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The Ultimate Guide to Debt Collection in Greece

Navigating the challenging landscape of debt collection in Greece just got easier. Welcome to the ultimate resource crafted by Debitura, where local insight meets international expertise. With over a decade in debt recovery, Debitura stands as your premier partner for reclaiming funds efficiently and effectively in Greece.

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Specify your requirements and we’ll align you with up to 3 leading collection agencies in under 48 hours. Each agency will offer a tailored, competitive rate, empowering you to make an informed decision.

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The debt collection process in Greece

Embark on a guided journey through the debt collection process in Greece. This concise overview offers a roadmap through the various stages of debt recovery in Greece, equipping you with the knowledge to navigate these waters smoothly. Opt for Debitura to confidently manage your Greek debt recovery endeavors, completely risk-free.

Amicable Collection Phase

Initiate with a friendly, out-of-court collection aimed at an amicable resolution. This phase generally includes: Direct Communication, Reach out to your debtor to understand the payment delay. Payment Reminders: Use various communication methods (email, SMS, letters) for sending reminders. Formal Notice: Issue a formal notice letter, outlining the debt and the consequences of non-payment.

Court Proceedings

If the amicable approach fails, escalate the matter through legal proceedings to obtain a court judgment, essential for debt enforcement.

Debt Enforcement

With a court judgment in hand, you can pursue coercive measures like asset seizure and sale, referred to as debt enforcement.

Bankruptcy Proceedings

In cases where the debtor has no assets for seizure, consider filing for bankruptcy. If the debtor is already bankrupt, submit your claim promptly for verification.

Get streamlined, effective recovery support at every stage. Start your claim quickly with our hassle-free, no-fee service.

Principal Actors in Greek Debt Recovery: An Overview

Within the Greek debt recovery landscape, several key players, namely debt collection agencies, bailiffs, and lawyers, play pivotal roles. Each has a distinct function, ensuring a comprehensive and lawful approach to debt recovery.

Debt Collection Agencies in Greece

Debt collection agencies in Greece are fundamental in the initial stages of debt recovery. They primarily engage in direct contact with debtors, aiming for amicable debt settlements. These agencies operate under the regulatory framework provided by the Bank of Greece, which outlines the permissible practices and ethical standards. Their role encompasses sending notification letters, negotiating payment plans, and maintaining records of communications. However, for legal enforcement actions, such as garnishments or property liens, the involvement of a lawyer or a bailiff is required, as agencies are limited to non-judicial collection tasks.

Bailiffs (Επιμελητές) in Greece

In Greece, bailiffs are judicial officers tasked with executing court judgments, including debt collection orders. Their services are sought after a creditor obtains a legal judgment against a debtor. Bailiffs have the authority to perform asset seizures, organize and execute auctions, and ensure the transfer of funds to the creditor. The role and operations of bailiffs in Greece are regulated under Greek Code of Civil Procedure. However, it's important to note that bailiffs cannot initiate debt collection without a pre-existing court judgment and are not involved in the negotiation process with debtors.

Debt Collection Lawyers in Greece

Debt collection lawyers in Greece become crucial when legal action is deemed necessary for debt recovery. Their expertise covers drafting legal notices, representing creditors in court, and overseeing the legal fulfillment of debt repayment, including bankruptcy proceedings if required. Lawyers are also instrumental in navigating the complexities of Greek debt collection laws to ensure compliance and effectiveness. Their involvement is typically required for significant debts or when disputes arise. Greek Law dictates that advocating for clients in debt-related cases necessitates proper licensing and adherence to professional standards set by the Greek Bar Association.

Tap into Debitura's expert network of local debt recovery bailiffs and lawyers. Start your claim now.

Exploring Amicable Debt Collection in Greece

In Greece, amicable debt collection focuses on a relationship-centric approach to reclaiming outstanding payments, favoring understanding and dialogue rather than conflict. This method is committed to preserving a healthy relationship between the creditor and debtor, aiming for resolutions that are mindful of the debtor's circumstances while ensuring the creditor's retrieval of funds. It adopts a non-confrontational tactic ideal for undisputed claims, steering clear of the legal system's intricacies and expenses.

It's advisable to initiate with amicable debt collection in cases where your claim is uncontested or free from intricate legal issues.

The Integral Role of Collection Agencies in Amicable Recovery in Greece

In the context of amicable recovery, collection agencies play a crucial role, particularly when creditors are short on time or lack the requisite expertise for efficient debt recovery. Firms such as Debitura provide tailored services, beginning with the accurate identification of debts and debtors, and proceeding to engage through reminders or official communications. Their neutral perspective, free from personal involvement, often leads to more effective debt retrieval by offering unbiased, professional facilitation.

Benefits of Choosing Amicable Debt Settlement

Selecting amicable debt collection is advantageous for both sides; creditors avoid legal expenses and maintain important business relationships thanks to the process's respectful approach. Debtors are afforded more flexible repayment conditions, easing economic pressure and promoting positive sentiments towards the creditor. This method emphasizes dignity and empathy, fostering an atmosphere conducive to meeting financial commitments.

Shifting from Amicable to Legal Debt Collection

Although amicable debt collection is beneficial in many scenarios, there are instances where legal intervention becomes necessary. Indicators for transitioning to legal collection include lack of response, consistent failure to honor agreements, or intentional avoidance by the debtor. Opting for legal action should be a thoughtfully considered last option due to the substantial costs and duration involved in legal proceedings, and it is typically chosen after all amicable avenues have been explored.

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The debt collection process in Greece

Embark on a guided journey through the debt collection process in Greece. This concise overview offers a roadmap through the various stages of debt recovery in Greece, equipping you with the knowledge to navigate these waters smoothly. Opt for Debitura to confidently manage your Greek debt recovery endeavors, completely risk-free.

An In-Depth Look at Pre-Legal Debt Collection in Greece

Pre-legal debt collection in Greece is a pivotal step executed primarily by creditors or their agents before resorting to court proceedings. This section explores effective strategies, pertinent regulations, and practical insights for amicable debt recovery.

Amicable Collection - Key Takeways
  • Thorough Preparation: Essential for a successful debt collection in Greece, enhancing the likelihood of a favorable outcome by strengthening the case and streamlining the process.
  • Payment Terms Verification: Crucial for determining when a debt is overdue, with specific regulations in Greece for B2B, B2C, and B2G transactions ensuring fairness.
  • Statute of Limitations: In Greece, most debts have a statute of limitations reduced from twenty to ten years, with specific actions like acknowledging the debt interrupting the statute.
  • Document Assembly: A comprehensive set of documents including invoices, delivery notes, and contracts is necessary to substantiate the creditor's claim in Greece.
  • Direct Communication: Engaging with debtors over the phone is recommended for amicable resolutions, supported by a legal framework that ensures fairness and transparency.
  • Payment Reminders: A critical step in the amicable phase, with legal considerations under Greek Civil Code and EU directives to establish default and claim late payment interests.
  • Formal Notice: Sending a demand letter in Greece is a formal escalation before litigation, detailing the debt and potential legal actions, adhering to Greek law recommendations.
  • Collection Costs: Governed by EU Directive and Greek laws, including fixed compensation and interest rates, ensuring charges are within ethical and legal standards.
  • Interest Rate Calculation: For late payments, interest rates in Greece are aligned with EU directives, varying by transaction type and ensuring creditor and debtor rights are protected.
  • Amicable Payment Plans: Offering structured payment plans can enhance debt recovery chances, with agreements needing to be in writing and adhering to Greek legal standards.

Exploring Amicable Debt Collection in Greece

In Greece, amicable debt collection focuses on a relationship-centric approach to reclaiming outstanding payments, favoring understanding and dialogue rather than conflict. This method is committed to preserving a healthy relationship between the creditor and debtor, aiming for resolutions that are mindful of the debtor's circumstances while ensuring the creditor's retrieval of funds. It adopts a non-confrontational tactic ideal for undisputed claims, steering clear of the legal system's intricacies and expenses.

It's advisable to initiate with amicable debt collection in cases where your claim is uncontested or free from intricate legal issues.

The Integral Role of Collection Agencies in Amicable Recovery in Greece

In the context of amicable recovery, collection agencies play a crucial role, particularly when creditors are short on time or lack the requisite expertise for efficient debt recovery. Firms such as Debitura provide tailored services, beginning with the accurate identification of debts and debtors, and proceeding to engage through reminders or official communications. Their neutral perspective, free from personal involvement, often leads to more effective debt retrieval by offering unbiased, professional facilitation.

Benefits of Choosing Amicable Debt Settlement

Selecting amicable debt collection is advantageous for both sides; creditors avoid legal expenses and maintain important business relationships thanks to the process's respectful approach. Debtors are afforded more flexible repayment conditions, easing economic pressure and promoting positive sentiments towards the creditor. This method emphasizes dignity and empathy, fostering an atmosphere conducive to meeting financial commitments.

Shifting from Amicable to Legal Debt Collection

Although amicable debt collection is beneficial in many scenarios, there are instances where legal intervention becomes necessary. Indicators for transitioning to legal collection include lack of response, consistent failure to honor agreements, or intentional avoidance by the debtor. Opting for legal action should be a thoughtfully considered last option due to the substantial costs and duration involved in legal proceedings, and it is typically chosen after all amicable avenues have been explored.

Explore our step-by-step guide for amicable debt collection

Step 1: Effective Preparations for Debt Collection in Greece

The foundation of a successful debt collection process lies in thorough preparation. Ensuring that your case is robust and well-supported can significantly enhance the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Meticulous preparation not only strengthens your position but can also streamline the collection process, saving time and resources.

Step 1.1: Verify the Validity of Payment Terms

Understanding and verifying the validity of payment terms is crucial in the context of debt collection in Greece. Payment terms dictate the deadlines for invoice payments and are crucial for defining the moment from which a debt can be considered overdue. In Greece, the enforcement of agreed payment terms is regulated by law, ensuring transactions are conducted fairly.

  • B2B (Business-to-Business) Transactions: Standard payment terms are agreed upon between parties. However, if not explicitly agreed, Greek law allows invoices to be issued up to the 15th day of the month following the month in which the goods or services were provided.
  • B2C (Business-to-Consumer) Transactions: For consumer transactions, there may be mandatory payment terms imposed by Greek law to protect consumers.
  • B2G (Business-to-Government) Transactions: Specific mandatory payment terms can be established, ensuring timely payments to businesses.

Ensure that all payment terms adhere to regulations such as the Greek Accounting Standards (Law 4308/2014) and the European Directive 2006/112/EC on VAT.

Step 1.2: Check the Status of Limitations

The statute of limitations in Greece varies depending on the type of debt but predominantly affects the timeframe within which legal action can be initiated for debt collection. Understanding and managing this can prevent a debt from becoming uncollectible:

  • For most debts, the general reduction from twenty to ten years has been implemented, with further reductions foreseen.
  • Statute interruptions can occur due to specific actions, such as acknowledging the debt or making partial payments.
  • To interrupt the statute of limitations, a letter acknowledging the debt or expressing intent to settle can be sent. This letter must include acknowledgment of the specific debt, date, and signature of the debtor. Ensure it complies with Greek law requirements for written acknowledgments.

Step 1.3: Assembling Essential Documents

Collecting a claim in Greece requires a comprehensive set of documents that substantiate the creditor's claim and establish the debtor's obligation:

  • Original unpaid invoices, bills of exchange, or checks
  • Signed delivery notes or certified copies
  • Buyer's orders
  • Certified copy of creditor’s accountancy book pages listing due invoices
  • Any other contracts or essential communication between creditor and debtor

Documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by an official translation. Moreover, maintaining a communication record with the debtor is critical. This can strengthen your case, especially when demonstrating attempts to amicably settle the debt before pursuing legal means.

By methodically following these steps, creditors can significantly enhance their chances of successful debt recovery in Greece, ensuring that all necessary legal and procedural bases are covered.

Step 2: Engage with Your Debtor Over the Phone

In the realm of amicable debt collection, maintaining a direct and open line of communication with debtors is paramount. This strategy not only fosters a cooperative atmosphere but also lays the foundation for finding mutually agreeable solutions efficiently. Among various channels of communication, phone calls stand out as the most effective means to achieve amicable resolutions, offering immediate interaction and personal touch that can significantly influence the debtor's willingness to settle their dues.

Preparing to Call Your Debtor:

  • Understanding Legal Frameworks: The extrajudicial debt collection landscape in Greece is governed by a comprehensive legal framework designed to ensure fairness and transparency in all creditor-debtor communications. It's vital to comprehend these regulations thoroughly before initiating any calls to debtors. This knowledge safeguards against potential legal pitfalls and ensures the protection of both parties' rights during the collection process.
  • Documenting Debt Details: Prior to making a call, it's crucial to gather and confirm all pertinent details related to the debt, including the original amount, accrued interest, any additional fees, and the history of previous communications. This preparation ensures that the conversation can proceed smoothly, with all necessary information readily available to discuss solutions without ambiguity.

Best Practices When Calling Your Debtors


  • Maintain a tone that is respectful and professional throughout the call, making a concerted effort to understand the debtor's current financial circumstances.
  • Clearly articulate the purpose of the call, including specific details about the debt to avoid any misunderstandings.
  • Engage in discussions aimed at identifying amicable payment solutions, taking into account the debtor's ability to pay and proposing realistic payment plans.


  • Avoid using language that could be perceived as aggressive or threatening, as this could lead to accusations of harassment.
  • Refrain from making demands that are unrealistic or promises that cannot be legally upheld, to maintain trust and credibility.

Documenting the Call

  • Keeping Records: The importance of meticulously documenting every detail of the conversation cannot be overstated. These records serve as a valuable reference for future communications or potential escalation to judicial proceedings. They also play a critical role in maintaining transparency and accountability in the debt collection process.
  • Follow-up Communication: Following the call, it is advisable to send a written summary of the conversation to the debtor. This document should outline the outcomes of the call, including any payment arrangements agreed upon, to guarantee that both parties are aligned and to minimize future disputes.

Compliance and Consumer Protection

Lastly, it is imperative to ensure that all communications with debtors strictly comply with Greek regulations concerning debt collection. Adherence to these laws not only prevents potential harassment claims but also ensures the integrity and transparency of the collection process, reinforcing Debitura's commitment to ethical practices in debt recovery.

Step 3: Effective Payment Reminders in Greece (With Free Template)

In the debt collection process, especially in the amicable phase, sending a payment reminder is a crucial step. It serves as a nudge to the debtor, reminding them of the overdue payment. This action not only aids in maintaining a constructive relationship with the debtor but also demonstrates your diligence in managing receivables. Let's delve into how payment reminders align with Greece's debt collection practices.

Understanding Payment Reminders in Greece

In Greece, a payment reminder is a communication, typically written, informing the debtor of an overdue invoice that requires settlement. The essential distinction in Greece law between a friendly reminder and a formal dunning letter lies in tone and intent. The former aims to courteously notify the debtor of the oversight, while the latter indicates the initiation of more formal actions if the debt remains unpaid.

Legal Framework for Payment Reminders

According to Greek Civil Code and the Recast Directive 2011/7/EU transposed into Law 4152/2013, a payment reminder may establish the debtor in default, enabling the creditor to claim late payment interest and additional costs. However, it’s critical not to exceed agreed payment terms as being grossly unfair to the creditor.

Preparing to Send a Payment Reminder

  • Verify the overdue debt's accuracy
  • Ensure you have the correct debtor contact information
  • Include the invoice number, the amount due, and the payment deadline
  • Reference previous communication attempts, if applicable

It’s imperative to confirm the debt's details and corroborate all communications for accuracy and efficacy.

Crafting an Effective Payment Reminder

  • Maintain a professional and polite tone
  • Clearly specify the invoice number and amount due
  • Mention any previous attempts to resolve the payment issue
  • Suggest possible next steps, like direct contact or payment options

The reminder should aim to preserve the positive debtor-creditor relationship, hence the importance of tone and clarity.

Sending the Reminder

Payment reminders can be effectively sent via email, which allows for ease of delivery and immediate receipt, or through postal mail, which provides a tangible record of communication. Regardless of the method, ensuring proof of delivery is crucial, particularly if legal actions become necessary later.

Follow-Up After Sending a Reminder

If the payment reminder goes unheeded, consider sending additional reminders or escalating to more formal collection measures. Should the debtor respond but be unable to fulfill the payment, negotiating new payment terms or installment plans could be a viable solution. This flexibility can facilitate debt recovery while maintaining a constructive relationship.

Documentation and Record-Keeping

Documenting every step taken during the collection process is vital. Maintain comprehensive records of all communications, including the date, method, and any responses from the debtor. This practice not only supports your position in potential legal proceedings but also enhances your approach to credit management and debt collection.

Payment Reminder Template - Greece

Subject: Reminder: Invoice #[Invoice Number] Overdue

Dear [Debtor's Name],

I hope this message finds you well. We wanted to reach out regarding the outstanding invoice #[Invoice Number], issued on [Invoice Date], for [Product/Service]. According to our records, the payment due date was [Due Date], which has now passed. We understand that oversights happen and want to ensure that this reminder reaches you courteously.

Invoice Details:

  • Invoice Number: [Invoice Number]
  • Issue Date: [Invoice Date]
  • Due Date: [Due Date]
  • Total Amount: [Total Amount]

Outstanding Amount: [Outstanding Amount]

We kindly request that you proceed with the payment of the outstanding amount at your earliest convenience. Please find the payment details below for your reference:

[Payment Instructions]

If you have already completed the payment, we thank you and kindly ask you to disregard this reminder. However, if there are any issues regarding this payment or if you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch directly at [Contact Information]. We are more than willing to discuss any concerns or negotiate payment terms if the situation requires.

Next Steps:

  1. Please review the invoice details above for accuracy.
  2. Complete the payment using the provided payment instructions.
  3. Send a confirmation email to [Your Email] once the payment has been made, including any transaction references.

We appreciate your immediate attention to this matter and your cooperation in settling the overdue invoice. Keeping a strong partnership and maintaining good business relations are paramount to us, and we believe in resolving such matters amicably and efficiently.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Your Contact Information]

[Your Company Name]

This template maintains a professional yet understanding tone, encourages prompt payment, and outlines clear next steps, aligning with Greece's best practices and legal considerations for managing receivables. 

Step 4: Send a Letter of Formal Notice 

In the journey of amicable debt collection in Greece, sending a demand letter marks an essential step that shifts the tone towards a more formal approach. Unlike friendly reminders, a demand letter stands as a clear signal that the matter might escalate to legal proceedings. This section provides guidance on crafting and dispatching an effective demand letter in Greece, reflecting Debitura's decade of expertise in debt recovery.

Understanding Demand Letters

A demand letter is not just another reminder—it's a formal notice informing your debtor of their obligation to settle an unpaid debt and the potential consequences of failing to do so. Within Greece's legal framework, it represents a preparatory step before potential litigation, underlining the gravity of the situation.

Legal Foundations for Demand Letters

Under Greek law, the issuance of demand letters is a recommended practice before taking legal action. It officially notifies the debtor of their default and conveys the creditor's readiness to pursue legal channels if necessary.

Preparing a Demand Letter

  • Debt Details: Clearly list the outstanding amount, including any late payment interest or collection costs as permitted by Greek legislation (Law 4152/2013).
  • Previous Communications: Reference previous attempts to collect the debt, underscoring the demand letter as a formal escalation.
  • Deadline for Payment: Specify a clear and reasonable deadline for settling the debt, often within 30 days.

Crafting an Effective Demand Letter

The tone and content of the letter should balance professionalism with clarity, ensuring there's no ambiguity about the seriousness of the situation and the creditor's willingness to pursue legal remedies if necessary. Incorporating references to prior communications and reminding the debtor of their contractual obligations can bolster the letter's impact.

Delivery Methods and Considerations

Ensuring the demand letter is received—and that you can prove it— is crucial. Sending the letter via registered mail or a courier service with a delivery confirmation is advisable to maintain a record of receipt.

Actions Following the Demand Letter

If the demand letter fails to elicit a response, the next steps might include issuing a final notice before initiating legal proceedings. Alternatively, if a debtor proposes a reasonable payment plan, consider it as a potential resolution that avoids legal costs.

Documentation and Compliance

Immaculate documentation of all correspondences relating to the demand letter is crucial. These records can be pivotal in potential legal proceedings, showcasing attempts at amicable resolution.

In deploying this step, Debitura leverages its expertise to navigate Greece's legal landscape successfully, aiming for the optimal outcome for our clients. Crafting a demand letter with precision and strategical insight can often catalyze the resolution of unpaid debts, underpinning the importance of this phase in the debt collection process.

Step 5: Calculating Collection Costs in Greece

In Greece, late payment and debt collection practices are governed by a framework that aims to strike a fair balance between the interests of creditors and the welfare of debtors. Understanding the permissible charges beyond the principal amount is essential for international creditors engaging in amicable debt collection practices. This section delves into the nuances of calculating late payment fees and debt collection fees within the legal confines, ensuring creditors operate within ethical and legal standards.

Example: Calculation on a €5000 Debt

Consider a scenario where a B2B debt of €5000 is overdue. The creditor may add a fixed compensation fee of €40 for recovery costs as per Directive 2011/7/EU. Assuming the debt collection process incurs €200 in costs and the late payment fee is calculated at 8% above the ECB reference rate (assumed here as 0%), the total additional charges could sum to €440 (€40 compensation + €200 collection costs + €200 as 8% of €5000 late payment fees).

It is important to note that these figures are illustrative and actual charges should comply with the specific circumstances and the applicable legal framework of each case.

Regulatory Framework and Limitations on Fees

The imposition of fees in Greece is underpinned by legal caps and guidelines to safeguard against excessive charges. The European Directive 2011/7/EU, for B2B transactions, mandates clear parameters, including the €40 fixed compensation and an interest rate minimum of 8% above the ECB reference for late payments. Consumer transactions are further protected by national legislation, which emphasizes the necessity of fair practices and prohibits excessive debt collection fees.

Additionally, the Greek legal framework, through laws such as Law 4659/2020, reveals a commitment to relieve the burden of small-value debts and streamline collection processes while protecting debtors from undue charges.

Calculate Interest Rates

When dealing with late payments in Greece, understanding the calculation of interest rates is crucial for fair and legal enforcement. Interest rates on late payments are not merely a penalty but serve as compensation for the delay in receiving due amounts. Given Greece's alignment with European Union directives and national laws, there's a structured framework governing the addition of interest to overdue payments. Here’s a comprehensive guide to navigating interest rates in the context of debt collection in Greece.

Statutory Interest Rates for Late Payments

Interest rates for late payments in Greece vary across different transaction types: Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Business-to-Business (B2B), and Business-to-Government (B2G) transactions. Each category follows specific guidelines set forth by the European Union and national legislation, ensuring both debtor and creditor rights are protected.

Primarily, the legal framework for late payment interest rates in commercial transactions is governed by the European Union Directive 2011/7/EU. This directive establishes that for B2B and B2G transactions, the interest rate should be at least 8% above the European Central Bank's reference rate. Meanwhile, consumer transactions are governed by national laws, which should be consulted for accurate calculations.

It’s important to note that the parties involved in commercial transactions can agree on different interest rates, provided that it's not grossly unfair to the creditor.


Consider a scenario where a business is recovering a debt of 5000 EUR from another business (B2B) that is late by 90 days. Assuming the ECB reference rate is 1%, the interest rate applicable would be 9% (8% + 1%).

  • Interest = Principal Amount x Interest Rate x Time (in years)
  • Interest = 5000 EUR x 9% x (90/365)
  • Interest = 110.96 EUR

This calculation shows that the creditor is entitled to charge an additional 110.96 EUR on top of the principal amount due to late payment.

Regulatory Framework and Limitations on Interests

The implementation of interest rates on late payments is regulated to protect the interests of both creditors and debtors. According to EU Directive 2011/7/EU, countries within the EU, including Greece, have the liberty to stipulate laws more favorable to the creditor provided they do not inflict gross unfairness. Compound interest in cases of late payments is subject to Greek legislation, revealing the necessity for creditors to consult relevant legal advice or legislation for accurate information.

While interest serves as compensation for late receipt of payments, adherence to the regulatory framework ensures ethical practices and legal compliance. It safeguards the balance between creditor rights and debtor welfare, maintaining the integrity of financial transactions.

For precise advice and interpretation of Greek laws on interest rates for consumer debts and other specific cases not covered by EU directives, consulting legal professionals is advisable.

Step 6: Crafting an Amicable Payment Plan

Offering a settlement or payment plan is a decision that serves both parties involved. On the creditor's side, it represents an opportunity to recover the owed amount in a manner that is manageable for the debtor, thereby increasing the overall chances of debt recovery. For the debtor, it provides a structured way to fulfill their obligations without facing the immediate full burden of the debt, which might otherwise lead to insolvency or further financial distress.

The decision to opt for a payment plan goes beyond financial pragmatism. Given the slow pace of judicial proceedings in Greece, a settlement enables creditors to circumvent prolonged legal disputes. Moreover, understanding the debtor's solvency status through a thorough assessment of assets can inform the feasibility of recovery through this method. In instances where insolvency proceedings have already commenced, formalizing a payment agreement becomes critically important for any hope of debt enforcement.

Formalities: Establishing a Legally-Sound Payment Plan

To ensure the payment plan is effective and legally binding, certain formalities must be observed. First and foremost, the agreement must be documented in writing. This serves not only as proof of the debtor's acknowledgment of the debt but also resets the statute of limitations according to Greek law, thereby extending the creditor's right to enforce the debt.

The written agreement should detail the total debt amount, the payment schedule, and any interest or charges applicable. Both parties must sign this document. It is advisable to have the document notarized or witnessed to add an extra layer of legal accountability. Creditors should also verify the debtor's identity and solvency status to ensure the feasibility of the plan. Utilizing alternative dispute resolution methods before formalizing a payment plan can also help in reaching an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties.

Sample: Template for a Payment Arrangement Compliant with Greek Law

Below is a simplified template for a payment arrangement that considers Greek legal requirements and best practices. Note that this is a general guide and adapting it to specific cases might require legal consultation.

Payment Agreement

This Payment Agreement is made on [Date] between [Creditor Name and Address] and [Debtor Name and Address].

Acknowledgment of Debt:

The Debtor acknowledges the indebted amount of [Total Debt Amount] due to the Creditor as of [Date].

Payment Plan:

The Parties agree that the Debt will be settled as follows:

  • Initial Payment of [Amount], due on [Date].
  • Subsequent payments of [Amount] each, due on the [Day] of each month starting from [Month, Year] until [Final Month, Year].
  • Total payable under this agreement: [Total Debt Amountplus any Agreed Interest or Charges].

Terms and Conditions:

  • The Debtor agrees that failure to adhere to this payment schedule may result in the Creditor taking legal action to enforce the debt.
  • This Agreement serves as an acknowledgment of the Debt and resets the statute of limitations as per Greek law.
  • Both parties commit to notifying each other of any changes in their contact details.


[Creditor Name] __________________________    [Debtor Name] ___________________________

Date: _______________                            Date: _______________

Adopting a nuanced approach that considers the debtor's financial situation while remaining firm on the terms of debt recovery is crucial. Crafting an amicable payment plan not only reflects empathy and understanding but also significantly enhances the likelihood of successful debt recovery in Greece.

For personalized assistance in drafting and negotiating payment agreements compliant with Greek law, Debitura's decade-long experience in international debt collection offers unparalleled expertise and support.

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Free Demand Letter Template

Greece Demand Letter Template

[Your Company Name]

[Your Company Address]

[City, Zip Code]



[Debtor's Name]

[Debtor's Address]

[City, Zip Code]


Subject: Overdue Payment Notification for Invoice #[Invoice Number]

Dear [Debtor's Name],

As stipulated in our agreements and reflected in Invoice #[Invoice Number] dated [Invoice Date], we extended our products/services to you with a clear understanding regarding the payment terms. It is with disappointment that we notify you of the overdue payment amounting to EUR [Amount Due], which was due on [Due Date].

Details of the Debt:

  • Invoice Number: [Invoice Number]
  • Invoice Date: [Invoice Date]
  • Amount Due: EUR [Amount Due]
  • Due Date: [Due Date]
  • Outstanding Amount: EUR [Outstanding Amount]

This letter serves as a formal demand for payment of the above-mentioned debt. Please be advised that under Greek Law, prompt and full payment within the agreed terms is obligatory. Failing to uphold this responsibility can result in our pursuing further legal action to recover the debt, alongside all related collection costs and late payment interest as permitted by Law 4152/2013.

Consequences of Non-Payment:

Failure to settle the stated amount by [Final Payment Deadline] will compel us to:

A: Engage a collection agency.

B: Initiate legal proceedings to recover the debt.

C: Apply additional costs and late payment interest to the outstanding amount.

We prefer to resolve this matter amicably and urge you to settle the outstanding amount by [Final Payment Deadline]. However, failing to do so will leave us no option but to protect our interests to the full extent provided by the law.

Available Payment Methods:

To facilitate easy payment, the following methods are available to you:

  • Bank Transfer (please use the details below)
  • Online Payment Portal (if available, provide a link)

Bank Details:

  • Account Name: [Your Company Name]
  • Bank Name: [Bank Name]
  • Account Number: [Account Number]
  • IBAN: [IBAN]

We urge you to take immediate action to resolve this matter. Should there be any issues or if you wish to discuss a payment plan, please contact us at [Your Phone Number] or [Your Email] before the aforementioned deadline.

Yours faithfully,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Your Company Name]

[Your Contact Information]

cc: [Include any relevant Cc]

This is a template and needs to be adapted to your specific situation. It is advisable to review with legal experts specializing in Greek law to ensure compliance.

Activating Retention of Title and Reclamation Rights Within Greece's Legal Framework for Unsettled Debts

In Greece, the mechanisms of retention of title (RoT) and right of reclamation (RoR) serve as significant legal tools for creditors dealing with unpaid goods. This section unfolds the actionable insights on effectively utilizing these provisions under Greek law.

Retention of Title in Greece

The principle of Retention of Title (RoT) allows sellers to retain ownership of goods until full payment is made by the buyer. Embedded within Article 532 of the Greek Civil Code, RoT provisions uphold the seller’s rights, situating ownership as contingent on the satisfaction of payment obligations.

Particularly, the Greek legal framework supports RoT contracts as legally binding agreements, specifying that ownership does not transfer to the buyer until the complete fulfillment of agreed payments. This arrangement serves as a robust safeguard for sellers, empowering them with the legitimacy to retain or reclaim ownership in circumstances where agreed payments are not met.

For enhanced security, creditors may also opt to register RoT agreements within a specialized registry as per Statute 2844/2000. This action, while not obligatory, enhances the enforceability of RoT provisions, offering an official record that can prove invaluable during dispute resolutions. Despite the protracted nature of enforcement proceedings, the registration is advisable as it potentially streamlines the recovery process.

In cases where goods have undergone transformation by the buyer and are no longer identifiable in their original state, the Greek Civil Code provides for compensation to the original owner for the loss of ownership. This unique aspect underlines the comprehensive coverage provided by Greek law, ensuring sellers have recourse even in complex situations.

Right of Reclamation in Greece

The right of reclamation (RoR) supplements the legal framework, presenting a practical recourse for sellers when goods remain unpaid. This right enables sellers to terminate the contract and reclaim ownership of the goods, provided these remain in their original state. It is exercised through the issuance of a registered letter to the debtor, invoking the RoR within specific timeframe constraints.

For the invocation to be valid, the registered letter must be sent within six weeks from when the payment becomes overdue and within 60 days following the delivery of goods. This temporal boundary underscores the importance of timely action by creditors to protect their interests effectively.

The premise of reclamation, particularly the requirement for goods to be in their original state, dictates a strategic consideration for businesses in managing inventory and sales records. It necessitates meticulous documentation and physical control over sold goods until payment certainties are established, thereby safeguarding the seller’s interests.

Significantly, the successful assertion of the RoR can lead to the annulment of the sales contract, reinstating the seller's ownership of the goods. This legal provision acts as a critical mechanism for creditors, enabling the recovery of assets in a non-payment scenario, thereby mitigating potential losses.

Practical Tip for Businesses Trading in Greece

To maximize the utility of RoT and RoR provisions under Greek law, businesses should meticulously incorporate these clauses into their contracts and terms of service. Explicitly stating the conditions under which these rights can be invoked ensures clear understanding and agreement between parties. Additionally, considering the registration of RoT agreements enhances enforceability and provides a stronger legal stance. Practices like maintaining detailed records of transactions and ensuring goods are marked or identifiable can further strengthen the position of a creditor in invoking these rights effectively

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Find a Debt Collection Lawyer

Finding the right lawyer for judicial debt collection is crucial. Debitura offers a streamlined 'Find a Lawyer' service, drawing from our network of 500+ local attorneys across the globe. Describe your needs and quickly get tailored proposals from up to three top lawyers.

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Explore the profiles of our esteemed local partners below and take the first step towards securing your legal advantage with Debitura.

53 Solonos St. & Sina St. - Athens 10672
Kanellakis Legal Services

Konstantinos Kanellakis is an international attorney licensed to practice law in New York (USA) and Greece, and the founder of Kanellakis Legal Services, a law firm that focuses exclusively on meeting the needs of foreign nationals, who face legal issues in Greece.

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Tsimiski street, no. 2, Thessaloniki, PC 54625, GREECE
Nexus Law Firm

We practice in a wide range of fields, which keeps evolving. We are highly engaged in corporate legal matters, and we specialize in debt recovery services. We have also completed various transactions especially in the field of sale and transfer of receivables from non performing loans and credits.

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6 Alexandras Ave., 10682 Athens, GREECE
Gregoriou Law Firm

We are established litigators for all instances of Greek Courts for more than 35 years. We promote equally Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Our Managing Partner is a Fellow of CIArb, Member of VIAC, WIPO Neutral and Accredited Mediator.

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19 Metaniras & Giannitson Str. 113 63, Athens – Greece
Ioannis Giannatos

A trustful partner, dedicated to rendering effective services, reasonably priced.

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Our law firm was founded in 1950 in Athens. We specialize in business law and debt collection is an important part of it.

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Mesogeion Avenue 2-4 Athens, Greece

Bregiannos Law Firm, your trusted Law firm in Athens, consistently represents Greece's top companies with decades of legal experience and a distinguished team of 34 experts, winning us the 20Under40 Business Law Award.

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Debt Enforcement in Greece

In Greece, debt enforcement is a crucial step in debt recovery, involving legal procedures and entities. This section elucidates the process, outlining roles and regulations.

Debt Enforcement - Key Takeways
  • Court Order: A court order is essential for the initiation of debt enforcement.
  • Legal Representation: Legal representation is mandatory, requiring certified translations of documents.
  • Execution of Decisions: EU Member State judgments are enforceable, subject to Greek court's enforceability grant.
  • Debtor Objections: Debtors can object to debt notifications, with specific timelines for filing.
  • Asset Seizure: Failure to address notifications can result in asset seizure and account freezing.
  • Debt Collectors' Role: Essential for expediting debt collection, including application of the EAPO.
  • Regulations: Activities are governed by the EU legal framework and Greek laws.
  • Bailiff Necessity: Crucial for asset seizure and execution of court decisions.
  • Financial Considerations: Creditors must consider costs, ROI, and debtor protection laws.
  • Asset Tracing: Businesses can trace debtors and evaluate hidden assets as preparation.
  • Timeframe: The debt enforcement process has a typical timeframe varying by case complexity.
  • Salary Attachment: Governed by specific laws, including types of seizable assets and debtor rights.

The Role of Bailiffs in Debt Enforcement

Bailiffs, known as επισπευστές in Greece, are instrumental in the debt enforcement process, especially under the European Account Preservation Order (EAPO) framework. They ensure the effective execution of debt collection judgements by securing assets against dissipation by the debtor. Here’s a rundown of their key responsibilities:

  • Initiation of the asset freezing process, crucial for preventing the transfer or concealment of funds by the debtor, in accordance with the EAPO [Source].
  • Executing court orders for debt collection within the EU (excluding Denmark), which involves identifying and seizing debtor’s assets.
  • Facilitating cross-border debt recovery by serving as the primary contact for creditors seeking enforcement in Greece.
  • Ensuring compliance with EU regulations and adherence to the legal standards prescribed under Greek law for debt collection activities.

Given their pivotal role, engaging a knowledgeable and experienced bailiff is often indispensable for creditors, particularly in complex cross-border cases.

Legal Framework for Bailiff Operations and Debt Enforcement

Greece’s legal framework governing bailiff operations and debt enforcement is comprehensive, offering a structured approach to debt collection. Key points include:

  • Regulation of judicial officers’ duties, rights, and functions under specific legislation and operational guidelines to ensure a fair and effective debt collection process.
  • The importance of judicial decisions in the enforcement process, from asset seizure to satisfying monetary claims against debtors.
  • Protection mechanisms for debtors to ensure their rights are not violated during the enforcement process, balancing the interests of creditors and debtors.

The framework aims to achieve efficiency in debt collection while safeguarding the rights of all parties involved. The structured regulations foster an environment where both creditors and debtors can navigate the process with clarity.

Explore the cost and time frame for debt enforcement

The Process of Debt Enforcement

Debt enforcement in Greece follows a structured legal process, enabling creditors to pursue various compulsory execution measures against debtors. Below is an outline of this process:

  1. Debt Collection Notification: Creditors or public services initiate the process by sending an "individual debt notification" to debtors, marking the beginning of compulsory execution.
  2. Legal Representation Required: The involvement of a lawyer is mandatory for navigating the enforcement process, from submitting applications for enforceable titles to handling any legal objections.
  3. Enforcement of Judicial Decisions: Judicial decisions from other EU member states are enforceable in Greece after being granted enforceability by a Greek court.
  4. Objection and Litigation: Debtors have the right to object to the debt collection within a specific timeframe, which requires prompt legal action to arrange or dispute the debt 

This process places a heavy emphasis on administrative and legal interventions and underscores the importance of timely legal advice.

Pre-enforcement Actions

Before proceeding with enforcement measures, there are several pre-enforcement actions creditors in Greece can take, particularly under frameworks such as the "Katseli Law" (Law 3869/2010). These preliminary steps include:

  • Evaluation of debt relief eligibility for over-indebted individuals through a court-approved settlement plan.
  • Conditions for debt write-off, including compliance with payment obligations and the passage of a specified period without dismissal requests from creditors.
  • Identification of debts subject to write-off, based on the regulations specified under Law 3869/2010, ensuring a fair and structured debt resolution process.

These actions serve as a foundation for a responsible and legally sound approach to debt enforcement, prioritizing solutions that account for the debtor’s capacity to pay while ensuring creditors recover owed amounts.

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Seizure of Assets

The seizure of assets is a legal process where creditors can claim possession of a debtor's assets to satisfy an outstanding debt. In Greece, this process is governed by a detailed legal framework, allowing creditors various pathways to enforce their monetary claims.

Below is an overview of the asset seizure process, including when and how it's used in debt collection, its advantages, the types of assets that can be seized, and the procedural steps involved:

When to Use Asset Seizure in Debt Collection

  • When negotiation and pre-legal collection efforts have failed to recover the debt.
  • If the debtor possesses valuable assets that can cover the debt.
  • As a last resort, after obtaining a legal judgment against the debtor.

Advantages of Asset Seizure

  • Directly targets the debtor's tangible and intangible properties.
  • Can result in the full recovery of the outstanding debt.
  • Serves as a deterrence to defaulting on payments.

Assets That Can Be Seized

  • Movable and immovable properties.
  • Intangible property rights, such as intellectual property and patents.
  • Claims against third parties that depend on counter-performance.

Process of Asset Seizure

  1. Obtaining a Judicial Decision: Initiate the process via a court order from the Peace Court.
  2. Execution of Seizure: The court may outline specific means for exploiting the debtor's rights, including transferring them to the creditor or auctioning them off.
  3. General Provisions on Forced Execution: Adherence to procedures such as enforceable title requirements, payment orders, and compliance with legitimization provisions.
  4. Legal Actions Against Representatives: The potential to pursue legal actions against company representatives, increasing settlement chances.

Garnishment Rights and Salary Attachments

Garnishment and salary attachments involve a creditor obtaining a legal order to direct a portion of the debtor's wages or other income directly to them. This process requires court intervention and provides a measure of debtor protection.

Explore the details of garnishment and salary attachments in Greece, including their function in debt collection, benefits, debtor protections, and the procedural steps:

When to Use Garnishment and Salary Attachments

  • If the debtor has a steady income that can be diverted to pay off the debt.
  • After obtaining a court judgment confirming the debtor's liability.
  • As an alternative to asset seizure when the debtor lacks significant assets.

Advantages of Garnishment and Salary Attachments

  • Ensures a steady repayment pace reflecting the debtor's income capability.
  • Reduces the need for more drastic measures like asset seizure.
  • Provides a legally secure method of debt recovery.

Debtor Protection in Garnishment Process

  • Limits on the percentage of income that can be garnished to ensure the debtor's basic needs are met.
  • Legal recourse to dispute the garnishment order or arrange alternative repayment plans.
  • Protection from employment termination due to garnishment.

Process of Garnishment and Salary Attachments

  1. Obtaining a Garnishment Order: Creditor files for a court order to garnish part of the debtor's income.
  2. Serving the Order: The garnishment order is served to the debtor's employer or other income source.
  3. Income Deduction: The employer deducts the specified portion of the debtor's income, forwarding it to the creditor.
  4. Continued Monitoring: Regular audits to ensure compliance with the garnishment order until the debt is fully paid.

Although there's no singular source detailing these procedures in Greece, general EU practices, and the Greek legal framework for debt enforcement provide a basis for these steps. This generality is because specifics can vary greatly depending on individual cases and court decisions.

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Insolvency Proceedings in Greece: A Creditor's Guide

Understanding insolvency and bankruptcy is pivotal for creditors aiming to recover claims in Greece. This section unpacks the intricacies of the process and what creditors can expect.

Insolvency Proceedings - Key Takeways
  • Bankruptcy as a Strategy: Bankruptcy in Greece, governed by the Law 4738/2020, is a formal route for creditors to recover debts from insolvent entities.
  • Filing Requirements: Debtors in cessation of payments, unable to fulfill obligations generally and permanently, are eligible for bankruptcy under Greek law.
  • Priority Rules: Secured creditors have precedence in claims, which significantly influences the debt recovery prospects in bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Costs and Fees: Bankruptcy incurs court and legal fees, with the bankruptcy estate bearing the costs awarded against the debtor or the trustee.
  • Timeframe: The duration of bankruptcy proceedings varies, influenced by the complexity of the case and the efficiency of the legal process.
  • Outcomes for Creditors: Creditors may recover debts through the distribution of the debtor's liquidated assets, but full recovery is not guaranteed.
  • Bankruptcy Petition Process: Involves filing by creditors or debtors, hearing, and a court decision, initiating the bankruptcy procedure.
  • Creditor Rights: Secured creditors have superior rights over unsecured ones, with options available to challenge claim priorities.
  • Post-Bankruptcy Scenarios: Creditors should prepare for various outcomes, aiming to maximize debt recovery through strategic actions.
  • Required Documentation: Effective documentation is essential for creditors to substantiate their claims during the insolvency proceedings.
  • Opposition and Appeal: Creditors have options for opposition, appeal, and judicial review following bankruptcy decisions.
  • Creditor's Role: Active participation in the bankruptcy process is crucial for protecting creditors' interests and maximizing debt recovery.

The Legal Framework for Insolvency Procedures

In Greece, the legal framework governing insolvency procedures underwent a significant overhaul with the introduction of Law 4738/2020. This law aims to streamline the bankruptcy process, offering a fresh start for individuals and businesses facing financial distress. Key elements include:

  • Decoupling of bankruptcy from commercial status, allowing all individuals to access bankruptcy mechanisms.
  • Introduction of "small object bankruptcy" tailored for individuals and small entities, emphasizing simplicity and efficiency.
  • Comprehensive application requirements including details on the debtor and a proposal for a trustee, ensuring a structured and documented process.

Types of Insolvency Proceedings

Greece's insolvency framework caters to a broad spectrum of financial distress situations through:

  • Extrajudicial Mechanism: A digital platform enabling debt restructuring into manageable installments, assessing debtor's financial standing.
  • Rehabilitation and Restructuring: Focused on the continuation of business activities through a creditor-approved debt restructuring agreement.
  • Bankruptcy proceedings: As a last resort, entails liquidation or reorganization for those unable to meet restructuring requirements.

Thresholds and Conditions for Declaring Insolvency

Key thresholds and conditions include:

  • Cessation of payments, where the debtor is unable to fulfill overdue financial obligations in a general and permanent manner.
  • Specific thresholds for "small object bankruptcies", focusing on the percentage of unpaid obligations to critical creditors like the Public and Social Security Institutions.

Creditor's Rights and Priorities in Insolvency Proceedings

Creditors are afforded specific rights and priorities during insolvency proceedings:

  • Submission of claims within a designated period post-bankruptcy declaration, with necessary documentation.
  • Understanding of claim ranking, distinguishing between secured and unsecured creditors.

Strategies for Maximizing Recovery from Insolvent Estates

Maximizing recovery requires strategic actions and comprehension of available procedural routes:

  • Active participation in the creditor's assembly to influence recovery strategies.
  • Optimization of claim ranking through the submission of compelling documentation and evidence.

Experiences from Debitura's decade of debt recovery experience in Greece emphasize the importance of timely actions and informed strategies.

The Cost and Duration of Insolvency Proceedings

Understanding the financial and temporal implications is crucial for creditors:

  • The costs are often borne by the bankruptcy estate but can vary based on complexity and case specifics.
  • The duration of proceedings can span several months to years, influenced by debt amount, dispute presence, and efficiency of legal representation.


Explore our step-by-step guide for insolvency proceedings

Step-By-Step Guide for Debt Recovery via Insolvency in Greece

Embarking on a debt recovery journey through insolvency proceedings in Greece requires a meticulous, well-informed approach. This step-by-step guide, synthesizing the latest updates in Greek bankruptcy laws and procedures, lays down a road map for creditors to navigate the complexities of insolvency to recover their claims. Each step is designed to provide you with clarity, equipping you to efficiently utilize insolvency proceedings for debt recovery.

Step 1: Check The Conditions for Filing for Bankruptcy

Before initiating bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor in Greece, a creditor must ensure that the conditions for filing align with the debtor’s situation:

  • A debtor is deemed in a cessation of payment phase when they are generally and permanently unable to fulfill their overdue financial obligations.
  • In cases of "small object bankruptcies," cessation of payments is presumed if the debtor fails to settle at least 60% of their total overdue obligations for more than six months, and the amount exceeds €30,000

Step 2: Filing a Bankruptcy Petition

Once the conditions are met, the next step is to formally file a bankruptcy petition. This application must include:

  • The debtor’s personal and business identification details, including Tax Identification Number (Α.Φ.Μ.) and, for merchants, the General Commercial Registry number.

A proposal for a trustee, complete with their acceptance and a conflict-of-interest declaration (Source 1). Filing can be done by a creditor, the public prosecutor for public interest reasons, or the debtor themselves.

Step 3: Notice of the Hearing

Upon submission of the bankruptcy petition, the court schedules a hearing. Notice of this hearing is served to all involved parties, including the debtor and any known creditors. This step ensures all stakeholders are informed and have the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming legal proceedings.

Step 4: Your Debtor Can Object to Your Application (Defence)

The debtor has the right to object to the bankruptcy application. This defense can take various forms, including:

  • Challenging the cessation of payments status.
  • Disputing the validity or accuracy of the debts claimed.
  • Presenting a restructuring or rehabilitation plan suggesting the debtor's potential to overcome their financial distress without undergoing bankruptcy.

This defense must be submitted before the set hearing date and requires scrutinization by the court, based on its merits and adherence to bankruptcy law provisions.

Step 5: The Hearing

At the heart of the bankruptcy process in Greece is the Bankruptcy Hearing, a critical juncture where the fate of the bankruptcy petition is deliberated. According to Law 4738/2020, the hearing serves as a forum where evidence is presented, and arguments are made before the judge. Creditors, the debtor, their legal representatives, and any parties with a vested interest in the outcome can attend the hearing.

  • Preparation is Key: Creditors should come prepared with all necessary documents that prove the debtor’s insolvency. This includes financial statements, unpaid invoices, and any communication that demonstrates the debtor's inability to meet their obligations.
  • Legal Representation: It is advisable for creditors to have legal representation, as the proceedings can be complex and require a thorough understanding of Greek bankruptcy law.
  • Presentation of the Case: During the hearing, creditors will have the opportunity to present their case. This can include the circumstances leading to the bankruptcy petition, the amount owed, and any relevant interactions with the debtor.
  • Debtor's Defense: The debtor will also be given a chance to contest the bankruptcy petition, provide their account of the financial difficulties, and possibly propose a restructuring plan to satisfy the debts.
  • Judicial Considerations: The judge will consider several factors, including the documentation provided, the debtor's financial situation and assets, as well as any proposed restructuring plans.

Given the complexities involved, the hearing is a critical step where the expertise of legal professionals can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Step 6: Decision

After considering the evidence and arguments presented during the hearing, the court will make a decision regarding the bankruptcy petition. The judge may decide to declare the debtor bankrupt, which will initiate the procedures for asset liquidation and debt reprioritization, or dismiss the petition if the requirements are not met or if the debtor shows capability to fulfil their obligations.

  • Bankruptcy Declaration: If the court declares the debtor bankrupt, a trustee will be appointed to oversee the liquidation of assets and distribution among creditors according to predetermined priorities.
  • Dismissal: Should the petition be dismissed, creditors can consider alternative methods for debt collection or refile the bankruptcy petition if conditions change and better evidence of insolvency can be presented.
  • Notification: All involved parties will be notified of the decision, which is also published in the Electronic Insolvency Registry.

This stage closes the initial legal proceedings and sets the course for either a structured debt recovery process (in case of bankruptcy declaration) or the pursuit of alternate resolution strategies.

Step 7: Opposition, Appeal, and Judicial Review

In the event of dissatisfaction with the court’s decision, both the creditor and the debtor have rights to challenge it through opposition, appeal, and judicial review. This step is essential for ensuring that the rights of all parties are adequately protected and upheld.

  • Opposition: Parties can file an opposition if they believe there has been a procedural error or overlook. This must be done within a specified timeframe after the decision.
  • Appeal: An appeal can be lodged against the court’s ruling on substantive grounds. An appeals court will review the case and make a binding decision.
  • Judicial Review: In specific cases, parties can request a judicial review by the Supreme Court, especially if there are significant legal questions or the application of law is contested.

The possibility of contesting the court's decision adds an additional layer of complexity to bankruptcy proceedings in Greece, underscoring the necessity for competent legal guidance throughout the process.

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Maximizing Success in International Debt Recovery in Greece

In today's borderless economy, engaging in international trade is a common practice for many businesses. However, this comes with its set of challenges, especially when it comes to recovering debts across national lines. Greece, with its unique legal landscape and cultural nuances, can present a particular challenge for foreign creditors looking to recover debts. It is advisable to partner with a local debt collection agency like Debitura, which boasts over 10 years of experience and strong partnerships with local attorneys, ensuring a deep understanding of the Greek legal system and culture.

Collecting cross border claims - Key Takeways
  • Local Legal Expertise: Essential for navigating Greece's complex debt recovery laws.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Understanding local customs can improve communication and recovery rates.
  • Language Proficiency: Overcomes barriers for smoother debtor negotiations.
  • European Directives: Familiarity with EU laws, like GDPR, enhances compliance and efficiency.
  • International Agreements: Adherence ensures recognition of foreign judgments in Greece.
  • Litigation vs. Mediation: Local insights can guide the choice for faster resolution.
  • Enforcement Mechanisms: Knowledge of local procedures accelerates debt recovery actions.
  • Pre-Legal Strategies: Effective for amicable settlements, saving time and costs.
  • Time Sensitivity: Awareness of statutory limits prevents claim expiry.
  • Debitura's Experience: A decade of specialized knowledge in Greek debt collection.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensures all collection practices meet legal requirements in Greece.
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Challenges for International Creditors Recovering Debt in Greece

Navigating the complexities of international debt collection in Greece presents several challenges for creditors. Understanding these hurdles is the first step towards effective debt recovery:

  • Cultural and Language Barriers: Greece's unique business culture and language can pose significant challenges, potentially leading to misunderstandings in debt collection communication.
  • Varying Legal Frameworks: Greece has its own legal system and regulations for debt collection, which may differ significantly from those in the creditor’s country.
  • Economic Climate: The Greek economy has faced instability in the past, impacting businesses and individuals’ ability to repay debts.
  • Enforcement of Foreign Judgments: The recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Greece can be a complex process, requiring navigation through various legal hurdles.

EU-Wide Regulation - The European Late Payment Directive in Greece

In addressing the issue of late payments in commercial transactions, Greece adheres to the European Late Payment Directive. This directive mandates:

  • Payment deadlines: Business-to-business payments must be made within 60 days unless otherwise agreed, and payments to public authorities within 30 days.
  • Interest on late payments: Creditors are entitled to charge interest on late payments.
  • Recovery costs: A minimum fixed sum as compensation for recovery costs can be claimed.

This directive seeks to foster a culture of timely payments, which is crucial for the financial health of businesses operating in Greece

Enforcing Cross-Border Claims in Greece via the European Enforcement Order (EEO)

The European Enforcement Order (EEO) significantly simplifies the process of recognizing and enforcing judgments in cross-border debt recovery cases within the EU. For enforcement in Greece:

  • The EEO certification ensures that judgments from other EU member states are recognized without further ado.
  • There’s no review of the substance of the judgment by Greek courts, facilitating quicker enforcement.
  • Creditors need to apply for EEO certification in the country where the judgment was initially given.

Recover Uncontested Monetary Cross-Border Claims via European Order for Payment (EOP)

The European Order for Payment (EOP) procedure allows for an efficient recovery of uncontested debts across EU borders, including Greece. Key points include:

  • Scope: The EOP is utilized for uncontested civil and commercial claims.
  • Automatic Recognition: Once issued, the EOP is recognized and enforceable across the EU without additional procedures.
  • Simplified Process: The use of standard forms streamlines the application process.

The EOP is a valuable tool for creditors seeking fast and effective debt recovery in Greece with minimal legal complexity.

Resolve Minor Cross-Border Disputes via the European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP)

The District Civil Court in Greece, known as the eirinodikeío, plays a pivotal role in the country's judicial system by offering a streamlined process for resolving small claims disputes. This special court is designed to handle cases involving movable property or rights thereto, with a value not exceeding EUR 5,000. This limitation is crucial as it defines the scope of cases that the court can adjudicate, making the process obligatory and not subject to the choice of an ordinary procedure by either the court or the litigants.

The procedure for small claims in Greece is notable for its simplicity and accessibility. Litigants have the option to represent themselves or be represented by a close associate, such as a spouse, relative, or salaried employee, without the need for formal legal representation. This aspect significantly lowers the barriers to entry for individuals seeking legal redress for minor disputes. Moreover, the court's approach to evidence is flexible, allowing judges to consider evidence that might not meet the stringent requirements typically observed in higher courts. This flexibility is instrumental in ensuring that justice is not encumbered by procedural technicalities, especially in disputes of lower monetary value.

The process of filing a claim in the small claims court in Greece is designed to be user-friendly. Applications can be made either in writing or orally, with oral applications requiring a record to be drawn up in the presence of a district civil court judge. This inclusivity ensures that individuals who may not be adept at legal formalities can still access the judicial system to seek redress. The judgments in these cases are typically delivered orally and immediately after the hearing, underscoring the court's commitment to expedient dispute resolution.

However, it's important to note that the judgments issued by the small claims court are final and not subject to appeal. This finality is a double-edged sword; on one hand, it ensures swift closure to disputes, but on the other, it limits the recourse for parties dissatisfied with the court's decision. Additionally, the absence of cost reimbursement in the small claims process underscores the need for litigants to carefully consider the financial implications of their legal actions, as they will bear their own costs regardless of the outcome.

The small claims court in Greece is an essential component of the judicial landscape, particularly for individuals and small businesses seeking an efficient and cost-effective means of resolving minor disputes. Its simplified procedures, relaxed rules concerning evidence, and the option for self-representation make the court an accessible avenue for justice. However, the monetary threshold, the finality of judgments, and the absence of cost reimbursement are critical considerations that litigants must weigh when deciding to pursue a claim in this forum.

In the context of cross-border claims, the European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP) extends the utility of small claims courts in Greece to the European realm, allowing for the resolution of disputes involving parties from different EU member states. This procedure, with its own set of rules and limitations, further enhances the ability of individuals and businesses to seek justice across borders, albeit within the confines of the ESCP's scope and the EUR 5,000 monetary limit.

Overall, the small claims court in Greece embodies the balance between accessibility and efficiency in legal dispute resolution. It serves as a testament to the country's commitment to ensuring that even minor disputes can be adjudicated fairly and promptly, providing a vital service to the community and contributing to the broader objectives of justice and legal redress within the Greek judicial system.

Freeze Greece Debtors' Assets via the European Account Preservation Order (EAPO)

The European Account Preservation Order (EAPO) serves as a powerful measure for creditors aiming to safeguard their ability to recover debts:

  • Scope: Applicable for cross-border pecuniary claims in civil and commercial matters.
  • Asset Freezing: Enables creditors to prevent debtors from moving funds out of their bank accounts pending the resolution of the dispute.
  • Expediency: The EAPO can be issued rapidly and without the debtor’s knowledge, ensuring the effectiveness of the preservation order.

Utilizing the EAPO can significantly increase the likelihood of debt recovery from Greek debtors by securing the assets necessary for fulfilling the debt obligation.

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Country Risk Rating

Doing Business in Greece: Navigating Payment Terms, Corporate Structures, and Risks

Greece's business landscape offers unique opportunities amidst its economic recovery, marked by GDP growth surpassing the Eurozone average. However, challenges persist due to monetary policy tightening, impacting growth and investment. For international creditors, understanding the evolving payment behaviors, corporate structures, and risk factors is more crucial than ever.

Our analysis has shown that the risk of doing business in Greece is medium-low. Based on this medium-low score, we recommend being careful providing credit and considering charging upfront payment or using credit insurance when trading if you don't know the customer in Greece well. If possible, provide a short credit period or even better upfront payment. The medium-low risk score is based on the following factors:

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Low risk
Medium-low risk
Medium risk
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Key Takeways
  • Economic Resilience: Greece's post-pandemic recovery is robust, with significant improvements in public finances and a declining unemployment rate.
  • Payment Dynamics: B2B sales on credit dominate, with a strategic shortening of payment terms to 36 days to mitigate default risks, leading to a decline in late payments.
  • DSO & Credit Management: Enhanced credit control processes and a focus on managing Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) reflect a proactive approach to financial health.
  • Corporate Structures & Liability: LLCs and Private Capital Companies remain popular, balancing operational flexibility with liability protection. Recent reforms in corporate governance and legal frameworks align Greece more closely with European standards, promoting transparency and stability.
  • Sectoral Insights: The maritime and agri-food sectors illustrate varied responses to credit management, with some preferring outsourcing to credit insurers.
  • Investment & Financing: Greece's amended recovery plan, supported by EU funding, focuses on climate and digital transitions, potentially influencing corporate strategies and external financing options.
Explore Payment Trends and DSO

Understanding DSO and Payment Behavior in Greece

In Greece, the significance of B2B sales on credit underscores the nuanced payment culture within the business ecosystem. An average of 57% of sales made on credit across various sectors highlights the critical role of credit transactions in the local market dynamics. Particularly, the maritime transport sector showcases a dynamic approach, with 62% of B2B sales on credit, underlining the strategic importance of credit sales in fostering trade and maintaining liquidity within this pivotal industry.

The evolution of payment terms in Greece, now shortened to an average of 36 days, reflects a strategic shift by businesses to mitigate the risk of customer payment defaults. This adjustment is a testament to Greek businesses' resilience and adaptability in navigating the challenges of late payments, which now affect 35% of B2B sales on credit. Moreover, the concerted efforts to enhance credit control processes have borne fruit, with bad debts being halved to 2% of all B2B invoiced sales, marking a significant improvement in financial health and stability for Greek enterprises.

Identifying Challenges:

Despite the positive strides, Greek businesses continue to grapple with late payments and extended DSO periods, which pose substantial challenges to cash flow and operational efficiency. Factors such as the economic landscape, marked by Greece's recovery facing challenges from monetary policy tightening and surging interest rates, play a crucial role. The high dependency on tourism also introduces volatility, affecting businesses' cash flows and subsequently their DSO figures.

Moreover, structural and regulatory hurdles, including a complex business environment and slow judicial processes, add layers of complexity to debt collection efforts. The perceived corruption in public administration and one of Europe's slowest court systems exacerbate the situation, hindering timely resolution of payment disputes and affecting business operations.

Exploring Solutions and Strategies:

In response to these challenges, Greek businesses have adopted various strategies to manage late payments and reduce DSO. Strengthening in-house credit control processes has been a priority, with 75% of businesses, especially in the agri-food sector, taking proactive measures to mitigate customer credit risks. The maritime transport sector's inclination towards outsourcing late payment issues to credit insurers highlights the sector's strategic approach to minimizing DSO fluctuations and safeguarding against non-payment risks.

Furthermore, leveraging EU funds, particularly from the Next Generation EU facility, which Greece is a major beneficiary of, offers a significant opportunity for businesses to invest in digitalization and process improvements. Such investments can lead to more efficient billing and collection processes, ultimately reducing DSO and enhancing financial health.

Considering Risk Mitigation Tools:

To further mitigate the risks associated with high DSO and late payments, Greek businesses can explore several tools and approaches. Credit insurance emerges as a key strategy, especially for sectors like maritime transport, providing a safety net against non-payment and contributing to financial stability. Digital solutions, such as electronic invoicing and automated payment reminders, can streamline collections and reduce DSO, aligning with Greece's focus on digital transition.

Moreover, given the regulatory complexities and the slow judicial processes, seeking professional advisory services can offer valuable insights into effective debt collection and risk management strategies. These services can navigate the intricacies of the Greek business environment, ensuring compliance and efficiency in debt collection efforts.

By addressing the underlying challenges, employing targeted solutions, and leveraging risk mitigation tools, Greek businesses can navigate the complexities of the market, ensuring better financial health and sustainability amidst the evolving economic landscape.

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Explore main corporate structures

Understanding Corporate Structures in Greece and Their Implications for Creditors

Understanding the corporate structure of your business partners in Greece is crucial for efficient and accurate debt collection processes. The type of corporate entity not only decides the operational and legal framework within which a company operates but also delineates the financial liability for potential claims. Below, we delve deep into the core corporate structures present in Greece and discuss their implications for creditors, equipping international creditors with the necessary knowledge to navigate the Greek business landscape.

Corporate Structures in Greece

The Greek corporate landscape presents a variety of structures, each with distinct characteristics, legal implications, and financial liabilities. Recognizing these distinctions is pivotal for creditors in tailoring their debt collection strategies and understanding potential risks and limitations.

  • Individual Enterprise: Represents the simplest form of business where decision-making power rests with the individual entrepreneur. This structure poses unlimited liability, meaning personal assets could be used to settle business debts.
  • Partnerships: Including General Partnerships (O.E.) and Limited Partnerships (E.E.), where the former sees all partners bearing unlimited liability. Meanwhile, in E.E., there are both general partners, with unlimited liability, and silent partners whose liability is limited to their contributed capital.
  • Corporations: In Greece, corporations primarily take the form of a Limited Liability Company (E.P.E.) or a Private Capital Company (I.K.E.). Both offer limited liability, thus shielding personal assets of the owners from business liabilities. The differentiation in these structures primarily revolves around capital requirements and operational flexibility.
  • Societe Anonyme (A.E.): This corporate form is recognized for its ability to raise capital through the issuance of shares and guarantees limited liability to its shareholders. Governed by comprehensive legal frameworks, Société Anonyme demands annual financial reporting and maintenance of corporate transparency.

Implications for Creditors

For international creditors, understanding the nuances of Greek corporate structures can be fundamental in formulating effective debt recovery strategies. Liability plays a significant role in debt recovery efforts:

  • Unlimited Liability Entities (Individual Enterprises, General Partnerships): Creditors may have a wider range of assets to claim against in the event of unpaid debts. However, the extent of recoverable assets depends on the debtor's personal financial situation.
  • Limited Liability Entities (Corporations, Societe Anonyme): Recovery efforts are constrained to the assets of the business entity. While this provides a clear boundary of claimable assets, it may also limit the creditors' recovery in cases where the company’s assets are insufficient to cover the debt.

Specific to the Greek context, recent regulatory updates and legal reforms, such as Law 4548/2018, have shaped the corporate governance landscape, influencing corporate decisions and the handling of liabilities. Creditors must stay informed about these changes to navigate the debt collection process effectively.

In summary, understanding the corporate structures particular to Greece and their legal and financial implications is indispensable for international creditors. It informs risk management, debt collection strategies, and overall business dealings with Greek entities. Armed with this knowledge, creditors can approach debt recovery in Greece with heightened awareness and strategic finesse.

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Explore detailed country risk analysis

The economic risk in Greece

Our analysis shows that the economic risk in Greece is medium-high (4 out of 6). An economic risk of 4 out of 6 is relatively high in Europe.

GDP and economic growth are critical drivers for economic risk.
The GDP of Greece is 216,24 bn. USD (2021), growing by 8,34% per year.

In terms of the size of its economy, Greece ranks #50 out of 183 countries and has a medium-sized economy.

Looking at the growth rate, it is ranked #30 out of 183 countries and is therefore considered a fast-growing economy.

GDP per capita is 20277 USD, ranking Greece number #43 out of 183 countries. This means the purchasing power of citizens in Greece is high compared to the rest of the world.

You get a more detailed idea of GDP and economic growth in Greece in the table below:

GDP and economic growthLatest value
Economic growth: the rate of change of real GDP8,34%
Gross Domestic Product, billions of U.S. dollars216,24
GDP per capita, current U.S. dollars20276,54
GDP per capita, Purchasing Power Parity29428,39

Another big impact for the risk score is the inflation rate and the interest rates. You get a more detailed idea of monetary KPIs in Greece in the table below:

Monetary KPI'sLatest value
Inflation: percent change in the Consumer Price Index1,2%

The inflation in Greece was 1,2% in 2021 which is considered a very low inflation rate.

The business environment risk in Greece

Our analysis shows that the business environment risk in Greece is low (2 out of 6), which is a pretty average risk score in Europe.

Economic freedom and rights determine the business environment risk in a country. Take a look at the important facts for Greece in the table below:

Economic freedom indexLatest value
Property rights index (0-100)56
Freedom from corruption index (0-100)54
Fiscal freedom index (0-100)60
Business freedom index (0-100)76
Monetary freedom index (0-100)80
Trade freedom index (0-100)84
Investment freedom index (0-100)55
Financial freedom index (0-100)50
Economic freedom, overall index (0-100)61

As you can see in the table, the property rights index is 56 in Greece, which is considered low in Europe.

The business freedom index is based on 10 indicators, using data from the World Bank’s Doing Business study. The Index is 76 in Greece, a quite average score for a country in Europe.

Greece's overall economic freedom index is 61 out of 100 and is based on factors such as the rule of law, regulatory efficiency, and market openness.

The political risk in Greece

The political risk in Greece is low, with a score of 2/6. This is a pretty average political risk score in Europe.

The governance and political stability indicators are important drivers for political risk. An overview of Greece can be seen in the table below:

Governance and political stability indicators Latest value
Rule of law index (-2.5 weak; 2.5 strong)0,35
Government effectiveness index (-2.5 weak; 2.5 strong)0,44
Control of corruption (-2.5 weak; 2.5 strong)0,21
Political stability index (-2.5 weak; 2.5 strong)0,15
Corruption Perceptions Index, 100 = no corruption49
Shadow economy, percent of GDP26,45%

The rule of law index analyses to which extent agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the quality of the courts, and the police's ability to enforce court orders.

When trading with businesses in a country, the rule of law index is critical as it describes your ability to enforce commercial contracts.

In Greece, the rule of law index is at 0,35 points, with the score going from -2.5 (weak) to 2.5 (strong). Greece has, therefore, a medium rule of law index, which means it should be possible to enforce your contracts. If possible, we still recommend charging payment upfront or working with credit insurance for larger deals.

Other drivers for the low political risks are the weak control of corruption, the weak political stability index, and the large shadow economy that is 26,45% of Greece's GDP.

The commercial risk in Greece

In Greece, the commercial risk score is 3/4, which in our model is a medium score. This medium commercial risk score is pretty average compared to the average in Europe.

The commercial risk is relying on a country's international trade relationships. You can see some of the key facts for Greece in the table below:

International trade and investment Latest value
Exports of goods and services as percent of GDP40,63%
Exports of goods and services, annual growth21,94%
Imports of goods and services as percent of GDP48,55%
Trade balance as percent of GDP-7,92
Trade balance, billion USD-14.94
Foreign exchange reserves, billion currency units14.45

Greece has a foreign exchange reserve of 14.45 bn. USD.

Greece has a negative trade balance of -7,92% of GDP. This means that Greece imports more goods and services than the country exports.

The annual growth of exports of goods and services has been growing 21,94% annually - now 40,63% of GDP. Import of goods and services represents 48,55% of the GDP in Greece.

The financing risk in Greece

We have calculated the financing risk to be 2/4, which equals a low risk. A low financing risk score is pretty average for countries in Europe.

The country's banking system, efficiency, and stability influence the financing risk. Additional facts and info can be found for Greece in the table below:

Banking system efficiency and stabilityLatest value
Index of legal rights for creditors and borrowers (0 = weak to 12 = strong)2
Credit information sharing index, 0 (low) - 8 (high)7

In Greece, the credit information sharing index is 7 on a scale from 0 (low) to 8 (high). This means the accessibility and quality of credit information available in Greece is medium-high.

This makes it easy for you to understand the credit risk of your counterpart in Greece. Based on this, it should be possible to to find a good local credit rating agency that can help you analyse the creditworthiness of your specific customers.

Your juridical rights as a creditor are 2 out of 12 and, therefore, very weak.

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At Debitura, we uphold the highest standards of impartiality and precision to bring you comprehensive guides on international debt collection. Our editorial team boasts over a decade of specialized experience in this domain.

By the Numbers:

  • Over 10 years of expertise in international debt collection.
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  • Recovery success: $100 million in debt recovered for our clients in the last 18 months alone.
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Meet the Author: Robin Tam is the cornerstone of our content's credibility. With 16 years dedicated to international debt collection, Robin's expertise is unparalleled. As a leading partner at Debitura, Robin embodies the knowledge and integrity we stand for.

Contributors to This Guide: In our commitment to accuracy, this article has been reviewed and enhanced by esteemed local attorneys, each bringing their specialized legal insights to ensure the information we provide is thoroughly vetted and current:

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