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The statute of limitations poses an ongoing challenge for many businesses who lack in-depth knowledge of local laws. This can be especially critical when collecting international debt. The law defining a statute of limitations is set country by country, and therefore extreme differences can be seen when comparing. The range can start from two years, such as in China, and go up to 15 years as in Spain. The statute of limitations prevents delinquent debt from being pursued indefinitely and defines the time limit for the creditor to file a lawsuit.

Some interesting and important differences in the statute of limitations in selected countries are as follows:
  • China: 2 years for general trading. Some exceptions apply to international purchasing contracts for 4 years.
  • Germany: 3 years limitation starts at the beginning of the year following the year in which the claim was initiated.
  • Greece: 5 years for commercial invoices. For checks, bills of exchange, promissory letters it is 3 years.
  • India: 3 years for commercial invoices, bills of exchange and promissory notes.
  • Mexico: 4 years on international sales. 1 year for commercial transactions in retail sales and 10 years on wholesale transactions.
  • 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.
  • 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.
A Summary of Collection laws for the United States and Canada can be found on our website, as well as a very quick and concise guide to the Foreign Statute of Limitations in over 140 countries. Please note that we make every effort to keep these listings up-to-date, but local counsel should be consulted in each instance to assure accuracy of this information.

Thomas W. Hamilton

 Industry News

Webinar announcement: 6 Steps for Building Executive Presence
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General counsels suiting up for the cybersecurity wars
Corporate Counsel
General counsel should already have cybersecurity at the top of their list of major concerns, as the recent news from The Home Depot Inc. makes clear. Credit card thieves apparently breached Home Depot stores across the country, according to a story appearing on a security news website. The article said stolen credit card numbers found for sale online with listed zip codes are a 99.4 percent match to the zip codes of Home Depot store locations.
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New York announces new debt collection rules
New York Law Journal
New York state court administrators said recently they have finalized rules designed to ban the collection of debts that consumers did not incur, have already paid off or which have been extinguished by the passage of the six-year statute of limitations. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said the new rules will reduce instances where abusive and aggressive collectors — often holding debts that have changed hands several times over several years — seek default judgments against consumers in court based on incomplete or erroneous documents.
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The CFPB has a back-to-school reading list for you
During the panel discussion on Impacts of Regulations, Greg Nodler, an enforcement attorney for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, suggested that those in the debt industry should spend some time making themselves acquainted with three specific CFPB Bulletins. They focus on credit card debt, unfair or abusive acts and what to do if you make a mistake.
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Year-over-year bankruptcy filings decrease 16 percent
ACA International
Total U.S. bankruptcy filings decreased 16 percent in August 2014 over August of last year, according to data provided by Epiq Systems Inc., the largest year-over-year drop so far in 2014. Bankruptcy filings totaled 75,170 in August 2014, down from the August 2013 total of 88,962.
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No fees for non-admitted lawyer in debt collection case
The Legal Intelligencer
While the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides for attorney fees if a debt collector violates the law, those fees can't be paid to a non-admitted attorney who, while claiming to have acted in only a consulting capacity, did more than local counsel, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied fees under the act to a plaintiffs attorney who was not admitted to practice in the district and had never sought pro hac vice admission in the case, Gsell v. Rubin and Yates.
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— Caleb J. Langsdale, Langsdale Law Firm P.C., Las Vegas, Nevada

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— Arthur Rothschild, Managing Member, J.A.M. Collections LLC, Morganville, New Jersey

Upcoming Events

Oct. 8-11, 2014
National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges National Meeting
Chicago, Illinois

Oct. 9-11, 2014
Inaugural Conference for the Commercial Collection Agencies of America
Marriott/Residence Inn - Delray Beach, Florida

Oct. 22-25, 2014
National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys Fall Collection Conference
The Wynn - Las Vegas, Nevada

Complete schedule of events


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