1. Does the account, the creditor or details of the account ring a bell
If not, please contact the collection agency to clarify the issue and avoid further costs.
2. Do the details in the letterhead match the rest of the letter?
If not, exercise caution. If the bank details refer to a foreign country, this could be an indication of fraud. This may be identified by the first two characters of the IBAN (AT for Austria). Do not simply transfer money. Try to contact the company.
3. What must the letter contain?
In the very first letter, the appointed collection agency must already give the reason for the receivable and details of the creditor's name or company.
4. Do you still have doubts about the receivable?
Then enquire with the relevant collection agency. A legitimate company is always willing to explain the claim and answer any questions.
5. How do I know that it is a legitimate company?
Austrian collection agencies must be registered as such. You may visit https://firmen.wko.at to verify if the company is registered. Another sign of a legitimate company is membership at the Inkassoverband Österreich www.inkassoverband.at/iv%C3%B6-mitglieder/nach-firmennamen/
6. May collection costs be charged?
If a company appoints a collection service provider, this will incur collection costs. § 1333 Abs. 2 of the Austrian Civil Code (AGBG) states that the debtor must compensate the creditor for damage caused due to default in payment. Collection costs are included in these damages caused by default.It should be noted that the amount of extrajudicial collection costs is specified in § 3 BGBl No. 141/1996 and is regularly adjusted.