How to Get Your Name Removed From a Debtor List in Spain
Whether you’ve defaulted on a payment, or your name has been included by mistake on a debtor list in Spain, you need to know what to do. Late payment of just one of your bills could put you at risk of being on file as a debtor and reduce your chances of getting a loan or other type of credit in the future.
What’s classed as non-payment?
Defaulting on any regular payment such as your mortgage, credit card bill, subscription service or similar will mean you run the risk of being placed on a debtor list.
Additionally if you agree to any payment, whether a single payment or a payment schedule, by signing a document or contract, if you don’t subsequently pay then it’s also classed as default. Take into account that the 14-day cooling-off period doesn’t include all goods and services.
Only debts that are over 50€ and legally due can be classed by a company as a valid reason to be included in a debtor list. This includes partial amounts (when you have paid part of a charge but not the full amount).
Additionally at least four months must have gone by since the debt was due and you must receive a communication from the company involved about the actions they are going to take in 30 days’ time. During these 30 days you will have the opportunity to correct any details or oppose the measures.
What should you do when you don’t agree with an invoice?
All banks allow for the return of direct debits within 56 days. However this right should never be used to dispute the amount charged on a bill.
For example, when your phone bill direct debit hits your bank account, if you don’t agree with the amount charged DON’T just return the direct debit. When a company sees that a payment has been returned, normally they will be unaware of the reason and will simply reissue the direct debit order (sometimes with an extra commission charge). If it’s returned a second time you could run the risk of being placed on a debtor list for non-payment.
When you have to dispute a bill, your best option is to pay first and then speak with the company. In the long run you’ll save yourself a lot of extra problems!
What details are included on a debtor list?
A company that compiles debtor lists must ensure at all times that the details included are correct, up-to-date, not excessive (in other words, they shouldn’t have on file more personal details than those strictly necessary) and that the list is only used for legal purposes.
When you contract goods or services you must be informed that your personal details will be included on a debtor list if you don’t pay the full price or miss any regular payments.
Once on a debtor list, the company that compiles it must inform you about the following:
- Why you’ve been included: the total amount of the debt and the full details of the creditor.
- Your right to access, correction, cancelation and opposition to any detail included in the file (known in Spanish as Los Derechos ARCO).
- The identification and address of the company that will be responsible for the debtor list.
- A statement that if the file is passed to another company this can only be with your consent.
How long do details remain on file?
When the debt is paid your details must be removed immediately. Additionally when six years have passed all details must be erased to avoid any problems with future credit, loan or mortgage applications.
The main credit agencies and other bodies where debtors’ details are filed include:
- ASNEF – normally debts with financial entities
- CIRBE – complied by the Bank of Spain
- EQUIFAX – financial, phone and electricity debts
- BADEXCUG – debts with banks, credit cooperatives, finance companies
- FIJ – traffic fines, municipal debts, social security and tax debts. Debtor names are published in the official gazettes.
- FIM – unpaid rental fees
On their websites you can find details of how to get in touch with each one.
How to get your name removed from a debtor list?
If you have paid the debt that is shown on the list, or there’s an error and the debt never existed, you must request in writing that your name be removed. Remember to include as many details as possible in order for the company to take action and remove your name as soon as possible.
Unfortunately many people continue to appear on a debtor list but with a zero euro debt!
if the company doesn’t remove your name, or doesn’t do so in an acceptable timeframe, then you should make an official complaint via the Spanish Data Protection Agency online at the official website.
If you agree that the debt is correct, then it’s up to you to pay it and then request that your details are removed from the list.
Don’t forget that it’s easy for your name to appear on a debtor list and a lot harder to get your name removed: it takes time, paperwork and patience.
Not all financial companies have access to all the debtor lists. If your name is included on one list it doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have access to credit or other financial products.