An important principle in our society is that we pay our bills and other debts on time. It can nonetheless happen at times that they are not paid within the stated time. The person who is to have the money (the creditor) can then take measures against the person who is to pay (the debtor) to recover the money. The creditor can recover the money personally or engage a representative, for example a debt recovery agency.
Debt recovery measures
- A demand or other means of exerting pressure on the debtor to make them pay their debt.
For example: the debtor is sent a final demand stating that if he or she does not pay voluntarily the creditor will apply to the Swedish Enforcement Authority for an order to pay (so-called summary proceedings) or take some other legal action.
- The creditor can also threaten to terminate an agreement or suspend provision of a service.
For example: terminate a customer contract or a telephone subscription.
Merely a payment reminder or information that the demand may be passed on for debt recovery are on the other hand not debt recovery measures.
If the debt recovery measures do not lead to any result, the creditor can take legal action to have established both that the debtor is obliged to pay and the amount that the debtor is to pay. When such a ruling or judgement has been handed down, the creditor can obtain the Swedish Enforcement Authority's help to recover the debt.
Accepted debt recovery practices
The Debt Recovery Act contains provisions concerning how debt recovery activities are to be carried on. Debt recovery activities are also to be carried on in accordance with accepted debt recovery practices. This means among other things that the person against whom debt recovery measures are taken must not be subjected to unnecessary costs or harassment.
What are accepted debt recovery practices can be found in:
- Sections 5 to 11 of the Debt Recovery Act,
- the Swedish Data Protection Authority's praxis in debt recovery matters, and
- the Swedish Data Protection Authority's general guidelines "Tillämpning av inkassolagen" [Application of the Debt Recovery Act].
The Swedish Data Protection Authority's task is to ensure that the Debt Recovery Act is complied with and that accepted debt recovery practices are observed. We do this through both continuous contact with and inspections at debt recovery agencies.
Anyone who feels that he or she has been subjected to debt recovery measures that violate accepted debt recovery practices can contact the Swedish Data Protection Authority with questions and complaints.
The Swedish Data Protection Authority cannot, on the other hand, act as anyone's representative or settle disputes between a debtor and a creditor or a debt recovery agency.
The Debt Recovery Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies as a law in all EU member states from and including 25 May 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation does not give rise to any amendments to the Debt Recovery Act but affects the debt recovery agencies' processing of personal data. It is the data controller who is obliged to ensure that lawful grounds for processing of personal data exist in each individual case and that other requirements laid down in the General Data Protection Regulation are complied with.
If the information in other languages are different from the Swedish version, it is the Swedish version that applies.