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Old 29.10.2007, 14:12
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Debt collection agency?

Hello All,

We had a bill for some services from a large company which we had not paid when it was due. I'm not sure how overdue it was exactly, though I think its over 90 days.

We had not paid it immediately
a) due to cash flow and
b) since we were considering legal action against them due to misrepresentation of their services - we have since decided it just isn't worth the hassle on the latter.

Anyway, we have now received a letter from a company called Inkas which includes some additional costs including interest and 'verzugkosten gem. art. 106 OR', along with, for some unspecified reason, an additional CHF280 on top of the original bill, adding in total a further CHF800 to our original bill of ca CHF2900).

I'm guessing Inkas is a debt collection agency. My question to the Forum is: Are creditors not required to give notice to debtors that they risk additional penalties if they do not pay up? ie, should we not have received notice that we risked this if we didn't pay forthwith?.

Secondly, does anyone have any similar experience and suggestions on how one might proceed here? - I have searched the forum and note the following: we received a 1st and 2nd Mahnung, but not a 3rd.

We have actually since paid the initial bill, direct to the creditor, though not the additonal items....

Thanks for any advice....
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Old 29.10.2007, 14:23
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Re: Debt collection agency?

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I'm guessing Inkas is a debt collection agency. My question to the Forum is: Are creditors not required to give notice to debtors that they risk additional penalties if they do not pay up? ie, should we not have received notice that we risked this if we didn't pay forthwith?.

Secondly, does anyone have any similar experience and suggestions on how one might proceed here? - I have searched the forum and note the following: we received a 1st and 2nd Mahnung, but not a 3rd.
No, they aren't. The day after your bill expires they can file a collection procedure against you.

But I notice on the one hand you claim to not have received notice, on the other hand you say you received not one but two reminders.
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Old 29.10.2007, 14:33
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Re: Debt collection agency?

Hello Shorrick Mk2

What I said was are creditors not required to give notice to debtors that 'they risk additional penalties if they do not pay up' - this we certainly have not received. (I thought, since I am asking for advice, I should be clear with the whole scenario, not partial information).

So, as I understand, if I owe someone money and don't pay up on time, they can, without direct notification, set the dogs on me, as it were.

It's a bit different in the UK you see, where formal notification (eg red warning letters) is required before formal collection procedures are started.

Did you have any advice?
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Old 29.10.2007, 14:35
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Re: Debt collection agency?

Pay up. The charges do not seem outrageous and you were reminded. I don't believe someone send reminders without indication of consequences for not paying.

dave

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Hello Shorrick Mk2

What I said was are creditors not required to give notice to debtors that 'they risk additional penalties if they do not pay up' - this we certainly have not received. (I thought, since I am asking for advice, I should be clear with the whole scenario, not partial information).

So, as I understand, if I owe someone money and don't pay up on time, they can, without direct notification, set the dogs on me, as it were.

It's a bit different in the UK you see, where formal notification (eg red warning letters) is required before formal collection procedures are started.

Did you have any advice?
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Old 29.10.2007, 14:40
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Re: Debt collection agency?

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Hello Shorrick Mk2

What I said was are creditors not required to give notice to debtors that 'they risk additional penalties if they do not pay up' - this we certainly have not received. (I thought, since I am asking for advice, I should be clear with the whole scenario, not partial information).

So, as I understand, if I owe someone money and don't pay up on time, they can, without direct notification, set the dogs on me, as it were.

Correct. As soon as the bill is past due date, it is collectible - you are liable for any expenses pertaining to forced collection. Although, as Dave said, I highly doubt they did this without any sort of notification of possible extra fees.

The advice - pay up. If you have doubts on service misrepresentation, do not just refrain from paying, but send this in writing by registered mail to your counterparty.
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Old 29.10.2007, 14:55
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Re: Debt collection agency?

Dear Dave, Dear Shorrick,

As I said in my original post, I have paid up, the original sum owed, not the (IMHO) excessive additional charges.

I have now looked at a babelfish translation of the 2. Mahdung we received. It is as follows: "The time fixed for payment of the following calculations is exceeded. We expect your transfer in the next days. If this should not be possible, we ask to take up you immediately with our school line contact"

Now, forgive me, but I don't see here any even oblique notice that 'pay now or you will be liable for about another 30% on what you owe us'.

So, am I right that Inkas is a debt collection agency?
What happens now that I have paid the original bill but not the additional charges?

Your insights would be appreciated on whether it is, or is not, expected that a warning notice would be sent. Both your posts suggest that this is not required, but Dave's at least suggests this is standard practice....



Thanks
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Old 29.10.2007, 15:00
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Re: Debt collection agency?

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Now, forgive me, but I don't see here any even oblique notice that 'pay now or you will be liable for about another 30% on what you owe us'.
That is not required.

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So, am I right that Inkas is a debt collection agency?
What happens now that I have paid the original bill but not the additional charges?
You are right. Inkasso could start a debt collection procedure against you for their fee.

Quote:
Your insights would be appreciated on whether it is, or is not, expected that a warning notice would be sent. Both your posts suggest that this is not required, but Dave's at least suggests this is standard practice....
They won't necessarily send the kind of notice that you expect giving you a detailed break-down of the fees, mostly because those fees are collected either by the public collection office or by a collecting agency, so your creditor couldn't possibly tell you how much you face in collection fees.
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Old 29.10.2007, 17:16
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Re: Debt collection agency?

Hi Shorrick,

Thanks for covering while I was away, you have done a great job.

To the OP. If you have already paid the bill did you do this before or after the deadline set in the 2nd Mahnung? If before then you can write to the original company and state that you met their deadline and that they should withdraw their Inkasso process. If not then you need to write to the Inkasso company and state that you do not owe the original company any monies and that all bills are paid in full. Also be aware that this is a long process you are now in.

Any communication must be via registered post or Fax. It is good to try the fax numbers to see if they actually work.

It would be very clever for you to post a breakdown of the expenses they are claiming - for example you reference OR 106.

OR 106 Abs 1 along with OR Art 27 Abs 2 as well as SchKg Art 68 Abs 2 are common methods to increase the amount of the bill. These amounts should not be paid.

All that you need to pay to deal with the Inkasso company given that you have paid the outstanding amount is the interest ie the Verzugzinsen. This is necessary. You should transfer that amount and then via registered letter inform them that with this payment you have met the obligations of OR in full and should any additional amount be outstanding that the company should provide the evidence required as according to Swiss law.

If you do not do this and the case goes through a Betreibung ie you get a court notice then you cannot do this any longer and these costs become due...

Attached for the German speakers is a court decision to effect of the above for reference...

Questions?
Attached Files
File Type: zip 24+01+ZP+2+(a).zip (8.3 KB, 88 views)

Last edited by Richard; 26.11.2007 at 08:44.
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Old 29.10.2007, 20:13
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Re: Debt collection agency?

Dear Richard,

Your input is hugely appreciated. Thank you.

We have paid the full original bill owing, though after the deadline specified in the 2. Mahnung.

In terms of the amount Inkas is seeking from us, first off is (what I assume is supposed to be) the original bill - this however is listed as 'Forderung CHF3176.85' - the original reviously bill sent to us was CHF 2896.85. No explanation is provided as to how this increased by CHF280.00.

Then 'nebst Zins zu 7.00% CHF132.20'. I believe this is 7% interest? -though this is not 7% of either principal amount, as far as I can see.

Finally 'Verzugskosten gem. Art. 106 OR CHF368.00'

From your advice below, it seems I should pay to Inkas the nebst Zins zu 7.00% of CHF132.20 and inform them of this by fax or registered post? I shall do this tomorrow. I can however only write to them in English - any thoughts on whether this will cause me further problems?

We have not received a Betreibung, at least as far as I know.

Thanks very much again

Best regards

Ddejay
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Old 30.10.2007, 11:35
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Re: Debt collection agency?

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Dear Richard,

Your input is hugely appreciated. Thank you.

We have paid the full original bill owing, though after the deadline specified in the 2. Mahnung.

In terms of the amount Inkas is seeking from us, first off is (what I assume is supposed to be) the original bill - this however is listed as 'Forderung CHF3176.85' - the original reviously bill sent to us was CHF 2896.85. No explanation is provided as to how this increased by CHF280.00.

Then 'nebst Zins zu 7.00% CHF132.20'. I believe this is 7% interest? -though this is not 7% of either principal amount, as far as I can see.

Finally 'Verzugskosten gem. Art. 106 OR CHF368.00'

From your advice below, it seems I should pay to Inkas the nebst Zins zu 7.00% of CHF132.20 and inform them of this by fax or registered post? I shall do this tomorrow. I can however only write to them in English - any thoughts on whether this will cause me further problems?

We have not received a Betreibung, at least as far as I know.

Thanks very much again

Best regards

Ddejay
This is also interesting. In the situation of debt recovery, the interest is caclulated from the date you received the item until the date the interest is paid and at least last time I looked they cannot use any interest rate but must use the official interest rate which I think is 4%.
Given that you have a few days before you need to act, you should try posting the complete list of additions and I will identify the one you need to pay.

You will know if you receive a Betreibung - it must be physically given...
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Old 30.10.2007, 13:26
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Re: Debt collection agency?

Hello again Richard

The info I posted last night is all the breakdown we have regarding additions to the bill.

I'm not sure I have a few days before I need to act. The letter from Inkas requested payment within 8 days and was sent to us on 9 October.

We paid the original bill last week and I made the transfer to Inkas of this CHF132 today and have faxed them to advise them accordingly.

I am now off to post office to send by registered mail the same communication.

Still no Betreibung...

Thanks again for all your help
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Old 30.10.2007, 16:52
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Re: Debt collection agency?

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Hello again Richard

The info I posted last night is all the breakdown we have regarding additions to the bill.

I'm not sure I have a few days before I need to act. The letter from Inkas requested payment within 8 days and was sent to us on 9 October.

We paid the original bill last week and I made the transfer to Inkas of this CHF132 today and have faxed them to advise them accordingly.

I am now off to post office to send by registered mail the same communication.

Still no Betreibung...

Thanks again for all your help
With respect to the Betreibung you need to note the date you have made final settlement ie paid the debt.

With respect to the interest in order to calculate how much they owe you which they surely will, you need to provide dates and amounts. If the interest is charged at 7% then this is to pay only, note only, on the amount owed. However you will find that most of the Inkasso companies will add their "costs" to the amount and charge interest on that. Note also that they will entirely arbitarily increase basic amounts such as "Verzugsschaden" or div. Auslagen or Rechtskosten and so on. You probably had Verzugsschaden gem. Art. 106 OR which is not to be charged to the debtor... and so it goes on increasing the pressure on you to pay. That is if you like part of the game and it is entirely legal. Just they cannot force you to pay the amount.

So now you have paid them. I suggest you have some fun. Calculate exactly what you have paid and exactly what you should have paid. The difference you can send in a bill to the Inkasso company... They clearly will not pay but you can Betreiben the Inkasso company and make sure you keep all receipts for correspondence. And they will have very little in the way of defence if you go to through with a Betreibung. In other words they ask you to pay amounts that are not due, you pay them and then they are obliged to return the amounts that you have overpaid...

Oh I know you think I am joking. No I am not. I don't think in the first instance they will give up that easily so when the next letter comes you need to be prepared for an immediate response and in this case it is fight fire with fire.
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Old 30.10.2007, 17:06
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Re: Debt collection agency?

Perhaps I never actually explained this properly before so I will create a new thread to do it now. In this situation be aware they will return probably totally ignoring your mail and payment and request the additional amounts. If they do contact me and I will help you deal with them.

Richard
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Old 30.10.2007, 17:15
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Re: Debt collection agency?

By the way I think the standard moratory interest rate is five percent, not seven.
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Old 30.10.2007, 17:54
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By the way I think the standard moratory interest rate is five percent, not seven.
Unless agreed in the company T&Cs otherwise you are as always correct...
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Old 30.10.2007, 21:54
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Re: Debt collection agency?

Thanks again Richard

will let you know how we get on
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Old 27.12.2007, 12:10
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Re: Debt collection agency?

An update to this saga:

I followed Richard's advice (thanks again) and sent registered letters explaining what I had paid and why I felt that was all I should pay. i recalculated interest on 5% isntead of 7% and told them that I thought they owed me money.

They replied to my first letter with a payment slip, but my second has no response some 4 weeks later.

So... either a calm before the storm, or perhaps they've given up.

Anyway, really appreciate all your earlier advice....

Ddejay
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Old 27.12.2007, 22:42
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Re: Debt collection agency?

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We had not paid it immediately
a) due to cash flow and
b) since we were considering legal action against them due to misrepresentation of their services - we have since decided it just isn't worth the hassle on the latter.
Just a little side note here:

Usually, you have a limited number of days to make a written complaint after the invoice date has been set. This allows you time to review the invoice and make your claim back to the service provider. Since you "were considering legal action", then you should have communicated this with the company you owe.

Secondly, as a business owner, I am also human. If a customer has troubles paying, then they can contact me and work out a payment plan. If your cash flow was limited at that time it would have been only fair to the both parties involved to initiate communications and solve the payment situation before it rises to the bill collectors and legal matters and more unnecessary costs.

I, too, have a Swiss bill collection agency that works for me. When I receive an order, one of the first things I do is to check this person's credit rating. If the company replies (automatically online) with a lower score, the product or services are delivered with prepayment or COD. A good score deserves delivery per *payment slip.

*=up to a certain value.

What I am trying to say here, is that once you get your name on the black-list or have a bad credit score in Switzerland (private or business) then you have screwed yourself into years of:
1. No credit, anywhere.
2. Tax system aware of your status (they want their money too)
3. Delivery of goods and services only per prepayment
4. Possible court ordered debt collection direct from your paycheck

It is not fun, I have personally ensured that three people in Switzerland have gone from a green-light score to red-light score (not district). Due to fault, none other than their own. I have plenty of documentation to support my decision to go this route. Main reason is to collect on goods delivered on the basis of trust... which has been damaged (see Paypal=Fraud thread from earlier in 2007).

My suggestion; pay your bills. If you cannot pay, do not order. Private or business. Of course, businesses operate a little different than private, this is clear ... plan accordingly.

Just my 2cents!
HNY
Scott
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