Compensation for recovery costs
Compensation for recovery costs must take into account the socio-economic purpose of the law. This is one of the instruments to combat late payments provided for by the Act of March 8, 2013 on payment deadlines in commercial transactions. This act was amended on 1 January 2016. What impact did the amendment to the act have on the compensation for recovery costs?
Compensation for recovery costs
Pursuant to the provisions of the Act on Payment Terms in Commercial Transactions, namely Art. 10 sec. 1, the creditor is entitled to a lump-sum compensation for collection costs in the amount of EUR 40 (this amount is converted into PLN according to the exchange rate of the National Bank of Poland on the last working day of the month preceding the month in which the cash benefit became due).
The creditor is entitled to a compensation from the debtor for the costs of recovery in the amount of EUR 40 (converted into PLN) from the date of acquiring the right to interest, but it is not necessary to call the debtor for repayment beforehand. This state of affairs does not raise any doubts, however, in a recent ruling of the Supreme Court, the court interpreted in detail the provision on awarding compensation for recovery costs.
The Supreme Court, while examining the case (file no. III CZP 94/15), issued a very important resolution of great importance to entrepreneurs. Pursuant to the above-mentioned resolution, the compensation for recovery costs in the amount of EUR 40, regulated in the act on payment deadlines in commercial transactions (Journal of Laws of 2013, item 403), is due to the creditor without the need to prove that these costs were incurred.
However, as emphasized by the Court, this provision of the act, which is quite rigorous in its effects, cannot be a tool for abuse of rights in the hands of creditors, as pursuant to Art. 5 of the Civil Code “You cannot make use of your right that would be contrary to the socio-economic purpose of this right or to the principles of social coexistence. Such an act or omission of the rightholder is not considered to be an exercise of the law and does not benefit from protection ”.
The Supreme Court emphasized in its resolution that the calculation of compensation of EUR 40 cannot be a practice contrary to good practice, so it should be assumed that although the claim for the said EUR 40 arises, as a rule, with the expiry of the payment terms specified in the contract, this does not happen. always and not unconditionally.
Several debtor's debts to one creditor
Another very important issue that should be taken into account is when the debtor has several debts to the creditor. In such a situation, the question arises how to charge costs?
Well, the literal wording of the article shows that the claim for the equivalent of EUR 40 is due for delays in payment in a commercial transaction. So in the literal sense, a claim of 40 euros should be linked to only one commercial transaction. The Supreme Court ruled on this issue, considering the case to be ambiguous. In the opinion of the Court, if the debts have different sources, it should be assumed that 40 euros can be added to each debt, and if several debts result from one legal relationship, creditors may claim from single invoices or treat the case as a whole.
To sum up, when calculating the amount of EUR 40, it should be remembered that such a lump sum for late payment cannot be calculated in isolation from the rules of social coexistence. However, in order to obtain it, the creditor does not have to prove that he incurred costs related to the recovery of receivables.