Using a debt collection agency or bailiff

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Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Does a customer not pay or not pay on time, even after you have tried to get payment in various ways? You may need to use debt collection agencies and bailiffs. You can get legal assistance for this. If you are a creditor, you can also use a debt collecting solicitor.

Debt collecting agencies

If your customer does not pay, you can hire a debt collection agency. Debt collection agencies collect debts on behalf of a creditor. In doing so, debt collection agencies may not use any enforcement measures, like the seizure and sale of goods. They are only allowed to send 1 or more letters with a request for payment within 14 days.


If a debtor does not respond to the debt collecting agency, you may hire a bailiff. A (court) bailiff has a legal status and is permitted to use enforcement measures. For this, they usually must have a court order. They will first try to get the debtor to pay you or to agree on a payment plan.

Court order

You may need to start a legal procedure if your debtor does not pay or does not respond to the bailiff. The bailiff will then summon the debtor to court. The summons will state where and when the debtor must report for the court hearing.

After the judge’s ruling (judgment), the bailiff will make sure that the debtor receives the judge's ruling.


If the debtor does not respond to the judge's ruling, a bailiff may try to seize (part of) their income or goods. Seizure will only take place if nothing else works.

Attachments register

Court bailiffs must register every attachment of earnings order government authority order to a third party, for example an employer or a bank, to pay debt from earnings), garnishee order (a court order to a third party, for example an employer or a bank, to pay debt from earnings), or seizure they deliver in the central Digital Register of Attachments for Bailiffs. The purpose of this registration is to prevent unnecessary debt collection fees and to safeguard the protected earnings or seizure-free rate. The register is the responsibility of the Dutch Royal Professional Organisation of Judicial Officers (KBvG).

Court bailiff register

If you want to find out if a bailiff is legitimate or not, please consult KBvG's public Bailiff Register.

Debt collection agency register

Debt collection agencies in the Netherlands must be registered with Justis (in Dutch) to perform extrajudicial debt collection services. The purpose of this registration is to ensure an improvement in the quality of debt collection agencies and help reduce debt problems in the Netherlands. Do you want to know if a debt collecting agency is registered? You can check this in the debt collection agency register.

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Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO