Romania collection profile

 

Romania
       

Romania

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Complexity of collecting debt:

grading
Notable High Very High Severe


Executive summary

  • Although Romania's regulations on late payments are more demanding than EU rules on the matter, the paying behavior of domestic companies remains problematic.
  • Legal proceedings are long and costly, therefore use of arbitration or a foreign (European) forum is worth considering because both arbitral awards and decisions rendered in EU countries are fairly enforceable.
  • Before commencing legal actions of any kind, however, it is essential to conduct thorough pre-legal actions. Indeed, when time goes on, chances are that bad payers will become insolvent. In such cases, recovering the debt becomes practically impossible.
 
General Information GENERAL INFORMATION arrow-transparent
 
Collection Practices COLLECTION PRACTICES arrow-transparent
Court Proceedings Court PROCEEDINGS arrow-transparent
 
Insolvency Proceedings INSOLVENCY PROCEEDINGS arrow-transparent
 
General Information 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)

The paying behavior of domestic companies may be problematic even though it may be explained by a lack of support from the banking sector. For 2015, the average DSO was round 65 days. In practice, payment should occur within 30 to 40 days following the invoice remittance, but delays of up to 25 days may be expected. In fact, companies increasingly use promissory notes payable 15 to 30 days after the remittance date as a means to further delay payments.

 

Late payment interest

The Recast Directive 2011/7/EU which stipulates that payments in the EU must be made within 60 days has been transposed into Romanian law by Law 72/2013 on 5 April 2013 (Law 72), thus amending Government Ordinance no. 13/2011 (GO 13).

The rules in Romania are however stricter than the EU requirements: as a general rule, payment should occur within 30 calendar days following the date of receipt of the invoice unless the parties otherwise agree on specific payment terms which cannot exceed 60 calendar days. Abusive clauses would be deemed null and void by law. In addition, the parties are free to agree on specific late payment interest. These must however be calculated on the basis of a legal rate (6% per year), increased by at least 8 percentage points. As a general rule, late payment interest is applicable starting from the due date and may increase after 30 calendar days. In practice however, interest is often calculated when legal action is started in court or when a payment arrangement is signed (especially if it is signed in front of the court).


In addition, according to Law 72/2013 amended by Government Ordinance no. 13/2011, creditors are entitled to a flat EUR 40 sum to cover ‘minimum supplementary damages’, but they are also allowed to claim compensation for all the recovery expenses (legal fees, recovery agency fees, etc.) imputable to the debtor, before the court. The practice proved that this flat fee of EUR 40 is often difficult to collect and essentially used as a negotiation tool by the creditors.

 
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collection practice 

COLLECTIONS PRACTICES

Orchestrated negotiation first

Amicable settlement opportunities always constitute a strong alternative to legal proceedings which, when brought before Romanian courts, tend to be excessively formal, slow and costly. Before starting legal proceedings against a debtor, assessment of assets is important as it allows verification as to whether the company is still active and whether recovery chances are at good. In addition, it is essential to be aware of the debtor’s solvency status: if insolvency proceedings have been initiated, it indeed becomes impossible to enforce a debt (see below).

 
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Court Proceeding 

COURT PROCEEDINGS

The legal system in Romania is based on Civil Law, which means that the rules are codified whilst the courts‘ decisions only have a limited law-creating effect. As a general rule, business disputes are brought before local courts (judecatoria) in the place where the buyer has its headquarter, or before County Courts (tribunalul) which have a wider jurisdiction to deal with claims in excess of RON 200,000. A New Civil Procedure Code applies since February 2013 (alongside the New Civil Code which entered into force in 2011) and significantly modifies the structure of trials in Romania, with the aim of reducing the timeframe in

which judgments are rendered and of aligning the civil procedure with the substantial law provided by the New Civil Code.

Nonetheless, The European Commission emphasized in January 2013 a persisting lack of trust in the rule of law, with significant impacts on businesses‘ ability to access fair and equitable justice.


The law does not impose any pre-legal conduct. Nonetheless, legal dunning ought to start with a registered Demand Letter recalling the debtor’s obligation to pay the principal together with late payment interest (as contractually agreed or taking a legal rate as a reference) within fifteen days. Whenever possible, payment instalments (authenticated by a notary) should be negotiated as these would give access to compulsory enforcement if the agreement is disregarded. Since 2013, if the debtor fails to pay or to answer the Demand Letter and provided that the debt is certain and undisputed, the creditor may furthermore request a fast-track Payment Order (ordonantie de plată) from the tribunal, enforceable through compulsory proceedings (executare silită). When the debtor company has assets in other EU Member States, a European Payment Order procedure facilitating the recovery of undisputed debts (under Regulation EC No 1896/2006) may furthermore be triggered. In this case, the demanding party may request a domestic court to issue an Order to Pay which will then be enforceable in all European Union countries (except Denmark) without recourse to exequatur proceedings. If the debtor disputes the debt in front of the court through the Payment Order procedure, the claim will be rejected and the creditor has the right to initiate the ordinary legal action. A creditor willing to commence domestic proceedings would nonetheless file a claim with the competent court, which would then serve the debtor with the claim. The debtor is normally given twenty-five days to file a defence (term which can be shortened by the judge), but failure to do so would be considered as an acknowledgement of the claims of the creditor (the debtor would then be no longer allowed to submit evidence or invoke procedural exceptions) and the creditor's request would be judged in the absence of the debtor. If the debtor files a defence, by contrast, the court would organize proceedings so that the parties’ arguments and evidence may be considered prior to rendering a decision. In theory, the courts ought to encourage the parties to reach a compromise, but such proceedings do not seem to take place efficiently. Romanian courts would normally award remedies in the form of compensatory damages or injunctions. In addition, procedural delays are penalized through civil fines, in fixed amounts (rather than daily rates) may be awarded in compensation for the damages caused by the delay. The amount of the fines is established through the civil procedure code (between RON 50 and RON 1000) while the amount of compensation would have to be proved by the creditor. 


 
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insolvency Proceeding 

INSOLVENCY PROCEEDINGS

Insolvency in Romania refers to the inability of the debtor to fulfil its present and future obligations towards its creditors.

Insolvency procedures are governed by Law 85/2014 which replaced the former Law 85/2006 on judicial reorganization and bankruptcy procedure. Insolvency proceedings can be initiated by one or more creditors holding debts in amounts greater than RON 45,000, provided that the debts are certain, liquid and due and that at least 90 days have passed since the due date. Also, the debtor’s reason for not paying back must be lack of liquidity (the request for initiation may be rejected if the debtor can prove the availability of cash or that the debt is not certain, liquid or due).​

 
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