Debt Collection Information

1. What is a debt collection („Betreibung“)?

Debt collection is a type of compulsory enforcement to collect monetary claims. It is carried out by debt enforcement offices that are organised locally. Debt collection („Betreibung“) is therefore a formal procedure with the involvement of the state or the authorities if previous efforts by creditors in the context of a reminder or collection procedure have been unsuccessful. The Federal Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcy Act (SchKG) forms the legal basis for this. A distinction is made between three types of debt collection:

  • Seizure: Only as many assets are seized as are necessary to pay off the debt.

  • Bankruptcy: All assets are seized. This type is mainly used for registered traders and companies.

  • On realisation of a pledge: The creditor realises fist or real estate pledges in his possession in order to pay off the debtor's debt.

Procedure of debt collection

A debt collection procedure is always initiated by the creditor, who submits a request for debt collection to the debt collection office at the debtor's place of residence. All procedural steps must also be actively initiated by the creditor. Otherwise, the proceedings will be suspended.

The costs of the debt collection must always be paid by the creditor in advance and are subsequently charged to the debtor as part of the claim. Depending on the respective canton and the amount of the claim, the costs of debt collection range between CHF 50 and CHF 100.

2. What is a debt collection statement?

In order to protect themselves as best as possible against potential payment defaults, any person who can credibly demonstrate an interest can request an extract from the debt enforcement and loss certificate register from the debt enforcement office.

Banks and other lenders in particular use the debt enforcement statement to obtain information about the potential customer and thus debtor, for example when granting a personal loan, and include this information in the credit check.

3. What information is contained in the debt enforcement statement?

The debt enforcement statement lists the number and sums of any previous debt enforcement proceedings. The debt collection register documents the course of each debt collection procedure in the debt collection information.

4. How long do entries remain in the register?

Entries remain, even if the debtor has paid the claim after an order for payment. In principle, they are not deleted. The only exceptions are: The creditor withdraws the debt collection or a court deems it null and void. After five years, only courts and administrative authorities have access to the events.

5. Which debt collection office is responsible for my debt collection information?

Due to its local organisation, a debt collection office only provides information on debt collection proceedings initiated at the place of residence in question. If a debtor has changed his place of residence within the last five years, information must be obtained from several debt collection offices.

In this case, there are also external companies that collect the information from the offices.

6. Can I get the debt collection statement online?

A request for information on the debt enforcement statement can be made online via the Swiss government portal. The completed form must then be printed out, signed and sent to the appropriate office by post.

The cost of the debt enforcement information is CHF 17 plus postage. Depending on the debt collection office concerned, an advance payment may be necessary.