04 Sep ERRONEOUS REPORTING AND CONFUSION BETWEEN A JUDICIAL OFFICER AND COLLECTIONS AGENCY
- On 18 January 2017, John Crombez, chairperson of SP.A, shared the Dutch article ‘Debtors cheated by collections agency BSR‘ on Facebook with the note: ‘… the bankrupt collections agency has cheated people out of thousands for years…’.
- 14 March 2017, an article appeared in the magazine Humo under the title: ‘An outstanding invoice is quickly becoming ten or twenty times more expensive in this country – all kinds of processing fees for judicial officers, lawyers, and collection agencies.’
This is only two examples of flawed articles appearing in the media in the past months. Unfortunately, confusion still continues about the difference between a judicial officer and a collections agency with respect to charging additional costs.
From a legal standpoint, a Belgian collections agency may charge consumers, in addition to the principal sum owed, only the interest incurred and ask for payment of costs that are listed in the general purchase terms and conditions of the creditor. Thus, processing costs or collections agency costs cannot be charged on to the consumer. However, this is not the case for a judicial officer, who can make such charges.