The term "online collection" can comprise various fields of commercial debt collection. Basically, however, online debt collection is simply one way of carrying out the tasks of receivables management using the modern means of communication on the Internet.
The Arvato Financial Solutions collection company (Paigo GmbH) still relies on written correspondence to establish the first contact with the consumer. This means debtors receive a letter through the mail detailing the outstanding accounts in accordance with section 11a RDG (German Legal Services Act) upon the first assertion of the claim towards a private individual. In this letter, the debtor is clearly requested to fulfil his/her obligations. We take data protection very seriously.
Special care has to be taken in online debt collection - not all companies in this field are respectable. The methods employed by certain black sheep harm the reputation of a whole industry. On the other hand, respectable debt collection companies support other companies in keeping payment defaults to a minimum. This helps to save jobs and protect consumers against price increases.
Fortunately, there are many respectable companies operating in online collection. One mark of a such a service provider is membership in a large professional association, such as the Federal Association of German Collection Companies, Bundesverband Deutscher Inkasso-Unternehmen e.V. (BDIU). The Arvato Financial Solutions debt collection company is a member of BDIU and operates in accordance with its strict guidelines.
In particular, traders in e-commerce and mail order companies frequently run the risk of payment defaults. In the online business, in particular, debt collection cases have to be avoided as far as possible. Otherwise, all customers have to pay for the payment defaults. Especially in online shops, Internet retailers' risk management can be improved by standardised credit rating queries, so-called scores. Arvato Financial Solutions also offers retailers these services: infoscore Consumer Data GmbH provides credit rating information to its partners, provided that there is a legitimate interest. The strategy is: Avoiding debt collection through services in the online segment. In these cases, the data are only transferred if there is a justified interest, e.g. because of the clear initiation of a business transaction through a new customer.
The precautions adopted by online companies are justified. As the BDIU members have found, payment discipline among consumers using online businesses is declining. As a result, collection companies are usually called in. Moreover, fraud scenarios in which criminals log on to online shops and buy products from them using someone else's personal data are also increasing. Such online fraud often results in debt collection cases. Consumers affected by such crimes should immediately contact the collection company to sort out the facts and, moreover, they should not shy away from filing a criminal complaint against the fraudster or against a person or persons unknown.
Consumers who would like to know which data are recorded regarding them can submit an application for a self-report to infoscore Consumer Data GmbH. One self-report per year is free. However, an application for a self-report cannot be submitted via e-mail. For reasons of data protection, the company can only accept such inquiries via letter or fax.
The application for a default summons from a court of law forms the last phase of online debt collection. This can now also be done online. While private individuals can select whether they want to submit the application in writing or online, professional service providers have fully switched to the fast and simple version: They electronically submit applications for default summonses to the court.