Debt collection in Europe is different than the United States. Both the success rates and the average collected amounts are higher in Europe. Furthermore, it is common in Europe for attorneys to collect your debt prior to going to court. Bierens has a team of international in-house attorneys from over 20 different countries, who are specialized in collecting small or large past due accounts receivable in Europe. Under one roof, Bierens can provide fast and successful results anywhere in Europe.
Suggestions when your Swiss customer is not paying:
- Contact your debtor and ask why your invoice has not been paid yet;
- Send a reminder immediately;
- In your reminder, state a clear description of the invoice;
- Also in this reminder, state a period of payment of a specific number of days.
Knowledge of Local Legislation and Customs of Trade
Our German, Italian and French debt recovery lawyers have extensive experience and knowledge of legislation and regulations in Switzerland. In addition, they are fully aware of commercial traditions and culture. That makes it easier to get your Swiss debtor to pay quickly.
Debt Recovery in the German, Italian and French Language
Our lawyers speak both your language and German, Italian and French, which allows them to overcome language barriers with ease.
Customised Debt Recovery
Our commercial debt recovery approach is customised to each unique case, and we provide you with tailor-made advice.
We will always give our honest advice on the chances of success in your debt recovery matter. Putting your interests first is important to us; we endeavour to provide you with your options, as well as our advice on the best route to take. It’s easy to see how we put our core values of integrity and justice into practice.
The Debt Collection Process in Switzerland
The debt collection process in Switzerland can be divided into two stages. During the extrajudicial phase, collection takes place without Court intervention. During the judicial phase, we do involve the Court in order to make your Swiss debtor pay. Because we are a law firm, we can assist you during both stages. In Switzerland, most matters are resolved during the extrajudicial phase, without Court intervention.
1. Extrajudicial Debt Collection
In principle, we always start the debt collection process with the extrajudicial phase. At this stage, we try to prevent Court intervention, as this can be expensive. We will contact your Swiss debtor to demand payment. In specific cases, we will also engage in a face-to-face conversation with your Swiss debtor. If the debtor does not pay within a set period of time, we can commence legal proceedings on your instruction. Announcing legal proceedings often convinces your customer to pay.
2. Judicial Debt Collection
If your Swiss debtor refuses to pay during the extrajudicial phase, after discussion with you, we can go to Court in Switzerland. We will always provide you with information in advance regarding the likelihood of success in your debt recovery matter. We will also inform you in advance about the potential costs, and we only proceed with your permission.
European order for payment proceedings:
- In the event of an undisputed claim between two parties based in EU Member States (except Denmark), it is possible to commence European Order for Payment proceedings. The lawyer handling your case can assess whether this kind of procedure is suitable in your case.
- For European Order for Payment proceedings, the creditor usually completes a standard form and submits this to the Court. The Court then issues a European Order for Payment. The debtor then has 30 days to state whether they object to the claim. If there is no response within the 30-day period, you may ask the Court to make the order for payment final (called a “declaration of enforceability”). This is a valid and enforceable judgment which is accepted in any Member State (except Denmark). The European Order for Payment is never appropriate for disputed matters (so not in cases where there is an argument about the invoice). The advantage of this procedure are speed and low costs (some Member States don’t even charge a court fee), but the disadvantage is that if it becomes disputed, the procedure comes to an end and an ordinary civil procedure will have to be started if the creditor wants to continue.