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New hotline is the next step in stimulating large businesses to pay SMEs sooner

If a small or medium-sized business (SME, also known as SMB) is not paid within the agreed upon payment term by a larger business, it can file a report (including anonymously) with the temporary Late-payments Hotline (in Dutch: Meldpunt Achterstallige Betalingen) of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). With this hotline, the government wishes to get a better idea of how often large businesses fail to observe the payment terms vis-à-vis SMEs.

Last summer, Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, announced she wished to assess whether government oversight was needed over compliance with payment terms between large businesses and SMEs. Statistics show that invoices are paid later and later, rather than earlier.

In addition, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) and the Ministry of Justice & Security (J&V) are working on a bill proposing to reduce the maximum statutory payment term of large businesses to SMEs from 60 to 30 days.

If SMEs are paid in a timely manner, it will give them more financial breathing space, as well as a better overview of their cash positions. It is often difficult for smaller businesses to force larger businesses to comply with the agreed payment terms themselves.

Insight into payment behavior

With the creation of the temporary hotline, the Ministry of EZK wishes to gain more insight into the payment behavior of large businesses vis-à-vis SMEs, as well as into the affected SMEs’ willingness to file reports. That is why, at the request of State Secretary Keijzer, ACM will, for one year, collect reports involving large businesses that exceed the statutory or agreed upon payment terms. After one year, the Ministry of EZK will evaluate the reports, and decide whether or not government oversight will be introduced.

Late-payments Hotline

You can file a report by filling out the online form the website (in Dutch)