Top-Rated Debt Collection Agency in Germany
Fast and reliable debt collection in Germany - no upfront costs, only pay for success. Request a FREE Consultation or upload your claim today.
In Germany, the most straightforward method to retrieve your debt.
Debitura focuses on debt recovery in Germany, providing a wide range of services through our team of experienced professionals. Our expertise includes accounts receivables management, debt collection notices, pre-legal and legal debt collection, and enforcement court proceedings. We understand the German debt collection laws and regulations, allowing us to deliver tailored and effective solutions that enable businesses to successfully recover their outstanding debts.
We provide unwavering assistance from the beginning until the end.
Tailored debt recovery approach.
We have more than 500 specialists who are experienced in handling international debt collection.
Our success rate is 87% and we offer the lowest cost.
Member of the Federal Association of German Debt Collection Companies (BDIU) and the INTERNATIONAL CREDIT EXCHANGE (ICE). Personal/individual contact and fast realization of your claims. Reliable and responsible company.
The ultimate guide about debt collection in Germany
If you have a financial problem with a business or customer in Germany, we can help you. We have helped hundreds of businesses recover money that they are owed in Germany.
Collecting a debt in Germany can seem difficult. Language and cultural barriers, foreign laws and customs, and distance all make it hard to collect a debt.
When you use a collection agency that knows the laws and customs of the country where the debtor lives, it is easier to get your money back.
At Debitura, we always put people first. This means that we will do everything we can to help you get your money back while still maintaining a good relationship with your customer. Our public relations efforts are always fair but firm-ensuring that your reputation is always our top priority! If you want to learn more about the German debt collection process from start to finish, keep reading this guide. If you would rather work with a local law firm that specializes in debt recovery in Germany, we can help you with that too.
At Debitura, we provide a simple way to collect your debt in Germany and +192 other countries. Get started today by uploading your claim. Within 24 hours, we will assess your case and provide you with 3 free quotes from local debt collection lawyers in Germany. We use a people-oriented approach with the latest tech-driven solutions to get results and provide better contact management. This comprehensive method gets the results you need while preserving customer relationships. In addition, our network of debt collectors, attorneys, suppliers and vendors are cherished relationships that allows us to get the job done. We value each of these relationships, no matter how small or large.
Begin debt collection in Germany today without any cost. Just create a free profile and upload your case in only 2 minutes.
During the initial 3 months, we will attempt to retrieve your debt through our successful pre-legal collection method. We operate under a strict no-win, no-fee policy.
If your claim remains unpaid during the pre-legal phase, we connect you to three local debt collection attorneys who will provide you with quotes.
You get access to our online portal where you can track your case in real-time
Introduction to collecting debt in Germany
Do you have a hard time getting your German customers to pay you? Do not worry; we can help you get paid by your German customers easily.
The person who owes the debt is called "the debtor." The person who gave the debt is called "the creditor." If the creditor collects the debt, it is called "first-party collection." If the creditor gets someone else to collect the debt, it is called "third-party collections."
- Domestic firms usually pay their debts on time, and the courts are good at making decisions quickly. However, professional pre-legal negotiation is still the best way to get paid.
- The purpose of insolvency proceedings in Germany is to use the debtor's assets to repay the creditor's debt. This means that liquidation is usually the default procedure. The system does not provide any real support to unsecured creditors when trying to collect debt from insolvent debtors.
Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)
German companies usually pay their debts on time. They tend to rely on supplier credit instead of bank credit. This means that they might not pay immediately, but they will pay eventually. The DSO for listed companies has not changed much in the past few years.
Common payment types in Germany
The most common ways people pay for things are:
- There are two ways to pay with direct debit in Germany: the 'Einzugsermächtigung' (replaced by the Sepa Direct Debit Core Scheme in February 2014) or the 'Abbuchungverfahren' (replaced by Sepa Direct Debit B2B in February 2014).
- It is common to have to pay a down payment or give a discount for early payments. Bills of exchange are not common anymore and are often seen as a lack of trust, while checks can be canceled if they are not submitted to the bank within eight days. However, both are considered debt recognition titles and would give access to accelerated procedures. In general, asking for bank guarantees suggests a lack of trust but Corporate Guarantees are commonly issued by holding firms.
Main corporate structures
- There are different ways to set up a business. A Sole Proprietorship is for one person who is responsible for the debts of the business. A Civil Law Partnership is when two or more people own the business together and they are responsible for the debts of the business. Big businesses may work together through General Partnerships. This lets the partners help each other without worrying about being held responsible for things that go wrong. Limited Partnerships let some partners be in charge and be held responsible for everything while other partners only have to worry about their own contributions.
- Limited Liability Companies are also used a lot (the least amount of money needed to start is EUR 25,000, and the partners' liability is limited to their contribution). But it is easier to set up an Entrepreneurial Company with Limited Liability (minimum capital is only EUR 1).
- Joint-Stock Companies are the best type of business for large companies (with a minimum of EUR 50,000). This type of company limits the amount of money that the business owners could lose.
- Most foreign investors choose not to use business structures like partnerships, trusts, co-operative companies, or business associations. They usually rely on limited liability structures instead because it is less risky. Also, foreign entities may set up registered commercial Branch Offices or Representative Offices.
The debt collection process in Germany
The debt collection process in Germany usually happens in several steps. The picture below explains our standard way of collecting debt in Germany:
1 Upload your claim:
Unless you want to get your money back yourself, you will start by finding a company to help you. You will give them information about the money you are owed, and they will try to get the money for you. If you use Debitura, we will give you 3 different quotes from companies in Europe who can help. This is free - no strings attached.
2 Amicable collection:
The collection process typically begins with sending reminders to your debtor via email, SMS, letter and all other available communication channels in the specific country. The goal is to get the debtor to pay or acknowledge the debt and start a payment plan. We offer a no-cure-no-pay solution for amicable collection, where you only pay a small success fee if we recover your debt. Amicable collections with Debitura are 100% risk-free!
If you still have not received payment from the debtor after trying to work things out, it is time to decide what to do next. We will look at how much money you are owed, the chance of getting paid and other factors to help you decide what to do next. There are three typical next steps:
If your claim is less than €2,000-5,000, it is often not worth it to take more legal action. In this case, we recommend "debt surveillance." This means we will keep trying to contact the person you owe money to and try to reach an agreement about how much they will pay back.
B: Legal collections:
It's a good idea to start taking legal action if you have a big claim. The steps you need to take will vary depending on what you are claiming for and how much it is worth. Usually, it will take about one and a half to two years for the whole process to be finished.
To explain in simpler words: If you have a big problem and want to take it to court, there are certain steps you need to follow, that depends on the problem and how much money is involved. This process usually takes about 12-18 months, roughly one and half to two years to be completed.
C: Debt enforcement:
If the person you think owes you money has said that they do, or if there is a court order, you can go to the bailiff's court.
At Debitura, we can assist you with all three steps in Germany
Amicable collection in Germany
At Debitura, we offer a 100% risk-free and efficient process for Amicable collections. All you have to do is submit your claim, and we will start working on it within 24 hours.
We will contact your debtor using all the methods we have available in Germany, which might include e-mail, text messages, letters, phone calls, and social media.
The goal of this process is to either:
A) get the debtor to pay the full amount or
B) get the debtor to agree that they owe the money and start a plan to pay it back
If the person you are trying to get money from has disagreed with your claim, you cannot start by trying to resolve it peacefully. You must go directly to legal collections.
Late Payment Interest
The main rule in German law is that the person who owes money, even if they are late with payments, has to pay back the damages caused by the late payment to the person they owe money to.
The Recast Directive 2011/7/EU is a law that says payments in the EU must be made within 60 days. This law was put into effect in all EU countries. In some EU countries, the rules are stricter than the EU requirements. For example, as a general rule, business-to-business transactions must be paid as stated in the contract. Otherwise, the receivable would be due immediately. Late payment interest may be claimed as soon as the debt is overdue. Late payment interest rates may be agreed contractually or determined by the law calculated from the base rate set by the European Central Bank, plus 9 percentage points.
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amicable debt collection
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Legal collection in Germany
If the person you owe money to has not paid you back during the first stage, or if they disagree that they owe you money, we will give you 3 free quotes from local debt collectors. In the next stage, our local attorney will talk to the person you owe money to and try to work out a plan for them to pay you back. Our partners can also go to court and get an order that says the person owes you money. This order can be used to make the person pay you back.
If you are sure that someone owes you money, and you know where they live, you can go to the Payment Order Court. This is a quick and easy way to get your money back, and it usually only takes a few weeks. The debtor has two weeks to respond, but if they do not pay or object to the order, then you will get your money back.
If you wait to oppose something, it will be treated as an opposition to the enforcement order. This would cause delays and cost more money, so it is always best to act quickly.
If the amicable phase does not work out or if the debtor has questions about the claim, then the option of starting ordinary legal action (Klageverfahren) is still possible. This would usually happen after summons have been served to the debtor. The courts often have preliminary hearings (Früher Erster Termin) and written proceedings (Schriftliches Vorverfahren) to listen to what both parties have to say. As mentioned before, the court would also try to set up a conciliation phase (Güteverhandlung) as part of these proceedings. The main hearing would then happen so that the court can make a decision.
If the company that owes money also has assets in other European Union countries, there is a procedure that will help get the undisputed debt back (under Regulation EC No 1896/2006).
Business disputes in Germany are usually taken care of by the District Courts. But which District Court is responsible depends on how much money is involved in the dispute. If someone owes you money and they don't dispute it, then the Payment Order Court (Mahngericht) will take care of it. In most cases, the amount of money involved will decide which court is responsible.
The amount of money you will need to pay a lawyer depends on how complicated your case is and how big your claim is. To get the best price, we recommend that you get quotes from more than one lawyer. You can do this easily by using Debitura.
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legal debt collection
Upload your claim and get 3 FREE quotes from our local collection partners.
Debt enforcement in Germany
If the person you are owed money from has acknowledged your claim in writing, or if there is a court order, you can use the bailiff's court to get your money from them in Germany.
If the debtor doesn't pay what they owe, the court may take their things and sell them. This is called "Zwangsversteigerung." Once the court decides this, a local bailiff will be told to take the debtor's things and sell them. The bailiff will do this after being paid a fee. The court may also make the debtor pay an extra fine.
The process and how much it costs varies depending on your situation. You can upload your case onto Debitura to get 3 different quotes within 24 hours.
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Upload your claim and get 3 FREE quotes from our local collection partners.
Insolvency proceedings in Germany
If the person you owe money to cannot pay you back, there is a final process you can start called insolvency. The goal of this is to get rid of the person's things and give the money to the people he owes in the order of importance.
- Out-of-court proceedings: Debtors may initiate confidential early Out-of Court proceedings in order to renegotiate their debts with creditors.
- Prevention procedure: The European Directive 2019/1023 introduced a new framework on preventive restructuring procedures, which did not exist before. This fast-track procedure has the purpose to adopt a restructuring plan with a cross-class cram -down mechanism.
- Restructuring the debt: Reorganization proceedings are governed by the Insolvency Act (Insolvenzordnung “InsO”), amended in 2012, and was inspired by the Chapter 11 in the U.S.. If the court authorizes restructuration process, it then initiates formal proceedings and nominates an administrator in charge of continuing debtor’s business while preserving assets . A creditor's meeting is given an opportunity to open a distribution register and plan for an insolvency schedule (Insolvenztabelle). As long as company has not run out of cash , law enables debtor to file for moratorium (Schutzschirmverfahren) shielding company from any actions by creditors or instructions from shareholders.
European Late Payment Directive in Germany
Germany is part of the European Union (EU). This means that the Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payments across Europe in commercial transactions applies to Germany.
The directive includes the following:
- Public authorities are not allowed to require payment terms of more than 30 days.
- Private companies cannot require that payment be made more than 60 days after purchase.
- If the person you are owed money from is a business, you can charge them an extra fee of €40 for paying late.
- The interest rates for late payments must be at least 8% higher than the European Central Banks reference rate.
The Danish government, as part of the EU, cannot make local rules that are not as good for creditors as the EEU-wide rules.
Credit risk and payment behaviour in Germany
- Survey respondents in Germany show a risk averse approach to trade credit which may be explained by an increase in the level of overdue domestic and foreign payments over the past two years.
- The average payment term for domestic B2B customers of respondents in Germany is 20 days from the invoice date, shorter than the 34 day average for Western Europe.
- An average of 41.6% of total value of domestic B2B sales on credit is paid late in Germany, comparable to Austria and close to 40.2% average recorded in Western Europe.
- For 55% of companies surveyed, lack of liquidity among B2B customers is most often cited as reason for late payment domestically, while 39.5% say this is most often cited as reason for foreign payment delays.
Our analysis concludes that the risk of running a business in Germany is low. Based on this low score, You can feel reasonably confident that you will be able to get paid when trading with customers in Germany. Nonetheless, we always recommend doing a specific credit analysis on an individual customer basis before offering any credit. The low risk score is based on the following factors:
The economic risk in Germany
Our conclusion based on the economic risk factors, is that the economic risk in Germany is very low (1 out of 6). An economic risk of 1 out of 6 is low in Europe.
GDP and economic growth are critical drivers for economic risk.
The GDP of Germany is 4223,12 bn. USD (2021), growing by 2,89% per year.
In terms of the size of its economy, Germany ranks #5 out of 183 countries and has a large economy.
Having a view at the growth rate, it is ranked #131 out of 183 countries and is therefore considered a slow-growing economy.
GDP per capita is 50802 USD, ranking Germany number #19 out of 183 countries. This means the purchasing power of citizens in Germany is high compared to the rest of the world.
You get a more detailed idea of GDP and economic growth in Germany in the table below:
Another critical driver for the economic risk score is the inflation rate and the interest rates. You get a more detailed idea of monetary KPIs in Germany in the table below:
The inflation in Germany was 3,1% in 2021 which is considered a low inflation rate.
The business environment risk in Germany
Our analysis shows that the business environment risk in Germany is very low (1 out of 6), which is a relatively low risk score in Europe.
Economic freedom and rights determine the business environment risk in a country. The critical facts for Germany in the table below:
As you can see in the table, the property rights index is 79 in Germany, which is considered quite good in Europe.
The business freedom index is based on 10 indicators, using data from the World Bank’s Doing Business study. The Index is 82 in Germany, a decent score for a country placed in Europe.
Germany's overall economic freedom index is 73 out of 100 and is based on factors such as the rule of law, regulatory efficiency, and market openness.
The political risk in Germany
The political risk in Germany is very low, with a score of 1/6. This is a low political risk score in Europe.
The governance and political stability indicators are important drivers for political risk. An overview of Germany can be seen in the data below:
The rule of law index analyses to which extent agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the quality of the courts, and the police's ability to enforce court orders.
When trading with businesses in a country, the rule of law index is critical as it describes your ability to enforce commercial contracts.
In Germany, the rule of law index is at 1,61 points, with the score going from -2.5 (weak) to 2.5 (strong). Germany has, therefore, a very high rule of law index, which means you have a very good chance of enforcing your contracts. If your individual customers have good creditworthiness, you should therefore feel relatively safe when providing credit.
Other drivers for the very low political risks are the very strong control of corruption, the average political stability index, and the small shadow economy that is 7,75% of Germany's GDP.
The commercial risk in Germany
In Germany, the commercial risk score is 3/4, which in our model is a medium score. This medium commercial risk score is pretty average compared to the average in Europe.
The commercial risk is influenced by a country's international trade relationships. You can see some of the key facts for Germany in the table below:
Germany has a foreign exchange reserve of 295.74 bn. USD.
Germany has a positive trade balance of 5,53% of GDP. This means that Germany imports fewer goods and services than the country exports.
The annual growth of exports of goods and services has been growing 9,93% annually - now 47,46% of GDP. Import of goods and services represents 41,93% of the GDP in Germany.
The financing risk in Germany
We have calculated the financing risk to be 1/4, which equals a very low risk. A very low financing risk score is relatively low for countries in Europe.
The country's banking system, efficiency, and stability influence the financing risk. You can find the extra information for Germany in the table below:
In Germany, the credit information sharing index is 8 on a scale from 0 (low) to 8 (high). The consequence of that number, is that the access and quality of credit information available in Germany is high.
This makes it easy for you to understand the credit risk of your counterpart in Germany. You should therefore be able to find a good local credit rating agency that can help you analyse the creditworthiness of your specific customers.
Your rights as a creditor are 6 out of 12 and, therefore, weak.
Debt Collection in Germany: Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered
The debt collection process in Germany typically involves several steps, including amicable collection, debt evaluation, surveillance, legal collections, and debt enforcement. German companies usually pay their debts on time, but professional pre-legal negotiation is still the best way to get paid. Insolvency proceedings in Germany focus on using the debtor's assets to repay the creditor's debt, which means that liquidation is usually the default procedure. There are different payment types and corporate structures in Germany, and foreign investors usually prefer to use limited liability structures.
The debt collection process in Germany typically involves three steps: pre-legal collection, legal debt collection, and debt enforcement. First, a company will help you send reminders to the debtor and try to collect the money amicably. If that doesn't work, you may choose to take legal action or debt enforcement. The legal process can take about 12-18 months depending on the situation. Debitura can assist you with all three steps in Germany. Our amicable collection service is risk-free with a no-cure-no-pay policy.
Legal options for debt collection in Germany include civil lawsuits if the debt is disputed, debt enforcement through the Payment Order Court, and insolvency proceedings if the debtor cannot pay. These legal actions require a local lawyer. The costs for legal proceedings depend on the complexity of the case and the amount of the claim. Our service can help you get quotes from multiple lawyers to make an informed decision. There are also different types of insolvency proceedings available, including out-of-court proceedings, prevention procedures, and reorganization proceedings.
The cost of debt collection in Germany varies depending on the case and desired actions. At Debitura, we offer a no-cure-no-pay model for pre-legal collection with a success fee between 10-20%. For legal actions, the price depends on your specific case. We can provide you with 3 quotes from the best debt collection lawyers in Germany.
The duration of debt collection process in Germany depends on the debtor and the case. If the debt can be settled in the pre-legal phase, it usually takes 3-6 months. However, if legal action is necessary, the process typically takes 12-18 months. The time frame varies based on the complexity of the case and the debtor’s willingness to cooperate.