By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer – Abogado
8th of April 2014
Spain has ‘technically’ exited its seven year recession. However, the financial aftermath continues to look grim for most of the population (with the exception of our political class, of course). As a consequence, over 100,000 people are added each month to Spain’s dreaded bad debtor’s lists.
This article explains how you may be included in one of them (even unbeknownst to yourself!), the severe financial consequences this has (in Spain) and how to remove yourself from a black list.
What is a Bad Debtor’s List?
In Spain companies will include you on non-payment in a bad creditor’s list such as EXPERIAN, ASNEF or RAI which has dire consequences as it adversely affects your credit score and by extension hampers your future borrowing ability.
You may think that the people who are normally included in debtor’s black lists are in most cases professional non-payers or maybe families hit by the brunt of Spain’s financial downturn. However you would be surprised to learn there are multiple cases reported in which a person with a spotless credit track record is included out of spite by a company as a result of a legitimate dispute over a questionable invoice. At other times it may fall down to something as clumsy as a careless oversight on paying a service.
Consequences of being included in a Bad Debtor’s List
These consequences are financial and will severely hinder your borrowing ability in Spain, or elsewhere, in the near future. On being included in a black list you may be turned down on some or all the following:
Amount of the Debt
There is no minimum amount. Less than €100 warrants you being blacklisted.
Duration of the Inclusion in a Debtor’s List
The duration normally spans six years. After said time your details should automatically be removed by the registry.
What happens if I am not notified of my inclusion in a Bad Creditor’s List?
This is an entitlement. Failure to comply by the registry gives you good legal grounds to request a cancellation and a full withdrawal from the debtor’s registry. In practice this may be more difficult than I make it sound and you may need a lawyer to assist you.
Removal of a Debtor’s Registry
Paying off your debt will not have you automatically removed from a debtor’s registry. You must proactively pursue your own removal or else appoint someone qualified to do it on your behalf i.e. a lawyer. The whole procedure will only be carried out in Spanish language.
The Four Steps to remove oneself from a Bad Debtor’s Registry in Spain
Conclusion Bad Debtor’s List (“Listado de Morosos”)
Spain’s ongoing delicate financial situation pushes families to the brink. The inclusion in a debtor’s black list may not be an issue if you are non-resident in Spain but becomes a serious matter for those holding resident status as it will seriously hamper their borrowing ability as well as being an overall nuisance in their day-to-day life.
I strongly recommend you to avoid an inclusion in such lists. And if you do happen to get included, a lawyer – for a reasonable fee – can help you to clear your good name by cutting through the red tape and language barrier in an expedient manner.
“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered” – George Best.
Northern Irish professional footballer. Winner of the European Cup with the Manchester United in 1968.
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