Collecting a debt in Italy

After deadline for payment, the creditor should ask in writing the debtor to effect payment not later than 10 or 15 days from the receipt of the notice.

It is recommended to send a registered letter with return receipt request or a certified e-mail.

The collection of debt, in Italy, can take the form of an extragiudicial and/or a judicial procedure.
Here you will find out our general description of these procedures, assuming that the credito wants to recover the value of the unpaid commercial invoice/s from the debtor (which is a company).

Extra-judicial procedure
- Study of the case (i.e., information supplied by the creditor such as a copy of the invoices, commercial correspondence....) by an Italian attorney specialized in international business law.
- An Italian business report (optional) may be provided with, in order to ascertain if the debtor is still in business or has some assets.
IF: DEBTOR IS INSOLVENT
If the report shows that the debtor is definitely insolvent (i.e. has been wound up or has no reported assets), a final report is issued stating that the debt is uncollettible. This document may be used by the creditor to seek tax relief, according to tax laws of its State of origin.
IF: Lawyer’s out-of-Court notice
A Lawyer's out-of-Court notice is sent to the debtor, for the payment of the debt, interests and legal fees. Further steps may be carried out in order to reach the debtor and/or settle the case (i.e. by payments in instalments).
Payment
Payment is received by the client.
JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
A judicial request for an injunction ("decreto ingiuntivo") is filed by the Italian attorney, together with the proof of the credit. in about 15 days, the Italian judge will issue an order to the debtor to pay the credit, interests and legal fees. The debtor is also informed that, within 40 days of the date of notice, he/she is entitied to make objection. The injunction order is served to the debtor by the creditor.
if: objection by the debtor
The objection by the debtor determines the beginning of an ordinary judicial proceeding which can last, on average, 2 years.
However, at the first hearing, the judge may issue an order for interim payment at the request of the creditor.
IF: NO RESPONSE BY THE DEBTOR
At the request of the creditor's attorney, the injunction is declared definitely enforceable.
Generally, it is sent to the debtor with a new notice stating the new amount to pay, within 10 days, in order to avoid seizure of debtor's assets.
THEN: JUDICIAL ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS
If the debtor does not pay, the enforcement proceeding may take the following forms:
- seizure and sale of movable assets
- seizure of asset held/receivables payable by third parties to the debtor
- seizure of moto or autovehicles owned by the debtor (registered in the Italian public register)
- seizure of real estate properties
Payment
Payment is received by the client.

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