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Debt

If bills for the purchase of goods and services or loan instalments are not paid, action may be taken to recover the debt through debt collection. Debt collection leads to increased interest and other expenses, and it may eventually lead to repossession or the forced sale of a house, car etc. It is therefore important to contact the creditor/lender as soon as possible after payment problems arise to try to negotiate a manageable repayment plan. If your financial situation is particularly difficult, it is possible to agree a debt settlement arrangement.

It can also be a good idea to inform the debt collection agency that you are in contact with the creditor/lender about arranging a repayment plan, and to request that the debt collection be put on hold until further notice. Further debt collection costs can thereby be avoided.

Debt settlement arrangements

The purpose of a debt settlement arrangement is to give people with serious debt problems an opportunity to regain control of their finances. For example, a debt settlement can mean that the debtor is given an extension on the repayment of the entire amount or part of the amount, that the creditor in whole or in part waives interest or charges, or that the debt is cancelled in whole or in part.

The most common arrangement is that the debtor pays back as much as he/she can during a five-year period. During this period, the debtor must set aside that part of his/her net income (income after tax) that exceeds the amount required for living expenses and to support themselves and their family. The remaining amount is divided between the creditors. The debtor is usually debt-free after this five-year period. 

Debt settlement arrangements are administered by an execution and enforcement officer (‘namsmannen’). In the following municipalities, the enforcement authority is called a ‘namsfogd’: Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, Fredrikstad, Skedsmo, Asker and Bærum, Tønsberg and Nøtterøy, Kristiansand, Sandnes, and Tromsø and Karlsøy. In the rest of the country, the local police act as execution and enforcement authorities.

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