So you’ve received a payment demand?

When you find a letter from a collection agency in your mailbox demanding payment (Zahlungsaufforderung), the tendency is to get worked up about it, or maybe even hostile. Our recommendation: take a deep breath and try to stay calm. Our sincere desire is to work together with you wherever possible so that we can solve the payment problem to the satisfaction of both parties. Below you will find answers to the most common questions and some useful tips.

    • How do I make my payment?

      When paying the amount due, we suggest that you use the pre-filled bank transfer form which we included with our payment demand. If you do not use the pre-filled form (for example, because you’re using online banking), please be sure to always include our case reference number (Aktenzeichen) in your payment details, as well as in any correspondence with us.

    • There's no way that I can meet the payment deadline set by Inkasso Goldbach. What should I do?

      If you are unable to meet a payment deadline or any other deadline which we have set for you, please contact us immediately, preferably using our online contact form. If we don't hear from you before the deadline expires, we may need to proceed to the next step in our collection process, which could result in additional costs for you.

    • What should I do if my address or my name changes?

      If there is any change to your address or name, it very important that you inform us immediately in writing. Otherwise, when our mail to you is returned, we will have to initiate an address determination procedure which will be charged to your account. So if you move or get married, please be sure to promptly send us your new information, preferably using our online contact form - and as with any correspondence with us, be sure to always include the case reference number (Aktenzeichen). 

    • What is an enforceable claim?

      An enforceable claim (titulierte Forderung) is a payment claim against you for which court has issued an enforcement action, such as a court judgment, a court order or an enforcement order (Vollstreckungsbescheid). A court-ordered enforcement action provides us with the legal authority to enforce the payment claim as provided by German law.

    • Can Inkasso Goldbach directly take my salary or other work earnings?

      Where a court has granted us with legal authority for an enforcement action, this generally permits the garnishment of your employment earnings to the extent that these are above certain limits set by law. Under German law, the basic amount necessary for a modest lifestyle is protected and cannot be garnished.

    • Am I really legally obligated to pay the whole amount of the payment demand, including collection fees?

      Yes. Under section 286 of the German Civil Code, a debtor must reimburse the creditor for any costs or monetary damages caused by a failure to pay as required. This specifically includes the fees charged by a professional debt collection service such as Inkasso Goldbach. You must pay the full amount.

    • Can I pay the amount I owe directly to the creditor?

      No. Once we take over a payment collection case, this is no longer possible. You must make all payments directly to Inkasso Goldbach.

    • Why am I continuing to receive reminders from Inkasso Goldbach even though I have paid my debts?

      If our reminder was generated before the date on which your deposit posted to our account, your payment has probably just overlapped with our letter. Don't worry: If you made a payment with your correct case reference number (Aktenzeichen), you can be sure that we have received the money and that it has been properly posted. If you want to be absolutely sure, feel free to check with us using our online contact form. Be sure to include your reference number as well as the date and amount of your payment.

  • Data privacy questions

    • You're received a payment demand or other collection correspondence from Inkasso Goldbach. Where did we get your personal data?

      We are collecting a payment obligation from you which you should originally have made to the company with which you have or had a business relationship (such as a customer contract with an electricity provider). It is common for companies to engage specialised debt collection agencies or legal service providers, such as Inkasso Goldbach GmbH, so that these companies do not themselves have to pursue the collection of overdue amounts from customers. The company may either commission a collection agency to collect the overdue receivables on its behalf, or it may sell the receivables to the collection company.
      In the first case, the collection agency acts as a service provider to collect the debt.
      In both cases, the (original) creditor may and must pass on personal data regarding the debtor (specifically including name and address, the basis and amount of the claim, and similar kinds of necessary information) to the collection agency. Only with this data is it even possible for the collection agency to approach the debtor and assert the claim.
      In addition, there certain situations in which a claim is being asserted not against you, as the recipient of correspondence from us, but against a third party - for example, where you have been granted legal authority to act on the creditor's behalf or mandated as a legal advisor. In these cases, your contact details will be added to the collection case as the correspondence address, and you will receive additional information regarding the processing of your personal data by the collection company in accordance with articles 13 and 14 of the General Data Protection Regulation.

    • What personal data about me is a collection agency permitted to collect?

      Collection companies may collect and process such data about you that are necessary to provide the respective collection service, which usually means the collection of an overdue payment claim. In order to collect a payment claim, it is necessary for the collection agency to have personal  data regarding the debtor (e.g. name, address, telephone number) as well as regarding the relevant payment claim (e.g. reason for the claim, amount, due date). The collection agency may also generate additional information, and save and use this information, as necessary to pursue the collection case (e.g. obtaining of credit information, new address determination in event of returned mail). The collection agency, however, is not permitted to collect or store any personal data not required for this legitimate business purpose.

    • Is it legal for my personal data to be transferred to a collection agency without my consent?

      In the case of a dispute regarding an open payment claim, or even regarding a disputed payment claim, a company is free to decide whether to avail itself of the professional services of a law firm or collection agency. In these cases, the (original) creditor may and must pass on personal data regarding the debtor (specifically including name and address, the basis and amount of the claim, and similar kinds of necessary information) to the collection agency. Only with this data is it even possible for the collection agency to approach the debtor and assert the claim. Your consent for the transfer of your personal data to the legal service provider is not required, as it expressly provided for in such cases under art. 6 para. 1 sentence 1 lit. b and f of the General Data Protection Regulation (processing necessary for the performance of a contract; processing necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests of the creditor).

    • Is a collection agency required to determine the validity of a payment claim before accepting a collection mandate?

      In accepting a collection mandate, the collection agency must have reasonable grounds to believe that the payment claim being transferred by the (original) creditor actually exists. For this purpose, it is sufficient for the collection agency to verify the plausibility of the claim before initiating contact with the (presumed) debtor. A verification of the actual existence or validity of the claim is not necessary at this point in time, nor would this even be possible.
      The processing of your personal data by a third-party collection agency would only be inadmissible if the asserted claim manifestly does not exist. However, this would only be conceivable in extraordinary situations, and not simply when there is disagreement between the debtor and the creditor as to whether the payment claim exists.

    • Does a collection agency have an obligation to delete my personal data upon my request?

      There are, unfortunately, collection agencies who send demand letters for payment of dubious or even non-existent claims (e.g. from subscription traps on the internet). Even in such cases, however, your personal data may, as a matter of general law, be stored and used by the collection agency commissioned by the (alleged) creditor. This legal provision under data privacy law would only be annulled in rare cases in which, from the point of view of the collection agency, it is manifestly implausible that the payment claim actually exists.
      As to the question of whether the asserted claim actually exists, this must be clarified between you and the alleged creditor, or the collection agency acting on behalf thereof, on the basis of civil law, and the parties may draw upon legal assistance or bring the matter to court.
      It is correct that you, as the "data subject", have a general right to have your personal data deleted under article 17 sec. 1 of the General Data Protection Regulation - but only under the conditions specified therein. This right does not exist if a company is storing or processing your data in order to assert, exercise or defend its legal claims, as specifically provided in article 17 para. 3 lit. e of the Regulation. Personal data may therefore continue to be stored as long as there are still outstanding legal claims and may be used within the context of the company's collection activities. After the outstanding claim has been satisfied or otherwise terminated, the data are no longer required for these collection activities and thus would, in principle, be subject to the requirement for deletion in accordance with art. 17 para. 1 lit. a). In place of deletion, however, art. 17. para. 3 lit. b of the Regulation in conjunction with sec. 35 para 3. of the German Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz) may permit restricted data retention and processing to the extent that a data retention period is prescribed by law or regulation or provided under terms of contract. German commercial law or tax regulations may, moreover, require that personal data be retained for a prescribed period of time, although where this is the case, the data are only retained for this specific purpose. These retention periods may vary, with the German Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung) and Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch) stipulating periods of up to 10 years.

    • The collection agency still has my personal data, even though I have sent the company an objection to the processing of my personal data. Isn't the company obligated to stop using my personal data?

      Under art. 6 para. 1 lit. 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation, any such objection to the processing of personal data must, in order to prevail, be based upon interests or fundamental rights of the data subject which override the legitimate interests of the claimant - in other words, a weighing of respective interests arising under the particular situation. This means that the objecting party must state these overriding interests and explain why the constellation of competing interests gives particular weight to their own interests under the specific circumstances of the case.
      Thus, for this purpose, it is not legally sufficient to simply deny the claim (e.g. "I never signed a contract"), or to state that the performance of the (original) creditor for which claim arose was incorrect or did not take place. Even in such cases, the right to object to the processing of personal data does not apply, per art. 21 para. 1 of the Regulation, to the extent that such processing of data serves to assert, exercise or defend legal claims. In the typical case constellations which arise involving the activities of collection agencies (recovery of outstanding payment claims), an objection to the processing of personal data is highly unlikely to have any legal basis.

    • How long is a collection agency permitted to retain my personal data?

      A collection agency may retain and process personal data as long as there are still outstanding claims for which the data are required within the scope of the collection activities. Once the payment claim has been satisfied, or the collection process otherwise terminated, the data are no longer required for these collection activities and thus would, in principle, be subject to the requirement for deletion in accordance with art. 17 para. 1 lit. a).
      In place of deletion, however, art. 17. para. 3 lit. b of the Regulation in conjunction with sec. 35 para 3. of the German Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz) may permit restricted data retention and processing to the extent that a data retention period is prescribed by law or regulation or provided under terms of contract. German commercial law or tax regulations may, moreover, require that personal data be retained for a prescribed period of time, although where this is the case, the data are only retained for this specific purpose. These retention periods may vary, with the German Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung) and Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch) stipulating periods of up to 10 years.

    • Is a collection agency allowed to obtain my credit report?

      Under art. 6 para. 1 sentence 1 lit. f of the General Data Protection Regulation, a collection agency may obtain a credit report or other such credit information from credit agencies if there is a legitimate interest in obtaining these data. Such a legitimate interest would, for example, be deemed to exist if a decision to initiate further collection measures would need to consider the risk of payment default - for example, where further collection measures would involve additional legal or court costs.

Contact

Contact for Debtors

+49 61 88 / 306 30-0
Mon-Sat 8.00 am - 8.00 pm

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Contact for Creditors and Prospects

+49 61 88 / 306 30-270
Mon-Fri 8.00 am - 5.00 pm

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