Law Amendment Spells Increase in Debt Collection Fees: "Wrong Message to Consumers in the midst of the Covid-19-Pandemic"
Gütersloh/Verl/Baden-Baden/Germany, 4 January 2021 - Paigo, the receivables management platform of Arvato Financial Solutions, will not increase fees for consumers despite the amendment to the German Lawyers' Compensation Act (Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz; RVG) that took effect on 1 January 2021. The revised law, which also affects debt collection companies, entails a fee increase of an average 10 percent. In the majority of cases, this increase will most likely hit consumers, a move which Paigo criticizes in view of the current situation.
The RVG amendment came into effect on 1 January 2021 and includes, among other things, a ten-per cent fee increase owing, in particular, to increased material and personnel costs. Paigo, a company of Arvato Financial Solutions, fears the RVG amendment will in many cases initially lead to increased costs for consumers before a reduction in collection fees together with new collection regulations comes into effect in October. Sven Schneider, Managing Director at Paigo, is critical of this: "We are risking our trust and credibility if we burden consumers already affected by the current economic and social crisis with additional costs in the form of higher fees." Particularly since the Covid-19-crisis has already worsened the financial situation in many households, Schneider added. Indeed, according to forecasts, the percentage of heavily-indebted households could rise to around ten per cent this year as a result of the Covid-19-pandemic. Accordingly, Paigo wants to soften the impact of the increase by maintaining fees for consumers at current levels. "As long as we as a debt collection company are bound to the RVG for transparency reasons, we must adhere to statutory fee adjustments. However, we will implement these costs at our own expense in order to protect consumers," says Schneider.
In order to compensate for the statutory fee increase, Paigo aims to lower the actual fee factor by 0.1 points. This will offset average increases resulting from the RVG amendment. Plus minor claims, where Paigo has already frequently set lower fees, will benefit even more from substantial reductions of well over ten percent.
Effects on consumers and the economy
Moreover, Paigo is convinced that additional costs for consumers will also have a negative impact on the economy. Florian Lampe, Managing Director at Paigo, says: "Our planned compensation scheme to offset the fee increase should make it easier for consumers to pay off arrears which, in turn, will have a positive effect on the whole economy. We will help strengthen the relationship between consumers and businesses by encouraging settlement of outstanding payments to businesses that are currently more than ever in need of liquidity."
According to Paigo, the law amendment is sending the wrong message in the midst of the Covid-19-pandemic. The economic consequences of the crisis mean consumers and businesses are currently under massive pressure and in need of support as never before. Paigo will therefore take appropriate steps to mitigate the effects of the fee increase, confirmed Lampe. Managing Director Sven Schneider also stressed that "at Paigo, we want people to overcome difficult financial circumstances in order to regain control of their financial situation. We see it as part of our social responsibility to keep fees stable as far as possible in the current economic situation."
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Arvato Financial Solutions provides professional financial services to renowned international brands as well as respected local businesses — allowing them to leave their credit management to a professional, so they can focus on what matters most for their business.
The services center around cash flow in all segments of the customer lifecycle: from credit risk management to payment, factoring and accounting services to debt collection.
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