Take action before September 1, 2023

From that date, the legislation applies to new agreements or new debts. From December 1, 2023, the legislation applies to all unpaid debts.

Is your business ready to comply with the new legislation regarding the collection of consumer debts? Our law firm is ready to assist you in understanding and complying with the regulations.

Through the product below, we adjust your terms at a very reasonable price, so you can be assured that you are in compliance with the regulations:

General Terms and Conditions Adjustment for Enterprises to Consumer Debt Law


Below are the key points from this legislation.

The first payment reminder is always free

In the first reminder, it must always be indicated whether additional costs may be charged for late payment, and certain other mandatory information must be included.

After sending the first payment reminder, the company must respect a waiting period of 14 calendar days before additional costs or interests may be requested. This means that as a business owner, you are obliged to send a first reminder that only mentions the outstanding principal amount. Only after sending this first reminder and respecting a waiting period of 14 calendar days can you demand interest and damages, in addition to the principal amount.

For the costs of an additional reminder, a maximum of €7.50 may be charged.

Limitation of penalty clauses

The due damages must be expressly determined before the conclusion of the agreement between the business and the consumer, and their extent is legally limited. The maximum allowed amounts are as follows:

  • Debts under €150.00: maximum €20.00.
  • Debts between €150.01 and €500.00: maximum €30.00 plus 10% of the amount above €150.00.
  • Debts over €500.01: maximum €65.00 plus 5% of the amount above €500.00, with a maximum of €2,000.00.

Penalty clauses containing amounts that do not correspond to the above limits are prohibited and considered invalid.

The consequences are very significant if you do not adjust your general terms and conditions or agreements.

Limitation of interest

Contractually agreed default interest is also limited. It cannot exceed the legal interest rate determined in the law of August 2, 2002, regarding the late payment of commercial transactions. Currently, this interest rate is 10.5%.

Mandatory mentions in your first reminder

In the first reminder, as prescribed by the legislation, there are some mandatory mentions that must be included. These mentions are essential to ensure transparency and clarity for the consumer. The following information must be included:

  1. The outstanding balance and the amount of the penalty clause that will be claimed in case of non-payment within the fourteen calendar days. This informs the consumer of the exact amount owed and the amount that will be claimed if not paid within the specified period.
  2. The name or designation, and the business number of the company that is the creditor. This ensures that the consumer clearly knows which company is claiming the debt and facilitates identification and communication.
  3. A description of the product that gave rise to the debt, as well as the due date of this debt. This gives the consumer insight into which product or service led to the incurred debt. In addition, the due date is mentioned so that the consumer knows from which date the payment must be made.
  4. The period within which the debt must be repaid before any costs, interests, or fees are claimed. This is crucial information to inform the consumer about the specific period within which the payment must be made to avoid extra costs, interest, or fees.

Severe penalties for non-compliance

There are severe penalties associated with non-compliance with the legislation.

If a payment is contrary to the above provisions, the court may order that this payment be considered valid as if the consumer had paid directly to the creditor. The amount received in violation of the law must then be repaid to the consumer by the one who received the payment.

In other words, if your general terms and conditions are not adjusted and a consumer pays your invoice, they could demand reimbursement from you. This is very far-reaching. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that you have your agreements and terms adjusted.

No collection possible

If, as a business, you have not complied with the above rules regarding maximum penalty clauses, you cannot collect your invoice through a lawyer or another collection party. They are required to check whether your terms have been adjusted and to refuse to intervene if your terms have not been adjusted.

Criminal fines

It is important for businesses to be aware of the criminal sanctions that can be imposed for non-compliance with the legislation. Fines can be imposed for various offenses, including:

  • Incorrect sending of the first payment reminder.
  • Incorrect determination of the penalty clause.
  • Failure to comply with the information obligation.

The amount of the fines may vary. For these specific offenses, a level 2 sanction applies, where the fine can range from €26 to €10,000, or up to 4% of the total annual turnover in the last closed financial year (note: this amount is increased with additional charges).

It is crucial for businesses to exercise due diligence and ensure that they comply with legal requirements to avoid potential fines and other legal consequences.

General Terms and Conditions Adjustment for Enterprises to Consumer Debt Law”