Demand letters, you may have either gotten one or you need to create one. They are letters of request often made before any lawsuit is started. In other words, it is the other party’s last effort to get the payment, services, or goods that are required before they take you to court. For example that late electric bill notices you got that says you need to pay your overdue bill now. It’s a demand letter. Therefore demand letters are often used by businesses, and corporations sent in an effort to collect money or service owed to them.
What Does a Demand Letter Entail?
While it is not advised to try to draft one yourself. Most seek out a lawyer or some form of legal counsel to help in coming up with one. Being threatening, rude, or requesting some unreasonable amount of money in your letter can look negatively on you especially if you do end up having to take your case to court. There are also laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other certain State and Federal laws too to be aware of. Normally these type of letters include:
- The issue and dispute
- How to resolve the dispute
- The deadline time you are giving them to resolve the issue.
- The consequence is the resolution is not made.
If a lawsuit does happen these letters hold up in court seen as “An act of good faith,” to the courts and a judge’s view.
Writing Without a Lawyer
While it can be easier to have a lawyer help you write your letter (It does cost a fee to do so though.) you can choose to write it on your own without one. You can find templates online to help you get started, even guide you through it. Here is a list of some things a demand letter should entail helping you get started.
Have all your information tidy in a bow.
Know who you are writing too, and where it should be sent so that it reaches the right response.
Be chronological and concise.
When you start with your opening statement tell your story in the clearest and concise way of how the need for this dispute with the other party happened. For example, say someone requested a service from you and they did not pay. Here you would explain how you met then, that they requested your service, and how payment was agreed. Use and make copies of any documents and receipts, text conversations too that help showcase this you may even want to include it with your letter.
This leads us to length. While there is no set length requirement for a demand letter you do again want to keep it short concise and to the point. If you are writing and get to page 3 then you have written too much. Plus if you do have to file a lawsuit the judge will be thankful for your consciences.
Keep it professional and unattached.
Remember keep it professional too. Putting personal conflict along with hard feelings will only hinder your case if you have to take it to court. Address the other party with a request.
Having to go to court is never fun or cheap. The demand letter is an attempt to prevent this from happening. Filing a lawsuit should always be the last resort when all else fails.