Having drawn from the expertise of Atradius Collections' local offices, the International Debt Collections Handbook explains the different regulations for debt collections in the Netherlands.
Atradius Collections maintains a professional collection process, focusing on the relationships between our clients and their debtors at all times. Our team of collection specialists carry out the collection process in-house, contacting debtors both verbally and in writing whilst adhering to applicable laws. When there is a case of dispute, we may call on our experienced team of Dutch legal collectors, who each has a master’s degree in law, to help us. They mainly take a consultative role but may take over the case if the dispute is related to legal aspects. In the event that mediation by legal collectors might not lead to an agreement and legal proceedings are indicated, the file will always be dealt with by the Dutch legal team.
Atradius Collections always charges debtors with interest calculated at 12% per annum on a daily basis. This percentage is higher than the one embodied in the European Directive concerning legal business interest, but is in accordance with the clauses in the majority of purchase conditions and/or other business conditions. Interest will always be claimed in both the amicable and judicial phases.
In the Netherlands, it is common practice to receive interest on overdue invoices, and there are rarely discussions as to the liability of the debtor when paying interest. In court, interest payments are considered a justified demand in relation to overdue accounts. If the creditor is able to prove that the business or purchase conditions are applicable, interest can be charged at 12% per annum. In the event that no specific conditions were agreed, it is possible to request interest according to the European Directive, and in the Netherlands the so-called legal business interest rate, which is variable.
Debt collection costs
In the amicable phase, Atradius Collections is able to collect the client’s invoices and interest to a certain extent with collection costs. Debtors are charged an extra 15% in collection costs over the principal amount, and we are fully focused on collecting costs within the bounds of law and jurisprudence. From a legal point of view, the collection costs can only be recovered from the debtor on a scale related to the principal amount, which has been entrusted for collection. If it is successful in collecting the principal amount, it is possible to recover a certain amount of collection costs from the debtor through legal proceedings. The court uses a tariff table related to the legal proceedings in order to identify what amount of collection costs can be recovered from the debtor. It is a complicated issue in jurisprudence, and there is usually only a small amount granted, despite clauses in a written agreement and/or purchase conditions. In fact, the judge is free to condemn the debtor to pay collection costs as long as they are considered reasonable, but the granted costs are normally part of the provision agreed with the client.
In 2012, a bill was passed that sets out the levels of collection costs to be paid by private persons or consumer debtors who are in default. These specific legal collection costs are more or less aligned with the jurisprudence. It should be noted that the legal collection costs also apply in the business-to-business segment as long as the parties do not agree otherwise. Since legal proceedings concerning collection costs are time-consuming and costly for debtors and creditors, we are quite successful in reaching agreements with debtors with respect to collection costs.
The Debt Collections Handbook presents a snapshot of the Netherlands's economic situation and covers the following topics:
- Accepted and most common payment methods
- Types of companies
- Legal procedures & legal system
- Enforcement in debt, movable and immovable property
- Insolvency proceedings
To read more about steps and procedures undertaken in debt collections in the Netherlands: