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The debt collection process

Hidde Reitsma
Hidde Reitsma
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Debt recovery in The Netherlands

When you hand over your claim, the debt collection process usually starts with a summons. This summons offers the debtor one last chance to pay his invoice – with interest and costs –. A summons is also called a notification of default. Depending on the agreements between you and your customer, law firm AMS calculates the exact statutory interest owed or the statutory commercial interest, and the extrajudicial collection costs owed. If the debtor fails to pay his debt, there are several possibilities.

Interlocutory proceedings

Firstly, you can institute proceedings by having one of our attorneys issue a writ of summons. This can be for normal legal action (also called: action on the merits of the case) or interlocutory (or summary) proceedings (so-called debt collection interlocutory proceedings), at the Interlocutory Court. For debt collection interlocutory proceedings to succeed, the case should not be (too) complicated, which means that your claim should be relatively easy to prove.

Read more about litigation in The Netherlands.

Collecting a debt in The Netherlands

In many cases, a petition for bankruptcy of the debtor is filed. The underlying thought is that bankruptcy proceedings are quick and cheap, and that, if your debtor can pay, he will of course do so to prevent going bankrupt. However, the court will only declare bankruptcy if the hearing has clearly shown that your claim exists. Also, it has to be shown that your debtor has left at least one other debt (invoice) unpaid. Nevertheless, often a debtor will not take the chance and will not wait for a hearing.

Seizure by Dutch debt collection lawyers

If your claim is too complicated to file for bankruptcy, you can still have your debt collection attorney take legal measures to prevent you missing your chance for recovery. With the permission of the court, prejudgment seizure of all assets of your debtor (such as bank balances, rental income, inventory or a vehicle) is possible.

The costs of the debt collection shall be to the benefit of the collection attorney when the claim, including collection costs and interest, has been paid after (possibly repeated) summons. If a ruling is issued that includes granting collection costs, these shall be to your benefit and you will receive an invoice from our law firm for the time spent on your case. In case of legal action, we charge an hourly fee. Our debt collection attorneys offer competitive prices for your collection proceedings. Depending on the type of case and the number of debt collections, several price agreements can be made. The starting point is always to keep your costs as low as possible and to recover as many costs as we possibly can from the debtor.

Debt collection: Dutch law firms

If you have a debtor that doesn’t respond to your requests for payment, please be welcome to contact one of our debt collection lawyers in The Netherlands. We are prepared to advise you about the possible ways to collect your debts. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our law firm in Amsterdam.


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