agents have ignored this dispute.
- August 9, 2010 at 9:27 pm #100297
Under spanish law non-payers cannot be denied use of facilities including pool. Debt collectors…ignore them if you don’t mind being embarrased. Why do you think it was placed with debt collectors instead of going through the Courts………cos they don’t think there is much chance of collecting the debt. Tell them to take a hike and if they harrass you, report them, they have no legal remit.
- August 10, 2010 at 6:08 am #100300
Shakeel, this is actually an area I know quite a lot about. In a previous existence I was a debt collector.
The advice to your friend is very straightforward. He should tell the debt collector that, having taken advice, he understands that the Spanish civil debt is not enforcable under English law. That, should the creditor wish to proceed with the matter, they should proceed through the proper legal channels.
He should further state that he will not deal with the matter any further other than in writing and that he will regard any further phone calls as harassment and act accordingly.
He should be polite but very firm. Collectors will often say anything, often downright lies, in order to collect a debt (and their commission).
- August 10, 2010 at 7:26 am #100301
That, should the creditor wish to proceed with the matter, they should proceed through the proper legal channels.
Can they go through the UK courts?
- August 10, 2010 at 8:34 am #100302
In theory they can but in practice it is not worthwhile unless you are talking about a sum in excess of €50k. Even then is is questionable.
They would first have to demonstrate that they have made all reasonable efforts to collect the money owed in the juristiction where the debt was incurred. At the very minimum this would entail getting a judgement against the creditor in a Spanish court first. They would then have to apply to both the English and Spanish courts to have the debt transferred. This is such an expensive and time consuming practice that it only ever happens when very large sums of money are involved.
- August 10, 2010 at 9:28 am #100303
Can jurisdiction be stated at the place of the debtor? I know if you are taking someone to court for an unpaid debt, there is the option to use the court nearest to one of the parties – in this case the person in the UK?
- August 10, 2010 at 10:02 am #100304
No, categorically not.
The debt was incurred in Spain and is governed by Spanish civil law. It cannot be enforced outside Spain without the authorities in England first accepting that it is a legitimate debt.
Before England would accept the legitimacy of such a debt it would require proof that the full process to recover the debt has been undertaken in the country where the debt was incurred. As a very minimum this would require a legal judgement
in the home juristiction. Add to this the not inconsiderable cost of lawyers in both countries, official translations, etc. Even then it would only mean that the whole process, beginning with a CCJ, could begin in England.
As Katy so accurately put it earlier:
Why do you think it was placed with debt collectors instead of going through the Courts?
It is way way to complex and expensive for a debt such as this to be persued through proper legal channels. The creditor is, as they are entitled to do, trying to bypass this process by using a debt collector.
If the creditor holds firm, whatever threats the collector spouts, it is highly unlikely that any action will be taken in England. Even if it is the creditor has a lot of protection under English civil law.
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