New Belgian Consumer Debt Legislation: Get ready for a big change!

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A new legal framework impacting relations between service providers and private consumers has just been put in place. Intended for companies operating in the B2C sector, this law imposes certain essential obligations and leads to significant changes that will require vigilance and adaptation.

The legislation, which will come into force on September 1, 2023, imposes major changes to the general payment conditions. More specifically, this new law now determines the maximum costs and interest that can be claimed in the event of late payment. These amounts must now be clearly mentioned in your terms and conditions of payment. It is therefore crucial to update your terms and conditions now to ensure compliance.

What is the impact of this new law on your bills?

As a reminder, the law only applies to the B2C sector (between companies and individuals). No change will therefore apply if you work in B2B (between companies).

As mentioned above, from September 1, the new legislation requires you to adapt the new general payment conditions on your invoices. But your existing invoices and payment reminders will also be impacted. The first reminder becomes mandatory and free of charge, while for existing invoices, your old general terms and conditions remain applicable until December 2023.

What steps will you need to take to adapt to this change?

1) A first free and mandatory reminder

The company is now required to send a first payment reminder free of charge, and to grant a period of 14 days before claiming late fees and interest.

This first reminder should contain the following information:

  • The amount remaining due and the general payment conditions applicable in the event of non-payment;
  • The contact details of the supplier;
  • The description of the service for which the debt is due;
  • The period from which costs will be claimed (period which may not be less than 14 days + 3 working days if the reminder is sent by post).

2) Damages

The law limits damages clauses in order to prevent them from being excessive in relation to the damage suffered. According to the law, fixed compensation and late payment interest will be capped as follows:

  • for debts < €150, the maximum fixed compensation is €20
  • For debts between €150.01 and €500, the lump sum compensation can reach €30 + 10% of the amount due in this tranche
  • For debts > €500.01, the maximum lump sum compensation is €65 + 5% of the amount due in the portion above €500.01, without exceeding €2,000

In conclusion, this new legislation pushes companies operating in the B2C sector to improve their transparency and debt management.

From 01/09/2023, companies will have to comply with the new directives. For previous invoices, the old legislation remains applicable until December 2023. It is therefore important to send these invoices for collection as soon as possible.

If questions or concerns remain unanswered, the INTERNATIONAL RECOVER COMPANY customer service department is at your disposal to provide you with the necessary assistance.

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