Debt Collection in Thailand



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Enforcing Contracts


Debt Collection in Thailand can follow both the amicable and the legal avenues. But legal action in Thailand may take a few years to bring results especially in case of appeal. Thai law courts show an index of quality of the judicial process of 8.5/18 compared to OECD’s average of 11 (2017). Yet, contract enforcement is faster at 420 days compared to the average of OECD high income countries of 553 days (2017). Overall Thailand is performing very well. In the Doing Business 2018 report it ranks it 26 out of the 190 countries surveyed.


Pre-Legal Debt Collection in Thailand


Starting an out-of-court collection is always preferable since law courts may be slow to reach a judgment. Similarly to other countries, the first step to seriously consider is to find a solution in amicable terms rather than spending money and time in legal proceedings.


To estimate the convenience of legal action, a pre-legal collection helps assess the solvency and the debtor’s assets. Note that there’s no fixed statute of limitations or prescription period in Thailand. This may vary between 2 to 5 and 10 years. However, the country ranks well in recovery rate with 68.0 cents on the dollar against East Asia & Pacific’s average of 35.4.


Legal Action in Thailand


To take legal action in Thailand you should have gone through pre-legal attempts first. This is because Thai courts may likely invite the parties to find a solution via negotiation. If this is not possible or hasn’t produced the desired results filing a lawsuit gives your Thai debtor 15 days to defend.

When you litigate in Thailand you must provide a number of documents. First, your lawyer with a Power of Attorney as well as documents including:


  • Commercial Invoice
  • Purchase Order and/or Proforma
  • Delivery Receipts
  • Contract


As mentioned above, if the defendant appeals to a Court of First Instance judgment the legal proceedings may take much longer and last up to 5 years. It’s worth noting that Thailand’s legal system has not fully implemented an electronic management platform for filing commercial cases within the competent court and this causes delays in the process.


Why Recoupera


Debt collection in Thailand can be pursued only with highly specialised professionals with experience and expertise of the Thai commercial and legal system. Therefore do not rely on generalist lawyers. Recoupera connects you with world class debt collection professionals able to assist you in extra-judicial and legal proceedings not just in Thailand, but worldwide.


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Brief Introduction to Thailand’s Economy and Import Profile


According to The World Factbook, in 2016 Thailand ‘s economy generated a GDP of US $438bn. It also is one of the leading exporting, importing and manufacturing countries in South East Asia. The five main import partners and respective share of trade are China 21.6%, Japan 15.8%, US 6.2%, Malaysia 5.6% (2016). In 2017 it imported US $190bn.


Also, the World Bank reports that the Thailand’s Distance to Frontier (DTF) improved sensibly between 2017 and 2018, growing from 71.76 to 77.44. The DTF measures on a scale from 0 to 100 a country’s regulatory performance over time.


However, when it comes to border and documentary compliance to import it’s a bit behind higher income countries. For border compliance, time to import takes 50 hours against 8.7 in OECD high income countries. For cost to import the process costs US $233 against US $111.6. Instead, for documentary compliance, time to import takes 4 hours against 3.5. For cost to import the cost is US $43 compared to US $25.6.


How To Import Into Thailand


According to the Thai Customs Department, importers will have to submit the following documents if a shipment is red flagged:


  1. Import Declaration
  2. Bill of Lading (B/L) or Air Waybill
  3. Invoice
  4. Packing List
  5. Import License (if applicable)
  6. Certificates of Origin (if applicable)
  7. Other relevant documents such as catalogue, product ingredients, etc.


Clearance will be performed electronically on the e-Customs system which will also validate the documents pertaining the cargo and provide support for paying tariff and import duties. Finally, inspection and release of cargo.


Thai import customs procedure
Courtesy of


Finally, have a look at this useful page illustrating how to calculate the import duty in various scenarios.



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This article contains general legal information and material for informational purposes only which are not intended and should not be taken as legal advice. Recoupera is not a collection agency and it is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. All informational material provided may not reflect changes in the law. For legal advice, contact a lawyer.