Many entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with the possibilities offered by the decision on reimbursement of extrajudicial collection costs. This is unfortunate, because it offers entrepreneurs opportunities to be reimbursed for costs in the event of a collection (for example, to hire a lawyer). Debt collection lawyer Daan Holtus explains this issue on the basis of a recent decision of the District Court of the Northern Netherlands [hyperlink].

What are extrajudicial collection costs?

Extrajudicial collection costs are costs that the entrepreneur may also claim in addition to his original claim. These costs are also referred to as ‘demand costs’ and are based on the law (6:96 paragraph 2 BW). With these costs, the entrepreneur who wishes to proceed for collection can cover other costs (for example, to hire a litigator).

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Calculation of extrajudicial collection costs based on scale

Pursuant to Article 6:96 paragraph 2 under c of the Dutch Civil Code, the extrajudicial collection costs can be reimbursed in legal proceedings. The legislator has calculated these extrajudicial costs on the basis of an increasing graduated scale. This graduated scale is laid down in the decision on compensation for extrajudicial collection costs. On the basis of a number of examples, we show which costs the entrepreneur can claim as well:

  • Example 1 – ‘in the event of a claim of EU 10,000 on a consumer due on 1st October, an entrepreneur is entitled to 11,074.09 in extrajudicial collection costs’;
  • Example 2 ‘- ‘with a claim of EU 20,000 on a company due on 1st October, an entrepreneur is entitled to 21,097.74 in extrajudicial collection costs’.

Parties can agree on different compensation

Companies can mutually agree on a higher compensation than the statutory graduated scale. With regard to consumers, it is impossible to deviate. On this basis, even a stipulation in general terms and conditions in which a higher compensation is agreed is voidable. A lower fee may be negotiated.

Payable extrajudicial collection costs for consumers

If the debtor is a company, extrajudicial collection costs can be charged from the moment the claim(s) become due and payable. Based on the examples, we saw that this could already add up considerably.

In the case of consumers, the entrepreneur must first demand that the extrajudicial collection costs be claimed. The notice must contain the following content:

  • the amount of the outstanding claim(s);
  • a term of fourteen days in which to proceed with payment;
  • the exact amount of the extrajudicial collection costs that become due if payment is not made within the specified period.
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(No) entitlement to reimbursement of the extrajudicial collection costs?

From the aforementioned judgment of the District Court of the Northern Netherlands , the defendant contested the amount of the collection costs. According to the defendant, no extrajudicial collection activities had been carried out. The Northern Netherlands District Court agreed and rejected the claim. The court also made clear what must be met in the context of a claim for reimbursement of the collection costs:

  1. the claimant must demonstrate that the claim in principal (plus interest) consists of (summons); and
  2. The claimant must provide sufficient evidence and substantiate which extrajudicial collection activities have actually been performed.

Contact

Do you have questions about claiming extrajudicial collection costs in legal proceedings or do you want to demand payment of your debt from your debtor? Please contact debt collection lawyer Daan Holtus daan.holtus@viottalaw.com | +31 20 24 80 604.

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VIOTTA is a law firm based in Amsterdam, specialising in providing advice in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, contract law and corporate & commercial dispute resolution. We advise in transactional matters and litigate in commercial disputes. VIOTTA provides legal advice to its clients on Dutch corporate law matters, such as corporate governance, board structures, directors’ duties and liabilities, joint ventures and other collaborations. VIOTTA advises purchasers, sellers, management and other stakeholders in domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

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