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International sale of goods

SPAIN. Reduction of the limitation period for commercial credits.

It should be borne in mind that, as a result of a legal reform in Spain in 2015, the general limitation period for personal actions, including actions arising from the sale of goods, has been reduced from 15 to 5 years.

This is an extremely important change, as the limitation period for legal claims derived from the sale of goods has been considerably reduced.

It is very important to take into account the transitional regime of this reform, which means that actions derived from sales invoices issued between 07/10/2005 and 07/10/2015 had become time-barred last 07/10/2020, unless the prescription has been interrupted through the legally recognised channels.

Likewise, any purchase and sale invoices issued after 7 October 2015 will be subject to the statute of limitations after 5 years, unless special limitation periods apply, such as those relating to actions based on cheques or promissory notes, or limitation periods deriving from regional civil law if applicable to the contractual relationship.

In addition, invoices issued from 07/10/15 onwards should also be checked, as the five-year limitation period will gradually start to apply in the coming months.

The most frequent problems in the international sale of goods

The problems we face most frequently involving international sale of goods are the following:

1.    Claims for defects, usually unfounded.

2.    Statute of limitations.

3.    Failure to meet delivery dates.

4.     Damages resulting from goods sold.

Spain has ratified the Vienna Convention for the International Sale of Goods and Spanish Courts are progressively applying this treaty, which they tried to avoid some years ago.


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