Complaining about an invoice or debt collection

You can complain to the creditor or the debt collection agency about unclear or unfounded invoices as well as unnecessary or unreasonable debt collection costs. You can also claim compensation for financial losses caused by an unjustified invoice or debt collection.

File a written complaint about an unfounded claim

If you think a creditor or collection agency is trying to collect a debt that is unjustified, you can file a written complaint with them about unclear or unfounded debts.

You may demand that

  • unfounded invoicing or debt collection is ceased
  • the amount charged without justification is refunded
  • financial losses caused by unfounded billing or debt collection are reimbursed. For example, you may demand that
    • your costs for investigating an incomplete, unclear or unjustified claim are reimbursed, including telephone costs and postage
    • financial losses directly caused by incorrect debt collection are reimbursed. These financial losses include legal costs in the District Court if the collection agency has not sent you a written payment demand before summoning you to court.

Recovery costs may not be unreasonable or unnecessary

As a debtor, you must pay the creditor’s reasonable debt collection costs. Read more about the maximum amounts of recovery costs

You may demand that unreasonable or unnecessary recovery costs are reimbursed to you.

According to good debt collection practices, unnecessary debt collection measures include

  • sending the debtor too many debt collection letters and thus extending the process of collection by letters unnecessarily
    • For example, there must be a special reason relating to the recovery process, which must be explained in the payment demand, if more than two payment demands are sent out.
  • continuing to send out collection letters without examining the consumer’s justified arguments concerning the grounds of the debt or the appropriateness of recovery
  • a payment plan which is created by the creditor or the collection agency if it has been produced without sufficiently ensuring that the debtor will be able to manage it.

Exerting pressure or issuing threats is not allowed in debt collection

Debt collection must be businesslike. Debt collection must not cause unnecessary inconvenience or endanger your privacy. Inappropriate threats are not allowed in debt collection.

For example, the following are prohibited

  • threatening to tell the debtor’s family members, employer or other outsiders about the payment difficulties
  • in letter collection, using envelopes which clearly indicate that they contain a collection letter
  • making visits or telephone calls to collect a debt between 8 pm and 7 am or on public holidays
  • combining sales promotion with debt collection, exploiting the debtor’s difficult position
  • giving incorrect information about the consequences of not paying, for example by stating in a collection letter that “if you do not pay by the due date, you will have a bad credit record”.

If a creditor or a collection agency knowingly violates good debt collection practices or is grossly negligent when collecting a debt, you can make a report of an offence to the police.

Challenging the matter  

  • If you would like to challenge the matter, you can file a complaint using the templates.

  • If you do not receive a reply or you cannot resolve the problem with the creditor or the debt collection agency, you can take the matter to the Consumer Disputes Board or the District Court. Please note that court proceeding involves a cost risk

    The Consumer Advisory Services can offer personal advice, instructions and help with mediation.

    Consumer Advisory Services

Read more