Debt Collection Netherlands
Does your company have to deal with a debt collection case in the Netherlands because a Dutch customer has not paid your invoice? Our Dutch debt collection specialist and lawyers will be happy to help you. We ensure that your outstanding invoices are paid quickly. Read here what we can do for you when you want to engage with a collection agency and recover debt from the Netherlands.
"In the Netherlands we have strong collection resources. For example, we can use the bankruptcy petition to get Dutch debtors to pay quickly. As the largest business collection company in the Netherlands, we are the ideal party for your collections in the Netherlands".
International debt collection in the Netherlands
When doing business with a Dutch trading partner you are confronted with different trading traditions and customs than those you are used to. Moreover, legislation differs in the Netherlands than in your country. In addition, language and culture are barriers as well.
All the above often makes debt collection in the Netherlands to be complicated and time-consuming. That is why you should call in our Dutch specialists. They have the means to get your debtor to pay.
Payment behaviour of Dutch companies
- Statutory term of payment of invoices is 30 days
- Dutch companies are among the better payers in Europe
- Invoices are paid within 40 days
- A payment term of 14 days is customary in the case of reminders
Debt collection in the Netherlands
Dutch companies are among the better payers in Europe. Over the years, their payment behaviour has only continued to improve. On average, invoices are paid within 40 days. Nevertheless, approximately 1/3rd of business invoices are not paid on time. Small businesses in particular, are severely affected by this. As a result, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has launched an initiative (Betaalme.nu) in order to improve payments to small businesses. Several large Dutch multinationals have joined this initiative, whereby they have agreed to pay smaller suppliers within 30 days.
Advantages of debt collection in the Netherlands
- Dutch collection lawyers in your country
- Dutch speaking lawyers
- Highest success rates
- Collection throughout the Netherlands
- Always a single point of contact
- 24/7 online access to our portal
- No Cure No Pay debt collection
Dutch lawyer in your country
It is best to contact a Dutch lawyer or collection specialist to collect your invoice against a Dutch debtor. You don't have to go to the Netherlands, you can simply contact our specialists at Bierens. They have extensive knowledge and experience with the laws and regulations in the Netherlands. It goes without saying that they collect in Dutch, their native language. This way we can make your debtor pay quickly.
Debt collection procedure in the Netherlands
The debt collection process in the Netherlands can be divided into two phases. In the extrajudicial phase we collect without the intervention of the court, in the judicial phase we do involve the court to get your Dutch customer to pay. Because we are a law firm, we can assist you in both phases.
Our starting point is to always start the collection procedure in the extrajudicial phase. In this phase we try to avoid the intervention of the court. We contact your Dutch debtor to ensure that your debtor still pays. In the extrajudicial phase we have the following possibilities in the Netherlands:
Written demand letters and phone calls
We call your debtor and we send a written reminder asking the debtor to pay. Your debtor will then have several days to make a payment. In certain cases, we may also talk to your debtor face to face.
Announcing legal proceedings
The best way to pressurise your Dutch debtor to pay, is to announce legal proceedings. In most cases, the announcement will persuade your debtor to make the payment. It is therefore advisable to engage with a debt collection lawyer who can announce such proceedings on your behalf. This will prevent the collection process from taking longer than necessary.
If your debtor refuses to pay in the extrajudicial phase, we can go to court in consultation with you. We will perform a credit check and analyse your debtor's financial situation. This enables us to better assess your debtor's finances and determine whether legal proceedings are worthwhile. In addition, we will always let you know in advance what the possible costs are, and we will only start working after receiving your permission.
Would you like to start legal collection proceedings against your Dutch debtor? If so, the first question is in which country should you take legal action: in your country or in the Netherlands? This depends on the competent court, i.e. the court that is competent to rule on your debt collection case.
In your general terms and conditions, you can make agreements about the competent court in the event of a (payment) conflict. This is also called a choice of forum. Have no agreements been made? Then the main rule is that the court in the country of the defendant has jurisdiction. In this case the Dutch court. You then must go to the Netherlands to follow legal proceedings there.
Furthermore, the main rule is that the law of the country of the seller or service provider applies. In this case, your country law applies. We then get this difficult situation where the Dutch judge must judge the case based on your country's law. A legal system he is unfamiliar with. This is not a desirable situation, which is why our advice is to make agreements about this in your general terms and conditions. In addition, you can also agree that you can litigate in your own country, should a conflict arise.
Debt collection laws in the Netherlands
When we take legal action against your Dutch customer, there are several Dutch collection laws that we can implement. The best applicable procedure differs per situation. Our lawyers always look for the best option depending on your debt collection case.
The Dutch legal system is focused on protecting creditors. That is why inexpensive and efficient debt collection procedures can be used to get your debtor to pay quickly. Our debt collection lawyers know perfectly well which collection procedures will help you retrieve what you are entitled to.
Bankruptcy proceedings (applying for bankruptcy)
During bankruptcy proceedings, you request to file for bankruptcy of your Dutch debtor. The aim is not to get your debtor to go bankrupt, but to pressurise your debtor to pay. As many companies do not want to be declared bankrupt, they will be more likely to pay. This procedure is a very effective method of debt collection. In addition, this procedure is relatively cheap. In most cases a hearing takes place within 3 weeks, during which the court will make a ruling. Bankruptcy proceedings can be started if there is an undisputed claim.
Ordinary civil proceedings
In the case of both disputed and undisputed claims, our Dutch lawyers can start ordinary civil proceedings, also known as proceedings on the merits. A lawsuit is filed against the debtor. The court can then order the debtor to pay the claim. In these proceedings, evidence can be provided in a variety of different ways. In most cases, the judge will try to have the parties reach a settlement amongst each other. The disadvantage is that it is a lengthy procedure. A simple ordinary civil procedure in the Netherlands may on average take between six to twelve months. When it is a complicated case, an ordinary civil proceeding can take even longer, with a duration of one to two years. After that, an appeal can be lodged, which again extends the case.
Debt collection proceedings
Debt collection proceedings are an effective way to quickly collect outstanding invoices in the Dutch court. The processing period of these proceedings is a lot shorter than in other proceedings. In most cases the court will make a verdict within 2 weeks, after which this verdict can be enforced immediately. Debt collection proceedings are particularly suitable for the collection of simple claims.
Seizure of assets
If a Dutch client does not pay, our lawyers can seize your debtor's assets. Your client will then no longer be able to access their assets. This prevents your client from spending their money or selling their goods so that there is nothing left for you to collect.
International collection laws
In addition to Dutch collection laws, there are also a few European measures that can be used if your Dutch customer refuses to pay. It is important for the European Union that trade between European countries is stimulated. Therefore, complicated procedures are unwanted. That is why, in addition to the normal procedures, there are two alternative procedures that can be used for foreign claims between two EU countries: the European Payment Order Procedure and the Small Claims Procedure.
Both procedures are relatively fast and cheap. A standard form must be filled in, which is then sent to the competent court. If you have not agreed on anything, this is usually the court in the defendants’ country. The court then deals with the collection case and makes a judgement.
The small claims procedure is only suitable for small claims up to €5,000. The European Payment Order only applies to undisputed claims. Although it is a simple procedure, it is not used very often against Dutch debtors. The Dutch bankruptcy petition is much more effective and faster in order to get your debtor to pay.
Litigation in your own country
Have you agreed in the general terms and conditions that the court in your country has jurisdiction? Then legal proceedings can also be started in your country. Depending on your specific situation, our lawyers will look at what is most beneficial for your organisation. If we start legal proceedings in your country against your Dutch debtor, we can start ordinary civil proceedings. Both parties will be heard, after which the court will make a judgment.
If a verdict has been obtained in your country against a Dutch debtor, it has yet to be executed in the Netherlands. Within the EU, it has been established that all verdicts obtained in the EU member states are also recognised in other EU countries. For the execution of a Dutch judgment in the Netherlands, the Dutch court issues a certificate. This is then sent to the bailiff in the Netherlands together with the judgment. The bailiff can then set to work immediately to ensure that the judgment is executed in the Netherlands.
An outstanding invoice cannot be collected for an unlimited period of time. An invoice can become time barred. Once the statute of limitations for your invoice has expired, you can no longer enforce payment of your invoice through the courts. It is therefore important to keep a close eye on this limitation period.
A statutory limitation period of 5 years applies to business claims. This period starts when the claim is due and payable. This is the due date of the invoice. If the payment term of an invoice is 30 days, the limitation period of 5 years applies after those 30 days have passed.
Suppose you deliver a batch of clothing to a customer. On 1st April 2017, you send the corresponding invoice, with a payment term of 30 days. However, your customer has not paid. The due date of the invoice is 1st May 2017. From this moment onwards, the limitation period of 5 years applies. On 1st May 2022, your invoice will become time barred.
Exceptions to the limitation period
The limitation period of 5 years applies to normal claims. Please note that the limitation period is different for some claims. For example, transport law throughout Europe has a limitation period of 1 year.
Preventing the statute of limitations for your Dutch invoice
You can avoid the limitation of your invoice by interrupting the prescription period. By interrupting the statute of limitations, the limitation period is halted. In the Netherlands there are three ways to interrupt the statute of limitations:
- Recognition by the debtor: The debtor confirms that there is an obligation to pay. For example, because the debtor has already paid one instalment or makes a payment proposal.
- Initiating legal proceedings: for example, by filing a writ of summons.
- Sending an interruption letter: This is a written summons to let your customer know that you still want payment of your claim. It is important that the interruption letter meets certain requirements. If this is not the case, you risk that there is no interruption, meaning that the invoice will simply expire.
It is therefore most profitable to send the interruption letter at the end of the payment term. Make sure to do this on time, before the statute of limitations expires. Otherwise, you risk your invoice becoming time barred and you will no longer be able to legally collect it.
Legal areas for debt collection in the Netherlands
Our Dutch debt collection agency has been active for several years. During this time, we have helped many companies all over the world with their debt collection business in the Netherlands and abroad, as well as all kinds of debt collection cases in various jurisdictions:
- Buying and Selling
- Construction law
- Rental and leasing
- Agency and distribution agreement
- Damages and unlawful acts
“Bierens is a highly effective and professional partner. Not only do they have a good debt collection procedure, they also give solid advice.”
Manuel Maas, Eneco
Is your debtor located in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Utrecht? For our specialists it does not matter where your customer is located. We can assist you throughout the Netherlands. For the successful collection of your case, you do not need to call in a debt collection agency or lawyer in the Netherlands. You can simply transfer your case online. Our Dutch specialists will then get straight to work.
We offer more than a collection agency
If you are currently looking for a collection agency, know that you would be better off with a collection lawyer. Our Dutch debt collection lawyers have more resources than a debt collection agency. Moreover, they work faster and are also more successful. The speed and efficiency of our services can only be beneficial for your organisation, as they will retrive your payment as soon as possible.
No Win No Fee debt collection
During the extrajudicial phase, we work based on the No Win, No Fee principle. If we do not collect, then you pay no legal fee. You only pay €150 for administrative costs. After all, an unpaid invoice causes enough frustration. We think it would be unfair if you were to be faced with all sorts of additional fees.
You only pay a fee if we can collect the claim. We try to recover this fee from the debtor as much as possible. Therefore, a successful collection case will cost you almost nothing. That is what we call justice, as you will receive what you are entitled to.
If the collection is successful, we try to recover the collection costs from the debtor as much as possible. In that case, your Dutch customer will pay the outstanding invoice and the collection costs. This way, you will pay little to no collection fees to our organisation.
Do you have an outstanding invoice with a Dutch customer? Or do you have another conflict with your client? Our collection specialists and lawyers will be happy to help you solve your payment conflict. Please feel free to contact us for more information. Are you tired of waiting for your payment? Then hand over your invoice immediately. Our specialists will then get straight to work for you.