Rules for debt collection service providers

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Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you have a debt collecting agency or do you perform debt collection work? If so, you are a debt collection service provider and you must keep to certain rules. This also applies to your employees.

What activities do the rules apply to?

These rules apply to extrajudicial debt collection activities. These are activities that do not involve a judge and where no coercive measures are used. Court bailiffs and collection lawyers must also comply with these rules if they carry out extrajudicial work. But they do not have to register as they are already registered with their respective professional organisations.

Quality requirements and rules of conduct

Debt collection service providers must meet the quality requirements and keep to the rules of conduct (in Dutch) for debt collection services, such as:

  • requirements for professional competence
  • how to draw up a claim
  • accessibility for and approach to the debtor
  • quality of administration
  • how you deal with complaints and disputes

Every employee of a debt collecting agency must have a Certificate of Conduct (VOG). This cannot be older than 3 months at the start of the work.

Training requirements for debt collection service providers

Managers of a debt collecting agency and self-employed independent debt collectors must complete a training of at least level 4 of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). Employees of debt collecting agencies must complete training of at least level 3 of the EQF.

Please note: existing debt collection service providers have until 1 April 2025 to meet the training requirements. For new debt collection service providers, the training requirement applies immediately.

Compulsory further training

As a manager, self-employed professional, or employee in debt collection services, you must participate annually in at least 1:

  • in-service training course to keep your knowledge and skills up to date
  • conference on the social standards for debt collection services

Register for debt collection services

You must register in the Register of debt collection services (in Dutch). To register (in Dutch) you need a KVK number and authentication key of at least level 3, for example eHerkenning level H3. If you cannot register online, you can complete the Dutch-language form and send it to Justis. The registration is valid for 1 year, so you need to re-register every year. Note that you have to pay fees for each registration for all debt collectors plus a fee for each manager. You also pay a fee for supervision and enforcement upon registration and re-registration.

All debt collecting agencies in the Netherlands are listed in the Register for Debt Collection Services. The register is public so anyone can check whether a debt collecting agency is registered.

Via this register Justis monitors debt collecting agencies and checks whether they comply with the rules.

Please note: existing debt collecting agencies must register before 1 April 2025.

Duty of care for debt collection service providers

As a debt collection service provider, you must ensure that all your debt collection employees and managers

  • are aware of the rules of conduct governing the performance of extrajudicial debt collection work
  • attend a meeting organised by you at least twice a year, where these rules are discussed

You must make sure all your employees can participate in these meetings so that they remain compliant.

Keeping records

You must keep records of each file. These records should include:

  • a record of all contacts you have had with the debtor
  • written proof from the debtor that you have responded to a dispute about the claim

You must keep these records for at least 2 years from the time a file is closed.

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Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO