Expiration of debt

The liability to pay a debt ceases when the debt expires

In terms of expiration debts are categorised into two types with different expiration periods:

  • Debts collected by businesses from consumers under private law. Debts are generally under private law unless special legislation provides otherwise
  • Debts collected by public corporations under public law

When a debt has expired:

  • the debtor's liability to pay the debt ceases
  • with consumer debt (credits, bills) the debtor is entitled to a refund of any payment made without knowing that the debt has expired. The consumer is entitled to a refund with penalty interest
  • expiration of debt does not prevent the creditor from collecting their dues from the debtor's property that has been put up as collateral and to which the debtor has right of lien or retention
  • despite expiration of the debt the creditor may still collect their dues from property that has been foreclosed before the date of debt expiration (e.g. forcible sale of real estate)

If a consumer fails to reach an agreement with a debtor regarding payment of an expired debt, the consumer should first pay and then bring the matter to the Consumer Dispute Board.

Debt information may be requested free of charge

You may request information regarding your debt from the creditor. The debtor is entitled to receive the following free of charge:

  • up-to-date information on the bases and total amounts of debt
  • an itemised list of unpaid debts and instalments on them
  • principles concerning interest on debt capital and costs

The information provided by the creditor must also include information on the possible expiration of debts and, if applicable, grounds for debt recovery and dates related to debt recovery proceedings

Assistance is available for dealing with debt

You may seek assistance for dealing with debt difficulties from your local financial and debt advisory services. These services are free of charge to customers.
Financial and debt advisors

Updated 7.11.2014 Print