Home – New Forums Money matters How to write a last friendly email before sending out a final letter of demand?

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  • #987793
    ricdel
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    I have been waiting for a payment from a client and the payment has been delayed a few times. I want to send him a last friendly reminder giving him an indication that I may take legal action against him. I just don’t want to send out a final letter of demand yet. Just want to be cordial so that he understands my intentions.

    Can I say something like “I may take this matter further…….”? Does that indicate my intention of a legal action?

    Do I have to include a new due date in the friendly letter? And if he does not pay by that date, in my final letter of demand, do I put in another due date before commencing a court action?

    #1164366
    affgar
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    Make sure you take the appropriate steps to be able to initiate legal action.

    I am pretty sure emails may not cut it.

    I would normally go registered mail to the person in question. You need to send them a certain number of letters seeking the amount owed. Then you need to follow up with a letter of demand. Then if they have not acted within the correct time frame, only then should you start legal proceedings.

    Head to local court etc .. etc .. Or go to debt collector.

    You want to understand all of this stuff. It will help you issue better invoices. It will help you understand the contractual arrangement you are engaging in with every customer (you need to spell out the contract). Or simply put, you will put the right stuff on your invoices to make them legally binding in a more comprehensive manner.

    One bad payer … I know what it feels like. It sucks. Lucky me, I have only been screwed for around $10k when I dropped my guard.

    Progress payments, upfront/deposit payments where possible, early settlement discounts.

    Get this stuff right & you will minimise your damage & the stress it causes.

    #1164367
    LucasArthur
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    Hi Ricdel

    Sorry to hear re the issue… As you appear to be at the point of issuing this final payment reminder, i would generally request more information before advising what to do… like:
    1. is it a regular client
    2. what are the initial payment terms that are (and how) agreed to
    3. how overdue is it
    4. how will this affect your business with this client, if a regular, moving forward.. its very difficult to forget a final letter of demand even if client is the problem they do not see it this way or will be shamed in using you again? (not knowing what you do has an impact on the answers as well)…

    I know its a bit silly with these queries, because if you are owed money and you need the money its never a good spot to be in.. We recently had a client (12 months ago) that used to buy from us ever other week and then took 3 months to settle one account (we run 14 day terms with this client) and we had to chase them, asking for our money, blame attributed to us for a returned payment they made to an old account etc etc.. moral of story, we have NEVER heard from them again and phone calls are unreturned.. although we did nothing wrong as it was an account to be settled, either they feel ashamed that they didnt pay or didnt appreciate us asking for our money :(

    Above is not being said to prevent you asking for your account, but have you asked them why its overdue? explained the ramifications on your business if they dont settle? asked for a commitment date that it will be settled (and if not settled this will provide no surprises to the client when you commence chasing it) and so forth.

    Although not legal advice, tact is sometimes useful – and sounds like you are already deploying that.. without more info, it may be hard to offer complete advice although in response to your question “Can I say something like “I may take this matter further…….”? Does that indicate my intention of a legal action?” If you say this be ready to follow it up as there is nothing worse that a bear with no teeth! It is basically a threat that you will do this, so think about what happens or what path you will need to go down should the payment not come to fruition and be sure you are ready for it…

    Good luck
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1164368
    ricdel
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    Hi Jason
    I will answer some of your questions below.

    SimplyReplica, post: 190160 wrote:
    1. is it a regular client
    2. what are the initial payment terms that are (and how) agreed to
    3. how overdue is it
    4. how will this affect your business with this client, if a regular, moving forward.. its very difficult to forget a final letter of demand even if client is the problem they do not see it this way or will be shamed in using you again? (not knowing what you do has an impact on the answers as well)…

    1. Yes kind of. I have done a few projects for them in the past. After this non-payment of the last invoice, I have stopped all work. They haven’t sent me any work either.

    2. Since it wasn’t a massive job, we just communicated through email. There was no contract agreement signed but I have all the communication (email) evidence.

    3. It’s over a month. I am willing to wait a few more weeks but I need to be sure if they are going to pay me.

    4. I certainly don’t want to lose clients but if they keep delaying, then I don’t mind losing such a client.

    I just want to send them a cordial email without sounding too formal but still giving them an indication of legal action. If they keep ignoring, I will certainly go to the small claims court. I was just wondering if I need to put a payment date in the cordial email? and if they fail to pay me by that date, do I put another due date in the final letter of demand? or should I wait a bit longer and give them a few more weeks?

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