How to legally collect a debt in Colombia?
Lots of people consult our attorneys about how to legally collect a debt in Colombia on a weekly basis because they feel there is nothing they could do if there isn`t a document to support the debt. Well, in Colombia there is a legal way to collect debts when there is no document to show that it exists. It is called a Monitory Process or Proceso Monitorio in Spanish. This is the way to go if there is no way to prove on paper that the debt exists or the debt is pursuant a contract.
Monitory Process and Debt Collector Attorney in Colombia
Our legal firm has a team of debt collection attorneys who specializes in these sort of processes to collect debts. If you need to legally collect debts of any sort in Colombia, this is the number to call to get legal assistance with your situation. We can offer an experienced English speaking monitory process attorney in Colombia to assist you in this type of debt collection or those in which there is a document to support the existence of the debt. Contact Us Today
Monitory Process in Colombia Explained
Article 410 of the General Process Code for civil matters is the law that applies to these types of debt collection procedures. The procedure is straight forward and established so that people can pursue the payment of a debt or obligation involving money, which is based on a contract. The contract doesn`t have to be written if there are witnesses or other ways to show that it existed. Any debt that is intended to be collected through this process must be clear and with a determined value. It also must not surpass the amount equivalent to less than 40 legal monthly minimum wage salaries for that year.
This process is generally used when the person who intends to get payment from someone does not have a document that can be used in an executive process. That is, he or she does not have a bill, invoice, check, mediation settlement, court judgment or any other document that is considered to be legal proof of the debt. It is also used mostly for debts that involve a contract of some type, such as a contractor, personal loan, services contract, among others.
It is a simpler and quicker process than a regular debt collection process. It gives people who have made a business or partnership with someone, or an unwritten contract of any sort with a person or company and who for any reason finds it difficult to get them to comply with it, a way to get their money back.
How to get started
The first thing you need to get started with this type of process is to speak to an experienced lawyer who can tell you if this is the right process to follow. If the attorney determines that it is a go, then you can either have the lawyer do it for you or do it yourself in the following way.
The process must begin by filing a claim in the municipality or city where the business or contract was carried out or in case that is not possible, it can be filed, where the defendant lives. This lawsuit as a minimum must contain some general requirements, such as; information about the origin of the debt, the exact amount owed, who owes it and other relevant components. Also, it must contain an explicit clear and precise statement that the payment of the debt does not depend on the fulfillment of any type of obligation on behalf of the plaintiff. This means that the debt cannot be a result of any type of condition to be met by the person who the money is owed to.
Once the lawsuit is admitted by the court, it is transferred to the presumed debtor and once notified, this person or entity has a term of ten days to pay the debt or state reasons in its defense. Once notified the presumed debtor has three options; one is to recognize the debt and pay the obligation or to enter into a payment agreement with the claimant, which means that the process ends.
The second option is that the alleged debtor does not respond to the lawsuit or refuses to recognize the debt by responding to the claim but without giving reasons or grounds to establish that it is not a debtor. In this case, the judge issues judgment declaring him debtor of the sum demanded and this decision gives the claimant a document which can be used to put liens on the debtor`s properties or salary, in order to get payment for the debt. It is important to bear in mind that in this case, the judge will impose a fine against the alleged debtor and in favor of the plaintiff for a value of 10% of the total value of the debt.
The third option is for the defendant to oppose said debt and present evidence and/or arguments that disprove the alleged debt. This can be done by proving that it has been previously paid in full or partial payments have been made, or that it is totally opposed to the existence of the debt. In this case, the lawsuit becomes a civil case where both parties must present evidence to support their claims, witnesses can be brought to trial and the Judge makes a final decision on the existence or not of the debt. In the event that the judge determines that the debt does not exist and decides against the plaintiff, he will impose a fine on the plaintiff in favor of the defendant, equivalent to 10% of the total value of the claim.