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How do I go about submitting a request for debt enforcement?

The first step the creditor (the person to whom money is owed) should take is to submit a request for debt enforcement proceedings to be opened and for the debt to be recovered from the debtor (the person who owes the money).

Debt enforcement office

As the creditor, you should submit the request for enforcement to the debt enforcement office in the place where the debtor lives. If the debtor is a legal entity, you should submit the request to the enforcement office where the company is based. The enforcement office will then issue a payment summons (an order to pay the outstanding debt) to the debtor.

List of debt enforcement offices

Request for debt enforcement

In the request for debt enforcement you, the creditor, should give the following information:

  • your name and full address,
  • name and full address of the debtor
  • the amount of money owed (in CHF),
  • the document evidencing the debt (contract, invoice, order, etc.) or, if no documents are available, the reason the credit was given.

Submitting a request for debt enforcement online

The federal administration has a convenient online debt enforcement portal where you can fill in the request form online and then print it out.

How much do debt enforcement proceedings cost?

The creditor has to advance the costs, which vary depending on the amount in the payment summons.

Can I try to collect debt from a person who lives abroad?

This is only possible if the person has assets in Switzerland and the creditor has had these assets seized or has a lien on them (the assets are used as collateral for the amount owed). It is also possible if the debtor agrees to debt enforcement proceedings being opened.

What if the debtor is a minor or has a deputy?

If the debtor is a minor, or has a deputy or guardian, you should apply to the debt enforcement office where the debtor’s legal representative, deputy or guardian lives.