How do I stop intimidating people

How debt collection companies try to intimidate debtors

An invoice for 4.07 euros became one with 106.53 euros

A purchase made with a card in the supermarket for 4.07 euros grew to 106.53 euros within one month due to a debit note that was canceled. In the past, only the costs for the first dunning notice of 2.50 to 3 euros were due in such a case.

In the case of consumer advice in Dortmund, almost every second case in legal advice is a debt collection letter. "Debt collection has become a huge branch of the economy because companies immediately hand over the collection of their claims - especially for online contracts", says Annette von Hadel, lawyer at the consumer advice center in Dortmund.

Unauthorized threatening backdrop

The customer must bear the costs of a debt collection procedure.

However, much more is often charged than is incurred, says von Hadel's colleague Beate Krause. In addition, the payment deadlines were too tight. It is not uncommon for pressure to be exerted on the debtor with an illicit threat.

The defaulting payer will be visited with the “debt collection field service team”, it is said, for example, to seize valuables, hire a locksmith in an emergency and call the police if there is resistance. It is threatened with Schufa entries, attachment of accounts, criminal charges and lawsuits. “This is scare tactics. It affects people, ”says Beate Krause.

Pricing is not regulated

Registered debt collection companies are allowed to ask debtors to pay uncontested claims if they have the mandate. But how much they can charge for their work is not regulated by law. Only this much: The costs must not be higher than a lawyer could charge for this service under the Lawyers' Remuneration Act. In view of the simple mass collections, with a debt amount of up to 500 euros, this is a maximum of 27 euros, and not 71.20 euros, which debt collection companies often charge, says consumer lawyer Annette von Hadel.

Although the debt collection company is obliged to keep costs as low as possible, the claims include costs for address inquiries - four within a month - without the customer having moved. Beate Krause warns that consumers would also be pushed into installment payment agreements with pre-formulated letters, which often had disadvantageous regulations for them. These regulations should simply be crossed out in the form, she advises.

Annette von Hadel and Beate Krause are offering an open, free collection consultation hour on Thursday (October 4th), 10 am-1pm, in the Dortmund advice center, Reinoldistraße 7-9. They say: "Anyone can come with their debt collection letter."