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Legal requirements for invoices and waybills

The enforceability of invoice copies

Act 19983 of 2004 (Article 5) set down several legal requirements for invoices and waybills to be legally enforceable if the debtor does not make payment.

The invoice copy will be enforceable (meaning it can be used for a quicker and more efficient court action) provided:

  • it has not been refuted, i.e., returned at the time of delivery, or its content has not been refuted by the return of the invoice to the issuer or a request for the issuance of a credit note, made by certified letter or other reliable means in the conventional period (no later than 30 calendar days after receipt) or legal period (8 calendar days after receipt);
  • payment is due and collection action has not prescribed (1 year after expiration of the invoice. If expirations are staggered, the statute of limitations will begin at each expiration);
  • the invoice indicates receipt of the merchandise delivered or service rendered, identifies the place and date of delivery or service and the person signing for delivery. The invoice copy will still be enforceable if there is no note on receipt of merchandise provided a copy of the waybill(s) is furnished in which receipt is indicated;
  • judicial notification has been given but no claim has been made that the invoice or waybill or the indication of receipt has been forged, that one or the other was not delivered or that the service was not provided; and further provided that if any such allegation has been made, it has been dismissed by a court decision.

The information that must be in invoices and waybills to establish a right of execution

As concerns numeral (iii) above, a recent ruling by the Concepcion Court of Appeals (October 19, 2016, Case 1150-2015) held that “when the merchandise sold is not indicated in the invoice, it must be indicated in the waybill associated with that invoice.  This is not true in this case as the entries in the waybills do not match the invoices to which the waybills are associated regarding which a right of execution is being petitioned.”

This means that the invoice cannot be collected by means of an enforcement proceeding.  This has also been confirmed by the Supreme Court (August 6, 2013, Case 9630-2012).

Therefore, in order to demand payment of an invoice, in addition to meeting the aforesaid requirements in Article 5:

  • The merchandise sold and satisfactory receipt thereof must be set down in the invoice, or
  • The respective waybill must be issued and must indicate the specific details of the merchandise sold. Satisfactory receipt must also be marked in the waybill.


Please contact Francisco Schenke at for further information on this subject.