Debt Collection in Switzerland

Debt collection in Switzerland? Do you have a Swiss debtor who has not paid your invoice? Hiring a debt collection agency in Switzerland may be the best solution for you. With a foreign customer you will be confronted with different rules and regulations, different business cultures and different languages than those you are used to. Switzerland also has a specific legislation on debt collection that differs from other European countries. This often makes debt collection in Switzerland a difficult process. Our native in-house lawyers have the knowledge, experience and resources to help you retrieve your Swiss debt.

Payment behaviour in Switzerland

The payment behaviour of Swiss companies is generally very good. On average, a quarter of all invoices are paid late. Within the region of Basel, more than half of invoices are not paid within the payment term, while in Appenzell Innerroden, invoices are usually paid within the agreed term.

Switzerland has large banking and insurance sectors with many international customers. These financial and insurance sectors are known for their fast payers. Companies in the hospitality, retail, and automotive sectors are considered the worst payers in Switzerland. Do you have a Swiss debt? As a debt collection agency in Switzerland we can help you.

Debt collection agency in Switzerland

The debt collection procedure in Switzerland differs from many other European countries. The Swiss legal system has a clear framework for the collection of claims. Information on debtors and their claims are listed in the 'Betreibungsregister'. This is a debt collection register in Switzerland. As a governmental institution, it registers all claims collected through the ’Betreibungsambt’. This debt collection register in Switzerland contains information on debtors including their previous debts, the amount of the claim, and its outcome. This information can also be viewed for closed cases.

Outstanding invoice from a customer in Switzerland?

limitation period
Outstanding invoices can be extremely complicated and take a lot of time and effort to retrieve. Curious to know what you can do yourself to collect your debt in Switzerland? Here are several tips from our international debt collection specialists:

  • Send a friendly reminder informing your customer of the unpaid invoice.
  • Call your customer and ask them why the invoice has not been paid. If you are unsure as to how you should call your debtor, then read our tips on calling debtors.
  • Send a clear demand letter in which you state that the customer is given a final opportunity to pay. Also indicate that a third party will be involved if the debtor refuses to comply.
  • Has the invoice still been left unpaid? Then transfer your case to our debt collection agency in Switzerland. You can easily transfer your case online via our website. As soon as we have received your claim, our debt collection specialists and Swiss lawyers will immediately get to work.

No Cure No Pay

International lawyer in your country

By contacting our debt collection agency in Switzerland, you will not have to travel to Switzerland, as you can simply contact our international debt collection specialists at Bierens. They have extensive knowledge and experience with the laws and regulations in Switzerland. More specifically, our international debt collection specialists and lawyers collect in the same native language as your debtor in German, French, or Italian. Since there are no language barriers, we can make your debtor pay quickly and collect your Swiss debt.

Viviënne Broeze | Bierens Incasso Advocaten

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Debt collection procedure in Switzerland

The debt collection procedure in Switzerland can be divided into two phases. In the extrajudicial phase, we collect without the intervention of the court, in the judicial phase we include the court to retrieve your Swiss debt. As a debt collection agency and law firm in Switzerland, we can assist you in both phases.

Extrajudicial debt collection in Switzerland

Prelegal debt collection
Our starting point is to always start the debt collection procedure in the extrajudicial phase, also known as out-of-court debt collection. In this phase, we try to prevent the intervention of the court. We will contact your debtor to make sure that your debtor pays. We do this by sending a payment reminder and by calling your debtor.

Feasibility study judicial debt collection

If your debtor refuses to pay during the extrajudicial phase, we can go to court in consultation with you. Before doing so, we will conduct a feasibility study in order to determine whether legal proceedings are beneficial for your organisation. We will always inform you of the possible costs and will only start legal proceedings after receiving your consent.

Judicial debt collection in Switzerland

Would you like to initiate legal proceedings against your Swiss debtor? Then our debt collection lawyers will first determine in which country litigation should take place and which law is applicable. Based on these factors, we will determine the most appropriate course of action while assuring you that the best debt collection specialist is assigned to your case.

Competent judge: litigating in Switzerland or in your own country?

The first question you should consider, is in which country should you litigate? Should you litigate in Switzerland or in your own country? This depends on the competent court, i.e. the court that is competent to judge your debt collection case.

In your general terms and conditions, you can agree upon 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 rule of thumb is that the court in the country of the defendant has jurisdiction. In this case the Swiss court. You will then have to follow legal proceedings in Switzerland.

Which law is applicable?

In addition, the rule of thumb is that the law of the country of the seller or service provider applies. In this case, the law according to your country is applicable. We then get this difficult situation where the Swiss court must judge the case based on the law according to your country. As this is a legal system the Swiss court is unfamiliar with, this is a complicated situation. Therefore, we advise making clear agreements on the applicable law in your general terms and conditions. You can also agree to litigate in your own country in the event of a conflict.

Initiating judicial debt collection in Switzerland

When we take legal action against your Swiss customer, there are several local debt collection procedures that we can deploy. Depending on your specific case, our debt collection lawyers will investigate which procedure is suitable for your debt collection case.

Requesting an extract

In Switzerland, we can request an extract from the 'Betreibungsregister'. This will allow us to see whether accelerated debt collection procedures (Betreibungen) have already been initiated against your debtor. Based on this, we will determine the most effective course of action to retrieve your unpaid invoice.

Accelerated debt collection procedure (Betreibungsbegehren)

If the extract shows that there are few or no proceedings against your Swiss debtor, we recommend initiating an accelerated debt collection procedure (Betreibungsbegehren). An order for payment is then sent to your Swiss debtor, who then has 10 days to respond by disputing the claim (Rechtsvorschlag) or 20 days to complete the payment.

What if there is no objection? Then the payment order can be enforced immediately. The payment can be retrieved from your Swiss debtor or your debtor can be filed for bankruptcy. The purpose of the bankruptcy petition is to pressurise your debtor so they pay the entire claim, including interest and costs.

If a debtor objects to an accelerated debt collection procedure, then the procedure is terminated. In that case, ordinary civil proceedings can be initiated instead.

Ordinary civil proceedings

The ordinary civil procedure can be used for disputed and undisputed claims. You will then have to present your case in the court in Switzerland (Friedensrichter), where a judgment will be made on the payment conflict. The disadvantage, however, is that this procedure is relatively expensive.

Debt collection procedure in Switzerland

  • Upload claim
    Upload your debt recovery case online
  • Start case
    We will process your case immediately
  • Send a demand letter
    We will immediately send a payment reminder to your debtor
  • How to approach debtor?
    Together we will determine our approach
  • Online portal 24/7
    View your case 24/7 through our online portal
  • Ask questions
    Questions? Your contact is always available to assist you
  • Get invoice paid
    Your unpaid invoice will be paid

Advantages of debt collection in Switzerland

  • Swiss debt collection lawyers in your country
  • Native German, French or Italian speaking lawyers
  • Highest success rates of 95%
  • Collection throughout Switzerland
  • Always a single point of contact
  • 24/7 online access to our portal
  • No Cure No Pay debt collection
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Our Swiss specialists

Do you have an outstanding invoice with a Swiss customer that has not been paid? Or do you have another conflict with your customer? Our Swiss debt collection specialists and lawyers will be happy to help you solve your payment conflict. Please feel free to contact us for more information. Do you no longer wish to wait for your payment? Then transfer your invoice immediately. Our specialists will then get straight to work.

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