New government, readers input & dubious debt collectors!

Dear Readers.

The African Bulletin is a great source of information for its inquisitive readers. In this article, I will provide information and ask questions about three subjects that are mainly relevant for those who are living in or are linked to The Netherlands.

First, the new “regering” (government)

What is going to happen in The Netherlands in the coming years? It is important to realize that many things will change but these things are foreseeable because of the “Regeerakkoord (government agreement) 2017 – 2021”.  This Regeerakkoord is effectively a business plan all parties agreed on for the next four years.

For those inquisitive minds who are interested, look at this internet link:  https://www.tweedekamer.nl/sites/default/files/atoms/files/regeerakkoord20172021.pdf and read the text. With this, you more or less know what is coming for you in all aspects of life.

This knowledge is useful for everyone that has something to do with The Netherlands; not only Dutch nationals or companies that are based here, but certainly migrants, the regular and the irregular ones. Let me give a few examples.

On page 53 of the regeerakkoord, the government announces that more effort will be put into the voluntary leaving of irregular migrants and in case they do not leave voluntarily, there will also be more effort put into expelling them.

On page 54, it states clearly that there will be no new Kinderpardon (children’s pardon). This is agreed by all parties in the government, so it is in my opinion naïve to wait and hope for a new Kinderpardon in the coming years.

On page 55, of the regeerakkoord, it is mentioned that Inburgering (integration) will become more important and if a person can be blamed for not doing so, that in certain cases it might lead to the end of that person’s residential status or a reduction in welfare in the case that such a person is on welfare.

Knowing this in advance gives the person concern more control over his/her life, so make use of this source of knowledge and read the Regeerakkoord.

Second, do not be shy, be interactive

For a while now, The African Bulletin has giving me the opportunity to publish articles. Every now and then I ask the readers for input. After all, I write to inform the readers about subjects they want to be informed about. So readers, tell me what is on your mind by sending a message to mail@advocatenkantoorkleijweg.nl.

Feel free to send me an e-mail or a letter with a request, give me a suggestion for a subject for another article, complain if an article disappoints you, feel free to let me know what is keeping you busy. In case I have a question about something, help me out.

How can readers help me? I am still looking for single mothers, living in Africa, providing the daily care to her child fathered by a Dutch national. If the child has the nationality of The Netherlands, that is best, but if that is not yet the case, that possibly can be sorted out. If these women are now living in Africa, that is not a problem.

I would like to come in contact with these women or with the organisations that support them. We can help these women and children to get financial support and perhaps even a status. These women are out there but who can bring them in contact with me? Readers, I call on you!

Third, dubious debt collectors

Recently there is an increase in problems with dubious debt collectors. It is important that readers know how to act when confronted with a debt collector. Of course, one is obliged to pay ones debts, but only if the debt is realistically yours and even then in a reasonable manner.

So, if an incassobureau (collection agency) sends a letter saying you did not pay for something while you should have, always check whether this is true. If you are on good grounds, believing that you do not have to pay, then it is important send the incassobureau an e-mail, a fax or a letter by registered mail, explaining why you believe you do not have to pay. Keep a copy of this reaction and the evidence that you sent it.

This is not always easy, so for this first step my advice is to ask the help of the people at Het Juridisch Loket (The Legal Counter) who are capable and always nearby. Go to https://www.juridischloket.nl/ or call 0900-8020 to make an appointment at the nearest Loket.

If the debt is real and must be paid, the people from the Loket can help you with negotiating an agreement on payment in installments. If the debt is not realistic and it is about a contested amount of money of at least Euro 250.-  you can ask a lawyer to support you. The people from Het Juridisch Loket will help you to find a lawyer if needed. Of course you can also ask us for support in such cases.

This is even more the case when the first phase as mentioned above has been over. By that time you will receive a “dagvaarding” (summons) from the bailiff. You are summoned for a court hearing at a certain day and time. If one does not seek legal aid timely to sort out the problem and if needed to defend your case in court, the court will give a “verstekvonnis” (default judgment) and basically decide that since you did not undertake the correct actions, you have nothing to say in defense, so the claim against you will be granted. You will have to pay the court fees, the cost of the bailiff and the cost that the debt collector had to make to get the court judgment. The added costs will increase the debt exponentially.

So, if you get a letter from an incassobureau or even a dagvaarding, take action before it is too late. If you are dealing with a decent incassobureau or bailiff, it’s often possible to make an arrangement for paying in installments. If you pay your installments, they will put the procedure on hold to avoid unnecessary costs piling up.

However, be aware that there are dubious debt collectors focused on making as much money as possible by any means. They are masters in this game, so do not be foolish by avoiding the confrontation. If you do not confront these companies by taking appropriate action, you will lose and end up with a final debt, which, based on the court judgment can be collected by selling your properties and so on.

Whatever you do, it is not an option to do nothing and hope the problem goes away by itself.

Our office might be able to help in cases like these, but please first ask Het Juridisch Loket for free of charge support. It is much better so because a lawyer is only needed in cases where Het Juridisch Loket cannot help you.

What to do when you want to visit our office?

Readers who are in need of legal support are welcome to visit our office for free consultation. This of course, only after you made an appointment. For an appointment call 070 427 3215 and explain to our Secretary what your question is.

Do not hold information back because our Secretary will decide if and when an appointment is possible and which of our lawyers is best qualified for the specific problem.

When you come to the appointment, bring all information that is available. Only then can we judge the case and do make good use of the time.

*A.G. Kleijweg ǀ Advocatenkantoor Kleijweg, Koninginnegracht 22 A, 2514 AB Den Haag ǀ Tel: +31 (70) 317 7700 ǀ www.advocatenkantooorkleijweg.nl ǀ mail@advocatenkantoorkleijweg.nl

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