On this page you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions that the Swedish Data Protection Authority receives about payment default records.
Do I have a payment default record?
The Swedish Data Protection Authority cannot see if you have a payment default record or not. To find out you can contact a nationwide credit reference agency.
Credit reference agencies have registers containing financial information about people and companies where they among other things register identity data, details of income and property ownership and also records of payment default. The information is to provide a picture of the data subject's willingness to pay and ability to pay. The rules governing registration can be found in the Credit Information Act and in decisions by the Swedish Data Protection Authority directed at the individual credit reference agencies.
A payment default record is a note in a credit information register that the person or company has not paid a debt in time and that the creditor has then chosen to begin proceedings to recover the debt.
These records of payment default are the most common
- Ruling by the Swedish Enforcement Authority in cases concerning payments orders, that is to say a decision where the Swedish Enforcement Authority has established that someone is liable to pay because he or she has not contested a demand
- Judgements by default handed down by the district court, that is to say the district court has passed judgement in a case because one party has not attended the proceedings or has not responded to a summons with objective arguments
- Misuse of bank accounts/credit/mortgage loans
- Debt restructuring decisions
- Unpaid taxes and charges
- Unsuccessful distraint/attachment
- Application for payment order (only registered for companies)
You have no right to be removed from a credit information register but if information relating to you is inaccurate or misleading the credit reference agency must correct it. Note that if you pay a debt after, for example, the Swedish Enforcement Authority has made a ruling, a payment default record will nonetheless be registered. To judge whether information is inaccurate or misleading, the starting point is what applied when the payment default record arose, that is to say for what reason the debt was not paid on the due date.
Records of payment default that relate to a natural person are to be removed from credit information registers no later than three years after the event was registered (for example the date of the Swedish Enforcement Authority's ruling or distraint/attachment attempt). There is no deletion rule for legal entities (for example companies) but records of payment default are normally removed no later than five years after registration.
Avoid records of payment default by remembering to
Pay on time! If you pay your bills on time, obviously no payment default record will ever be registered for you. But as soon as you are in arrears with a payment and the creditor takes action that leads to a payment default record, that record cannot be erased. That you could not pay on time or paid only a few days too late are not valid reasons for erasing the record. Even during holiday periods you are also obliged to pay your bills! So make sure that you pay all your bills before you leave on a long trip or make sure that someone else pays your bills while you are away.
If you receive a debt recovery notice: The debt recovery notice in itself does not lead to a payment default record but read it carefully so that you know what it refers to and what can happen as a result.
Pay within the time stated in the notice if you consider that you are liable for payment. If you pay the debt directly to the creditor after receiving a debt recovery notice, you should tell the debt recovery agency if the creditor has engaged one. Otherwise there is a risk that the debt recovery agency will not find out that the debt has been paid in time and will pass the matter to the Swedish Enforcement Authority. If you are unable to pay, you should contact the sender of the debt recovery notice and try to agree on a solution, for example an instalment plan.
Dispute a claim immediately if you consider that you are not liable for payment. Do not be satisfied with contacting the person who claims that you owe him or her money if you consider that the notice is wrong. Also dispute the notice with the debt recovery agency if the creditor has engaged one. Write a dated letter and state clearly what you consider to be wrong. Bear in mind that a blank protest is not sufficient: you must give factual reasons why you consider that you are not liable for payment. Save the documents!
A payment order from the Swedish Enforcement Authority does not lead to a payment default record if you are a private individual or a sole proprietorship. And this does not mean that anyone has ruled that you are liable for payment. It is an order to either pay or dispute what the creditor claims within a certain time. If you do not dispute the claim, you accept that you are liable for payment. The Swedish Enforcement Authority will then make a ruling, which means that a payment default record will be registered against you in the credit reference agencies' registers.
If you have disputed a claim with the Swedish Enforcement Authority, the person who is demanding money from you can choose to take legal action. If you consider that you are not liable for payment, but your debt has become a court case, it is important that you follow the court's instructions to respond to letters and attend the court if you are summoned. Otherwise the court may issue a so-called judgement by default. A judgement by default gives you a payment default record with the credit reference agencies and it is very difficult to have it erased. It is not sufficient that the court annuls the judgement by default or the ruling. An annulment means only that the judgement by default or the ruling cannot be used in a distraint procedure. The annulment does not in itself mean that the judgement by default or the ruling was made on erroneous grounds.
This applies in the case of companies
Regarding companies – but not sole proprietorships – an application for a payment order itself is registered in the credit information registers. It is therefore extra important that companies dispute erroneous demands immediately a debt recovery notice is received and not wait for a payment order.
If someone has applied for a payment order against you in error – the debt recovery agency may perhaps not have been informed that you have disputed the demand or that you paid the debt before the application was submitted – you can demand that the person/entity that applied for the payment order from the Swedish Enforcement Authority retract the application with the credit reference agencies. A retraction means that the debt recovery agency in writing informs the credit reference agencies that the payment order application was erroneous. A cancellation of an application alone does not reach the credit reference agencies. A retraction, on the other hand, normally leads to the payment default record being erased.
Request for rectification
Contact the credit reference agencies in the first instance if you consider that data relating to you in a credit information register is misleading. They are obliged to investigate your complaint. The credit reference agencies do not collaborate on rectification issues. You therefore need to contact every credit reference agency that you wish to rectify the information directly.
Some debts to the community are collected without any debt recovery procedure. If you have for example not paid your taxes on time, this is noted in the Swedish Enforcement Authority's register (registered for tax debt collection) and is thereby also registered in the credit reference agencies' registers as a record of payment default. This also applies for example in the case of study loan repayments, TV licences and municipal parking fees.
If the information in other languages are different from the Swedish version, it is the Swedish version that applies.