Fighting Unfair Collection Practices in Switzerland

A big Danke! to the Swiss Stiftung für Konsumentenschutz (SKS) for saving me 58 Swiss Francs! An unpaid bill from Ricardo that I did not see was sent to Intrum Justitia for collection.  Ricardo has some strange billing practices, namely they send (sent?) periodic bills with charges for posting items but the big bills with the fee incurred when something actually sold seems to only go to the internal Ricardo mail. I never checked this internal mail box because they were periodically sending me bills! What gives, Ricardo? Are my settings wrong? Are you complicit in this Abzockerei?

This SKS page explains what to do if you get such a bill. It also explains that Inkasso firms (in my case Intrum Justitia) are only allowed to bill you for the amount of the unpaid bill plus interest. They are not allowed to tack on a huge fee as their fee must be collected from the firm for whom they are collecting. In my case the unpaid bill was 38.65 CHF, the interest was 0.10 CHF and the Intrum Justitia fee was 58.00 CHF. I followed the instructions on the SKS page which includes a letter to send to the Inkasso firm (Musterbrief). I modified the letter to include my personal information and my numbers and sent it to Intrum Justitia registered with return acknowledgement requested.  I immediately paid Intrum Justitia the part that is legally required, i.e. 38.75. Within 5 days my Ricardo account was unblocked. After one week, I have not heard back from Intrum Justitia.

SKS will help members without cost and for non-members help is available via a 900 number. Membership is well worth the cost.

  • March 6: Letter from Intrum Justitia is dated March 6
  • March 7: I paid Intrum Justitia 38.75 and sent my letter by email to Intrum Justitia with a copy to SKS
  • March 8: I sent registered letter by Swiss Post
  • March 13: My Ricardo account was unblocked
  • March 23: I received another bill from Intrum Justitia for 58 CHF. Note that this second bill is dated March 13.
  • March 31: I send a second letter to Intrum Justitia based on the first letter.
  • May 8: I have not heard anything else from them.

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