Agreeing to a repayment plan with a consumer in case of non-payment of an invoice. While this may seem to be solely in the interest of the client, it can also have benefits for the creditor.
Flexibility in the scheduling of payments can be particularly useful if the client is going through temporary difficulties. It is worth noting that, even though the initiative to offer a repayment plan is often perceived as favorable to the client, it can also be in the interest of the creditor to maintain a future business relationship. Refusing to propose a plan can result in non-payment. However, it is advisable to ensure that the deadlines do not extend over too long a period, with the requirement that the total amount be paid within six months.
The new Consumer Debt Law, in effect since September 2023, does not oblige creditors to propose a repayment plan to a consumer with poor payment history. However, if the collection is outsourced to a lawyer, a bailiff, or a collection agency, some new rules apply. A formal notice must mention that the consumer can request payment facilities.
Despite this information, the decision to accept or reject a request for a repayment plan remains at the discretion of the creditor. Swift responsiveness is recommended because until a decision is made, the professional collector cannot proceed to the next steps of the amicable debt recovery procedure.
In the absence of a decision within 30 days of the request, late fees cease until a decision is made. If a repayment plan is agreed upon, the creditor must regularly provide the consumer with a statement of amounts paid and the remaining balance.
Once the debt is settled, the consumer must be promptly informed. Finally, although collection agencies, lawyers, and bailiffs are obligated to inform B2C clients of the possibility to request a repayment plan, the creditor retains the right to decide whether to consent or not.