Debt transfer – can it be done without the debtor’s consent?

A company other than the one with which the customer has concluded a contract may apply for payment for the services or goods purchased. In this situation, he should not panic, but calmly read the letter from which this information arises.

Everything indicates that the company (e.g. selling in installments, telecommunications, media provider) has transferred its claim to another entity. She did not have to consult this with the client, because the regulations allow the transfer of claims without obtaining the consent of the debtor.

A transfer of debt to another entity is not unlawful

A transfer of debt to another entity is not unlawful

It is called transfer of receivables ( cession is popularly referred to) and is regulated by the Civil Code. Companies are eager to use this solution – especially when the debt is difficult to collect because the customer does not want to pay or pays, but with a delay.

The company does not have to inform the debtor about the intention to transfer the liability to any third party. The rule is that it can always do so if the contract does not explicitly stipulate the ban on transfer (there are two other exceptions, but in practice, they are much less important).

If the person concluding the contract does not want his obligations to be sold, he should ensure that the contract contains a provision prohibiting the change of the creditor. This, however, may not be feasible: most consumer contracts are concluded on ready-made forms prepared by the company and it simply states that the claim may be disposed of or there is no word about it, which automatically means that the transfer is acceptable.

Of course, the terms of the contract can be negotiated and changes can be made to the printout, but in practice this is unlikely. The client would have to have a very strong negotiating position to bring about changes.

How do you know about the transfer?

Let’s discuss it with the example of a person who bought electronic equipment in installments and stopped repaying them at some point. The company operating the installment system may claim payment on its own, but may also transfer the claim to another entity; most likely choose a company specializing in debt collection.

As has been said, he does not have to warn the debtor of his intention, but at the same time, until he notifies him of the transfer, the debtor has the right to pay to the account of the current creditor (seller), who will have to settle with the new creditor (buyer). This is a beneficial solution for the debtor because the debtor should not have the task of knowing if his debt has not been transferred to any other company.

Let’s return to the example of an electronic equipment buyer whose debt has been transferred to another company. Who should the customer submit their purchase claims to (e.g. equipment has stopped working and the buyer wants to exercise his rights under the warranty or statutory rights, i.e. non-compliance of the goods with the contract) – to the seller or buyer of the claim?

In accordance with art. 513 § 1 of the Civil Code, the debtor is entitled to the purchaser of any claims that he had against the original creditor. Therefore, it will be him who will direct the request to repair the equipment or replace it with another one. This is an important regulation, because no matter whose benefit the debtor should pay (and for what reason the assignment occurred), he cannot be harmed as a result of decisions taken independently of him.

When it is not known who the creditor is

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Finally, one more possible situation. Imagine a debtor who did not pay his debts for a long time, e.g. he did not pay the subscription or shopping installments. When he finally decided to settle the debt, he called the creditor and asked to calculate the debt.

He obtained information that his claim was transferred, but the consultant is unable (he does not want to say, he does not know – it does not matter) to tell him who the creditor is now and what is the sum of the debt. Our debtor was advised to wait for a new creditor to contact him.

This is a very bad solution to the problem. We remind you that until the current creditor informs the debtor about the transfer of the claim, he has the right to perform the benefit on behalf of the company with which the debt arose. If he postpones the payment, the final debt will increase, because everyday interest is added.

The debtor in the example above should, therefore, pay for the invoice to which he has previously made payments. If he does not know how much he owes, he should pay as much as he estimates the debt, he will pay the rest when he is contacted by a new creditor.

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