The inflation rate is elevated. Electricity, gas, fuel and groceries cost significantly more. Anyone who has always had to make tight financial calculations could have problems paying bills in the coming months.

Especially in times of crisis, debt collection agencies come into play to collect the money. As Statista shows, there was a large increase in offices in Germany to over 1,000 companies, especially after the 2008 financial crisis. In 2020, however, there were only around 767 debt collection agencies.

If you are dealing with it involuntarily, then the letters often contain tough demands and tight deadlines. The collection check of the consumer advice center (more information on CHIP) would like to help you to keep calm and to know your rights better.

Once you have called up the page, you can start the debt collection check directly and work your way through the various questions. Answer these one by one to get a qualified statement about your case. For example, there are good reasons not to pay an invoice, such as:

Depending on the result, you will also receive a suitable sample letter to download at the end of the check, which you can use to quickly contact the collection agency. Please check this text again so that it applies to your individual case.

You can defend yourself so effectively, especially in the case of unjustified claims, because sometimes there are also rip-off letters that are aimed at the gullibility of the recipient.

Please note: The application can only help you if the claim is not older than three years and has not yet been brought to court. If you are already in the court dunning procedure and have received a dunning notice or even an enforcement notice, it is better to seek advice directly from the consumer advice center.

It is important for you that debt collection agencies have no other rights to claim the money than the creditor himself. However, since these companies want to earn money through the service, reminder fees are added.

Fortunately, these have been capped somewhat since October 2021. This means that companies cannot suddenly shell out sums of over 70 euros for small open amounts such as 50 euros, but only a maximum of 32.40 euros. At 500 euros, it can still be just under 53 euros.