What is this about?
In April, new legislation was approved that capped the costs and late-payment interest fees that may be charged to consumers (B2C) if they are not paying an invoice. In concrete terms, it means that no further charges may be imposed upon a first reminder letter. What’s more, a client has 14 days to respond. Costs and interest are also capped. For example, a maximum of EUR 20 may be charged for a debt of EUR 150. For a debt of EUR 1,000, the maximum charge is EUR 90.
What does this mean in concrete terms?
Two deadlines have been imposed: the contract/general terms and conditions for new contracts must be modified by 1 September, and for existing contracts, this must be done by 1 December. If this is not done, companies cannot charge interest or costs according to the law. Furthermore, there is a risk of checks from the economic inspection. A company is, therefore, obliged to explain to the client the consequences of non-payment of an invoice.
Why is this important?
Firstly, this law was introduced to ensure that consumers don’t end up in an endless downward spiral of additional costs. In the past, the costs have sometimes been excessive compared to the actual costs incurred for recovery.
However, chasing after invoices costs companies a lot of money. A report from the collection company Intrum earlier this year showed us that companies work 69 days a year to get their outstanding invoices paid. This costs Belgian companies EUR 9.2 billion per year.
How do I get started?
The entrepreneur can hardly be expected to be a lawyer who can rewrite these contracts/general terms and conditions on their own. Therefore, it’s advisable to call on a specialised party to do this. At BOFIDI, we have subject-matter professionals who can help entrepreneurs quickly and efficiently with this. Are you interested in this kind of support? Feel free to send an e-mail to email@example.com. He’ll be happy to help you.