26 Jun DEBTORS CHEATED BY COLLECTIONS AGENCY AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS COMPANY BSR
The bankrupt collections agency BSR has cheated thousands of debtors for years. The large collections agency with branches in The Hague and Rotterdam overcharged hundreds of thousands of euros.
This was revealed by an investigation by the Financial Supervision Office (FSR). People in debt had to pay spurious additional fees, for example, for garnishments. The collection agency collected premiums in arrears for healthcare insurers, outstanding accounts for mail order companies, and so on.
According to FSR, BSR used the misappropriated hundreds of thousands of euros to stay afloat. The company has a shortfall on the ‘clients’ account’ that ran into the millions. This account is supposed to contain the money that bailiffs collect on behalf of their clients and should always be available. BSR was declared bankrupt at the end of December. The company had more than 75 employees.
Yesterday, the Amsterdam disciplinary court handled the FSR complaint against BSR. Among other things, the appointed observer revealed that, since November, fraudulent costs were charged in the amount of 300,000 euros. The disciplinary court must decide what appropriate measures to take in this case against the bailiffs. Two bailiffs have already been suspended.
Director Marijke Kaptein of the FSR said she was shocked by the state of affairs at BSR. The company ran into problems some years ago after taking on a large contract with the collections agency Intrum Justitia. The return was too small in proportion to the incurred costs. At the request of FSR, BSR drew up a recovery plan. ‘It appeared to be sufficient until we discovered that the numbers submitted to us contained erroneous amounts’, said Kaptein. Further investigation showed that 1.6 million euro was missing from the clients’ account.
After the shortfall came to light, FSR asked the disciplinary court to suspend two of the BSR bailiffs. ‘In the three weeks between our discovery and the disciplinary court session, another 450,000 euros was taken from the clients’ account’, said Kaptein.
An acting director was appointed at BSR. They established that, in addition to the shortfalls in the client’s account, BSR bailiffs had fraudulently charged debtors at least 300,000 euros. Kaptein: ‘It involved amounts between 10 to 500 euros. But, each tenner that a bailiff fraudulently collects from a person with money problems is just one too many. This has everything to do with the integrity of the bailiff.’
According to the FSR director, this BSR affair is ‘unprecedented’. ‘You will see individual offences occurring every now and then. But, the combination of BSR offences and systematic delivery of incorrect information is really shocking.’
The disciplinary court will pronounce judgement on 7 March indicating what measures will be taken against the BSR bailiffs.