Dealing With a Non-Paying Business Customer in Spain

  • Domingo
    Domingo
    Domingo has 10 years experience as a practising lawyer in Gran Canaria and specialises in providing expert advice in property law matters, inheritances, family law and contract law issues, in particular time-share agreements.

We are a UK company that sent a shipment of our products to a distributor in Spain without billing in advance as normal (an oversight due to a seasonal rush). The distributor has failed to pay, offering various excuses, including that the shipments did not match their orders, which is patently untrue. Given that we did not sign any specific contract with this distributor, what are our rights in this situation?

According to Article 50.1 of the Spanish Civil Code, as the debtor has his residency here in Spain, the Spanish courts are competent to judge this legal issue. Even so, it would be advisable to sign a contract (in Spanish) which specifies that, in case of dispute, the parties designate the Spanish Courts as competent, as this will facilitate searches to be carried-out with regard to the financial position of the breaching party and any assets they have.

While certainly it does appears that you have emails from the distributor asking you for some products, on the other hand it is important to be in possession of an email sent to the distributor in which appears a summary of the price you expect the distributor to pay for a specific quantity of particular products with the total price in Sterling or Euros that you are now claiming from him.

Moreover, you should be in possession of the specific email that the distributor sent to you agreeing to the order or alternatively, the email to which is attached the invoice with his signature.

It may well be that the invoice appears in one of the emails as an attached file, in which case you are obliged to hire a Spanish notary in the UK who will certify the contents of those emails and certify that the invoice appears as attached file in one of them.

The Spanish legislation is very formal in this sense: If we cannot prove in court that the invoice exists in one of the emails as an attached file it´s going to be difficult to succeed in any proceedings for the recovery of the debt. However, once demonstrated that the order was received and approved by the distributor we can pursue the matter in court for recovery of either the amount of the order or the return of the products if this is an appropriate remedy. In addition, you may seek full payment of your legal costs and the costs of recovery.

Client Testimonials

Below is a list of recent reviews received from our clients, obtained via the Wufoo client survey platform:

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    David Stack, Lliria, Spain
    Thursday, June 21, 2018
    Francisca was extremely helpful. She made the whole process easy to understand. I would definitely recommend her service to friends.
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    Susanna Buckley, United Kingdom
    Wednesday, June 20, 2018
    Lidia is very approachable and friendly and I never felt that anything was a problem.

    She was also very sympathetic to my situation (my mother had passed away) and supportive. As soon as she was c...ontracted, she acted quickly to sort things out so that I could return home to the UK as soon as possible.

    She always tried her best to answer any questions very quickly and promptly and matters proceeded without too much worry on my part.
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    Wendy Dickson, Marbella
    Tuesday, June 19, 2018
    It was all done very quick. Very good value for money. How easy it all was to communicate via email.
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    Peter & Anita Bradshaw, Leeds, England
    Monday, June 18, 2018
    We could not be more happy with the service we received from Jaime.

    He responded immediately to our enquiry and it was clear from the outset that he fully understood our position. It was vital tha...t Jaime acted quickly in this matter and he did so in a highly professional and competent manner, providing us with clear and concise updates throughout.

    We found Jaime to be very polite and approachable and we believe his fees to be very reasonable. We would genuinely not hesitate to recommend his services.

    Before contacting Jaime, our previous experiences of Spanish Lawyers had been appalling - in fact we needed Jaime's help to resolve issues which previous Lawyers had created. Our only regret is not finding Jaime sooner!

    Thanks so much for all your help Jaime.
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    Jan Neate, Nerja
    Wednesday, May 30, 2018
    Very satisfied with the service provided by Beatriz. She extremely helpful and spoke more or less fluent English. We would definitely recommend her to friends.
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    Serena Bhatia, London
    Wednesday, May 30, 2018
    Anna has been nothing but helpful in providing information, sound advice and genuine care, My fiancé and I adore her! She is timely, professional and extremely knowledgeable about world wide law.
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    Ronald Peter Downs, Spain
    Tuesday, May 29, 2018
    A lady staff member took us under her wing and managed to sort out my residency. Overall no complaints.
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    Tracey and Mike Iliffe Bradley, Colchester, United Kingdom
    Tuesday, May 29, 2018
    From our very first contact through to the end of our purchase, Rosa surpassed all expectations.

    She was helpful, efficient, always quick to return our communications and a pleasure to deal with. ...We have already recommended her services to a friend.
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    Cheryl, Seville
    Monday, May 28, 2018
    Miguel was helpful and kind. We will use his service in the future.
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    Ken & Margaret, Torrevieja
    Thursday, May 24, 2018
    Pedro was extremely helpful, he couldn't have done more. We would definitely recommend his services to friends.
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    Rl, Alicante
    Thursday, May 24, 2018
    Felt very comfortable at all times. Nothing was too much. Understood everything mentioned in our meeting. Very reasonable rate, money wise.
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    KL, Valencia, Spain
    Wednesday, May 23, 2018
    Inma is easy to talk to, is prompt in replying to emails, is helpful and above all achieved the solution I wanted.
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    MF, Lanzarote
    Monday, May 21, 2018
    My lawyer Cristina was extremely understanding , friendly and reassuring. With Cristina on my side, it gave me confidence to continue.
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    RA, Paris
    Friday, May 18, 2018
    The service I needed wasn't complex, just verification of documents, but the service was rapid, friendly and exactly what I needed.My lawyer Julia was bilingual.
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    Sham Naib, Callao Salvaje, Tenerife
    Friday, May 18, 2018
    My lawyer Oliver was very helpful, always happy to assist. He professionally checked the law before dispensing advice.
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    Smith, France
    Friday, May 18, 2018
    Caroline is bilingual and was very helpful throughout. There is nothing I would suggest to improve. I was very happy with the service and would definitely recommend to friends.
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    SJ Thiele,
    Tuesday, May 15, 2018
    Inma was very helpful and we were very satisfied with the service overall. We would definitely recommend her services to friends.
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    John Stecher, England
    Tuesday, May 15, 2018
    Very satisfied with the service received. OUr lawyer was very easy and straightforward to deal with. Would definitely recommend to friends.
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    Cian O'Grady, Ireland
    Tuesday, May 15, 2018
    We bought a property in spain and Lidia assisted us through the buying process.

    She was very professional and reassured us throughout the process.Her english was very good and we felt that we got ...good value for our money.
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    PJU, Torun, Poland
    Wednesday, May 09, 2018
    Béatriz responded quickly to any queries I raised, with easily comprehensible answers.

    Her fee was very reasonable and she proved to be a very personable and approachable person when we finally m...et at the Notary.
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    Barry Gracey, Melbourne, Australia
    Monday, May 07, 2018
    I found Jaime helpful and responded promptly to my emails. I was very happy with the service provided and if needed would use him in the future
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    Geraldine King, Ireland
    Monday, May 07, 2018
    I was extremely happy with Pedro,and Ana. They were honest,and answered my queries promptly.

    Pedro had to evict my squatter tenants, and then organised an estate agent to sell my apt. This agent un...dertook renovating the apt, and got me a good price.

    Pedro and his brilliant co-worker Ana finalised the sale and I received the money into my account, without me ever setting a foot in Spain.(Power of attorney).

    I will be recommending Pedro to friends, who are going to sell their apartment in Torrevieja. I highly recommend him.
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    Joy Ellis, Sanxenxo
    Tuesday, May 01, 2018
    Sabela was extremely professional in her dealings with us, very patient and understanding of the situation and gave very good advice and a good solution to our problem.

    We feel very confident that... she has dealt with the complaint against a third party and know that if we need any further assistance in this matter she will be more than able to resolve it for us.

    She responded immediately to our contact and arranged a meeting on site to enable us to explain fully the problem we had.
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    Caroline R, Barcelona
    Tuesday, April 24, 2018
    Miguel has been great!

    His English is excellent, he explains everything clearly, emails when he says he will, and is very efficient in the service he provides.

    I'd definitely recommend him to ...friends.
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    George Salib, London
    Monday, April 23, 2018
    Jose Antonio was very professional and has assisted me in every step of the purchase of my flat in Alicante.

    He also assisted me by advising of the most suitable area according to my needs. His com...mitment and dedication is excellent.

    Jose Antonio was very easy to approach and happy to help in any way he can.

    I will definitely recommend him to my family and friends.
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    Liezl Pulido, Philippines
    Monday, April 23, 2018
    Rosa never stopped working very hard, she went way above what she needed to do...she never gave up on me and always did more than I thought anyone would.

    I am so blessed I got Rosa to help me I co...uldn't have gotten a better lawyer she's the best.

    Thank you Rosa from the bottom of my heart you are a wonderful person, I am so grateful to you.
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    KJB, United Kingdom
    Friday, April 20, 2018
    Francisco was professional and efficient. Very good value for money.
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    Duncan Martin, Wolverhampton, England
    Friday, April 20, 2018
    Lidia, was extremely helpful and patient throughout the process.

    She was very attentive and responsive and explained everything in detail.

    Lidia represents excellent value for money and the so...lutions she recommended were very beneficial, especially as you hear and read about a lot of horror stories on the web.

    Lidia was the best legal representative i have employed and i will always use her where Spanish legal affairs are concerned.
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    Julie Smith, Torrellano
    Friday, April 20, 2018
    I can't compliment my solicitor enough.

    From our initial meeting right through to my ultimate divorce (with no unpleasant surprises the entire duration of the entire process), he immediately respo...nded to my many enquiries, always had mine and my daughter's best interests at the forefront of any considerations and was well worth every penny of his extremely reasonable fee.

    Excellent value for money, totally approachable and very professional and understanding. I highly recommend him and will continue to retain his services for other matters in the future.
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    SH, England
    Friday, April 20, 2018
    Very satisfied with the service provided. Miguel was approachable and prompt in replying.

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