Debt enforcement information: on 1 January 2019, the harassment will end

29 Nov 2018

The current Debt Enforcement Bankruptcy Act (DEBA) leaves the door wide open to arbitrariness and harassment. The Federal Council is putting an end to this unfairness with an amendment to the law that will come into force on 1 January 2019. It gives the victims of unjustified debt enforcement measures a means to defend themselves and takes the arbitrariness out of the system. This article explains how you can fend off dishonest and even malicious debt enforcement measures.

What a nightmare: someone has initiated debt enforcement proceedings against you and now your name is on the debt enforcement register. Your chances of getting a new apartment or a new job are now slim to non-existent. On the other hand, starting debt enforcement proceedings against somebody is very cheap and easy. All that’s needed is to fill in a form and pay a few francs. Guilt does not even have to be proven.

So it’s hardly surprising that some debt enforcement proceedings are unjustified. To make matters worse, your name stays on the debt enforcement register for five years, even if you’ve submitted a legal objection (“Rechtsvorschlag”).

How to deal with unjustified enforcement proceedings

Although nuisance proceedings tend to be an exception rather than the rule, some people find their lives seriously disrupted by unjustified debt enforcement measures. That will all be history from 1 January 2019.

How to deal with arbitrary enforcement orders:

  • If you receive an unjustified debt enforcement order, object to the claim within ten days by submitting a legal objection to the debt enforcement office.
  • Three months after receiving the enforcement order, submit an application requesting that the debt enforcement office be banned from providing information about this debt enforcement measure.
  • As soon as you have submitted this application, the creditor is given 20 days in which to prove that they initiated proceedings to remove the legal objection in time. If the creditor fails to provide such proof, the entry in the debt enforcement register will be made inaccessible to third parties.

The new law goes even further than this in assisting recipients of enforcement orders. You can now request creditors to provide detailed evidence of the alleged debt within ten days.

If there is no debt or it has been paid or deferred, you can now ask the court to determine that this is indeed the case. If the court rules in your favour, the debt enforcement office must either delete the entry in the debt enforcement register or withhold the information from third parties.

Overview of the changes

Art. 8a para. 3d DEBA

The right of third parties to consult the debt enforcement register has been restricted. After a period of three months, the person subject to debt enforcement proceedings may request the debt enforcement office to set the creditor a 20-day deadline to prove that they have initiated legal action to remove the legal objection (“Rechtsöffnungsverfahren”).

Art. 73 DEBA

The person subject to debt enforcement proceedings has the right to at any time request the presentation of proof of the debt claim, including an overview of all the debts that he/she must (allegedly) pay.

Art. 85a para. 1 DEBA

Irrespective of any legal objection, the person subject to debt enforcement proceedings has the right at any time to request the court to determine that the debt does not exist.

The 500 or so debt enforcement offices in Switzerland are currently re-programming their IT solutions. As soon as they are all functional, the amendment will come into force definitively.

Order debt enforcement information online

At, you can order debt enforcement information about companies and individuals quickly and easily online for CHF 28.50. So you don’t need to worry about which office to contact and what their opening hours are. will fully process your request on your behalf. You will receive a PDF excerpt from the debt enforcement register by e-mail.

Would you like to initiate fewer debt enforcement proceedings?

In the business world, a debt enforcement procedure can be the last resort for companies trying to get at their money. But it’s expensive and often unpleasant. To ensure things don’t get to that point in the first place, we have drawn up a downloadable information chart with nine top tips on how to obtain rapid payment.

So that your clients become reliable payers.


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