How to write a letter requesting money owed to you

Written by george lawrence
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When someone owes you money and it is clear that they are purposefully delaying or avoiding payment, it may be time to take legal action. Filing a collection lawsuit gets the court involved in settling the dispute, but it can be expensive and time-consuming. Before you file, consider sending a demand letter to the debtor; it may prompt them to pay and it could avoid a lawsuit.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Word Processor

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  1. 1

    Format the letter like a business letter; you want the appearance to professional and organised. According to Purdue University's Online Writing Lab, the letter should be block format -- the paragraphs are left justified and single spaced except for a double space between paragraphs.

  2. 2

    Write your address at the top of the letter. Include the date beneath your address. Type the recipient's address beneath the date.

  3. 3

    Begin the letter cordially with "Dear [Debtor's Name]." Keep the tone of the letter stern, but professional and polite.

  4. 4

    Explain the nature of the dispute briefly in the first paragraph. Reiterate how the debt arose and what efforts have been made to collect.

  5. 5

    Demand payment. Provide the exact amount owed and instruct the debtor to pay or respond within a certain time. Describe what you intend to do if the debtor fails to respond, such as file a lawsuit.

  6. 6

    Proof read the letter for spelling and grammar mistakes. Print the letter and sign it. Send the letter to the debtor.

Tips and warnings

  • While the letter should be stern and direct, it should not be threatening or degrading to the debtor. According to Legal Zoom, a threatening or degrading letter will only frustrate the process and the debtor may be able to use the letter against you if the matter goes to court.

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