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Collection letter received - what now?

If you have received a collection letter, first check the contents and the sender.

Editorial Team Germany | Oct 4, 2022 3 min
Have you received a collection letter?

Contents of a collection letter

In the first collection letter, information is first provided about the outstanding debt and its contractual basis or invoice and due date.

In addition to the main claim, costs incurred are listed, including, for example, dunning and collection costs or third-party costs such as chargeback fees and investigation costs. The way in which the legally stipulated obligations to provide information and to make a statement, especially in the first debt collection letter to a private individual, are to be fulfilled is regulated in § 13a German Legal-Services Act (RDG).

Collection letter - what can I do?

Not everyone is allowed to carry out debt collection. The prerequisite for this is registration with the competent registration authority. Check whether the debt collection agency is entitled to send a reminder for the debt.

Ensure the correctness and justification of the dunned claim:

  • check your documents,
  • make sure that the claim actually exists
  • or whether you may have already paid something.

Most debt collection agencies make various self-service offers via a portal and always have the current amount of the claim and the status of the proceedings available online.

Maybe there is an offer that suits you and helps you to get rid of your debts as quickly as possible. Or get in touch to clarify the matter or find a solution.

What happens if I do not respond?

If you have received a collection letter, there is most likely a date by which the collection agency expects payment of the debt.

This deadline gives you more time to check your documents. However, if you do not respond by the specified date, you will either receive another letter after a short time or be contacted by phone. Telephone debt collection is an additional attempt to find a solution - without having to take legal action. If, despite contact and settlement attempts by the debt collection service provider, there is still no payment or reaction, the only way left is to initiate judicial dunning proceedings.

At this point, at the latest, it can become expensive, as the costs of the legal proceedings are added to the main claim and the accessory claims. It is still possible to pay after the default summons has been served, but only in connection with high costs that would have been saved by an earlier settlement.

Collection letter received - what now?


So if you have received a letter from a debt collection agency - it is best to take action directly!


Be sure to pay attention to the payment deadline stated in the letter. If you are running out of time or the deadline has already expired, it is best to inform the collection agency instantly!

This may help you to avoid unnecessary costs. It is best to act immediately, because the sooner you tackle the matter, the sooner you can mentally tick it off and let it go.


Please understand that for reasons of readability we only use the grammatically masculine form when referring to persons. This always refers to people of any gender identity.