Read this article if you are a freelancer

A claim for non-payment of invoices allows companies and freelancers to claim business debts. Remember that an unpaid invoice is a burden for the company because it reduces the company’s liquidity, but also it puts it at risk.

For this reason, while it is convenient to initiate these claims on a non-judicial way, it is important to know the legal process for non-payment of invoices. This is what our current article is devoted to.

Out-of-court claim for unpaid invoices
The best thing to do before any claim is to proceed out of court. So it is good practice to periodically remind customers of debits, in case the non-payment is due to negligence.

When a customer knows that he has an overdue and pending invoice, but does not pay it, it is advisable to send a letter demanding a claim. There is no specific format for these papers, but in principle they should be identified:

  • The identity of the customer and the company.
  • The origin of the debt (e.g., stating the number of invoices pending payment and their due date).
  • The demand for payment with the relevant means (e.g., account number).

Interest for late payment

Remember that Law 3/2004 allows you to claim interest for late payment. To do this, it is necessary that the payment deadline, which will be specified in the contract, or, otherwise, 30 calendar days, has passed. In no case can a payment term longer than 60 calendar days be agreed upon.

Accrued interest will be the agreed or statutory interest applied by the ECB to its financial operations plus 8 points, without having to warn of the expiration of the obligation or order its payment.

In addition, the creditor will be entitled to claim 40 euros as compensation for collection costs. This amount is in any case added to the principal debt, without the need for an explicit summons. You can also claim compensation for all collection costs that you can prove.

If the customer also does not meet this payment requirement, we must report the claim by any reliable means, such as burofax. In many cases, a lawyer’s letterhead on the claim is enough for the customer to surrender.

Court claim for unpaid invoices
When the customer persists in his disagreements, there will be no choice but to go to court. To do this, you can make a proper claim through a payment order.

The order for payment process is an ideal way to pursue commercial debts, as it is very quick and simple. Basically, it is used to claim liquid, established, due and payable debts.

The process is regulated by the Civil Procedure Law.

Budgets of the monitoring process

In order to present the monitoring process, it is necessary that the reported debt is liquid, determined, due and payable. Its amount does not matter, but it is necessary that it has to documented through documents signed by the debtor or his seal.

  • In invoices, delivery notes, certificates or other one-sided documents that are usually used to document loans and debts.
  • Or through commercial documents that prove an ongoing relationship.

How to file a claim for monitoring
The claim is presented in the Court of First Instance of the debtor’s place of residence, although it is possible to choose the court by means of an express or tacit surrender clause. The cover letter must include:

  • Address or addresses of the creditor and debtor.
  • Documentation accrediting the debt.

The date of payment and its amount.

Payment process
As we have already mentioned, the payment order process is quick and simple. Once the application is granted, the justice lawyer will require the creditor to pay the debts within 20 days. In the same requirement, you will be warned that if you do not pay or object in time, execution will be sent.

Payment of the debt will mean the initiation of proceedings, and failure to pay will be an execution against the creditor’s property. For its part, the creditor can object, in which case the claim will be handled through an oral or ordinary hearing (whichever is applicable).

Claim for non-payment of invoices through a lawyer
Although out-of-court debt collection and legal claims of less than 2,000 euros do not require the assistance of a lawyer, the truth is that it is always advisable to hire these professionals in the case of a claim for non-payment.

Many lawyers specialize in handling arrears and debt collection. The help of these specialists will allow you to speed up the process of claiming, in most cases avoiding going to court. Even if you have to file a lawsuit, the help of a debt collection lawyer will allow you to claim the full amount, including interest. Remember that otherwise you may harm your rights to debt collection.

In addition, if the debtor opposes the order for payment and you end up in a oral or ordinary trial, the assistance of a lawyer and a solicitor will be necessary. Therefore, it is always better that your lawyer is aware of your situation, which will allow him to expedite the claim for non-payment of your invoices.

Thank you very much for reading this article. Tax&Law Spain can help you to overcome other complex matters regarding the overdue payment of invoices. I you have questions considering the claim for monitoring and you are looking for a professional advice and guidance, you can contact me via WhattsApp (+49 1520 8381499) or e-mail (

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