A debt collection agency collects debts on behalf of a creditor. If you do not pay, they can call in a bailiff who is legally allowed to do so. What can you do if you have to deal with this?

You will only have to deal with a debt collection agency if you do not pay an invoice after several reminders. Do you still not pay? Then the creditor can call in a bailiff. If you are dealing with a collection agency or bailiff, additional costs will be added to the original invoice.

What does a debt collection agency do?

A debt collection agency is a company that collects debts. This is done on behalf of a creditor. From now on the contact is via the debt collection agency. You no longer have direct contact with the creditor. The debt collection agency charges costs. These costs come on top of the existing debt. Not paying an invoice will cost you a lot of money.

Movie: Debt collection? Pay, but only if it is correct (ConsuWijzer.nl)

€ 6,775

is the maximum amount you can pay for collection costs


What does a bailiff do?

A bailiff can also collect debts for a creditor. A bailiff can go further than a collection agency. He can for example:

  • issue a summons;
  • seize such boedel- bank or wage garnishment ;
  • clear a house.

There is a difference between a collection agency and a bailiff. A collection agency has no legal status. For example, it can not confiscate your belongings, bank account or wages. A bailiff can do this. Do you not respond to letters from a debt collection agency? Then the creditor will eventually call in a bailiff to force you to pay.

What can you do if you receive a letter?

It is wise to respond to a letter from a collection agency or bailiff. Do you disagree with the bill? Let us know as soon as possible. For example because you have already paid the bill. Or maybe you never ordered anything from the creditor. In other cases, contact the debt collection agency or bailiff to arrange a payment arrangement.

On the Nibud website zelfjeschuldenregelen.nl you can read more about what you can do in case of payment arrears. You can also find sample letters that you can use to make a payment proposal.

Make a payment proposal to your creditors


If a collection agency or bailiff is called in, this will cost you money. There is a maximum rate for the collection costs you have to pay. This only applies to the receivables that became due on or after 1 July 2012. Before you have to pay collection costs, the creditor must first have sent a reminder. This reminder must have a payment term of at least 14 days.

This reminder must state:

  • what the consequences are if you do not pay on time;
  • how much you have to pay;
  • how high is the possible VAT calculated on the collection costs.

Do you not pay this reminder on time? Then collection costs may be calculated. It may be that the collection costs are mentioned differently. For example, administration costs, cancellation costs, office costs, upkeep costs or extrajudicial costs. It does not matter how the costs are mentioned. It also does not matter who calculates the costs: the total amount may not exceed the maximum rate.

Tip: Calculate your collection costs and interest with the Calculation Tool for Collection Costs of ConsuWijzer.nl.

In the table below you can also see what percentage the collection costs may be.

* Sometimes increased with VAT
Principal amount Height collection costs *
About the first € 2500 15% (minimum € 40)
About the next € 2500 10%
About the next € 5000 5%
About the next € 190,000 1%
About the multiple 0.5% (maximum total € 6775)

Charges bailiff

If a bailiff submits a summons, he also charges other costs in addition to collection costs. The administrative costs are fixed for the bailiff. Official costs are the costs for issuing subpoenas, seizure, and the like. The bailiff can set his own rates for non-official activities (such as collecting debts).

  • You can find the official costs on the website of the Royal Professional Association of Court Bailiffs

Tip : Calculating the batter-free foot is not easy. With the tool uwbeslagvrijevoet.nl (Rijksoverheid.nl) you get insight into how it is calculated. See also the video explaining what the seizure-free foot is.