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01.03.2011 – 11:02

Atradius N.V.

Atradius Collections' International Debt Collections Handbook Reveals Country Differences in Statute of Limitations

Amsterdam, Netherlands (ots/PRNewswire)

The International Debt Collections Handbook which will be released by Atradius Collections in its fourth edition next month reveals the enormous differences in debt expiring in based on statute of limitations.

The International Debt Collections Handbook is created by experts in country-specific debt collection procedures and legislation that present a major challenge for businesses. Their expertise was acquired through years of experience and collecting internationally at Atradius Collections.

The statute of limitation poses a recurring issue for many businesses who lack in-depth knowledge of local laws which can be critical when collecting international debt. The law defining statute of limitation is set by country and therefore radical differences can be seen when comparing countries. The range can start from just one year, such as in Mexico and go up to 15 in Spain. The statute of limitation prevents delinquent debt from being pursued indefinitely and defines the time limit for the creditor to file a lawsuit.

As this is a very complex subject, businesses are often best advised to seek the advice of an external expert. Compiled by experts in debt collections, the Atradius Collections Handbook highlights the differences around collecting debt in foreign countries and has dedicated a section to the diversity and complexity of country-specific procedures, including statute of limitations.

"We have created the International Debt Collections Handbook for businesses, providing them with the tools to understanding debt collections in a foreign country, "says Rudi De Greve, Executive Manager Global Operations at Atradius Collections. "Statute of limitation is just a small area in this broad subject but stands out due to its complexity."

Differences in statute of limitation in selected countries:

Canada: 3 years - for commercial documents. If payments have been made the period may be interrupted.

China: 2 years - for general trading. Some exceptional international purchasing contracts are for 4 years.

Germany: 3 years - limitation starts at the beginning of the year following the year in which the claim was founded.

Greece: 5 years - for commercial invoices. For cheques, bills of exchange, promissory letters it is 3 years.

India: 3 years - for commercial invoices and bills of exchange and promissory notes.

Mexico: 1 year for commercial transactions in retail sales and 10 years for wholesale. On international sales, the statute of limitations is 4 years.

Poland: 3 years - for commercial invoices, in some cases 2 years.

Netherlands: 5 years - for commercial claims. This is calculated from the due date of the invoice.

Spain: 15 years - the law foresees a special period for obligations that must be paid yearly or in shorter periods of time which is then 5 years.

Switzerland: 10 years - for contractual claims.

Turkey: 10 years - for commercial invoices, but the law has a few exceptions, such as only one year for shipping invoices or six months for checks.

Hungary: 5 years - exception are outstanding receivables originating from freight forwarding services prescribe after even one year.

United States: Varies from state to state, and generally are between 2 and 6 years for an open account or sale of goods, and between 3 and 10 years for a written contract.

More information and more countries can be found in the International Debt Collections Handbook which is available for free downloading at .

About Atradius Collections:

Atradius Collections, a business unit of Atradius Group, provides efficient, quick and flexible solutions for recovering domestic and international trade debts. With a global network of collections specialists, lawyers and insolvency practitioners worldwide, Atradius Collections serves over 14,000 customers handling, on average, 100,000 cases a year. Over 85 years of worldwide credit management industry experience uniquely position Atradius Collections as a global leader in business-to-business debt collections.


Press Contact: Corinna Lohse, Phone: +31-20-553-3028,

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