Quality of debt-collection agencies to rise thanks to licensing system
In order to improve the quality of debt-collection services, debt-collection agencies will need a licence in future to be allowed to provide debt-collection services. These businesses will subsequently be included in a debt-collection register. This is set out in the legislative proposal submitted by Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker, which everyone can respond to as of today via www.internetconsultatie.nl. Drawing up rules for the debt-collection market forms part of the Coalition Agreement and the government's Action Plan for Tackling Debt Comprehensively (Actieplan Brede Schuldenaanpak).
Minister Dekker: 'Collecting debts should be done in a responsible and decent manner. Anyone who is owed money by someone else and who has the right to collect the debt should have options for ultimately doing so. Yet at the same time, people with debt should not be driven into even greater problems unnecessarily. This is why, in future, debt-collection agencies will need a licence to operate. This will allow us to sift out the good ones from the bad.'
In order to protect individuals with debts – who sometimes can be very vulnerable – from improper debt-collection practices, conducting debt-collection work will be subject to requirements, while adherence to these requirements will be subject to supervision. The creditors will also benefit from this, since they will no longer have to deal with poorly operating debt-collection agencies. Creditors, too, require good contact with the debt-collection service provider. This will give them a clear impression of the work being conducted on their behalf.
In order to be actively engaged in the debt-collection market, a licence will be required. Only agencies that meet requirements regarding professionalism, maintain a complaints procedure and provide clear information to creditors and to those in debt will be included in the register. This will apply to both debt-collection agencies operating on behalf of a creditor and professional buyers of unpaid bills if they subsequently want to collect these debts. The register will be public, and people will be able to consult it free of charge. This will allow everyone to see at a glance whether they are dealing with a debt-collection agency that meets the proper requirements.