Demand Letter Sample
This demand letter sample is available for free use on UpCounsel. Download this free demand letter template below and have it customized for your unique business legal needs today. Before pursuing legal action, it's wise to send the other party a short, clear letter, like the customizable one below, demanding money owed. If it does not result in a resolution, it at least acts as additional legal evidence in a court if delivered and recorded correctly. Consult an UpCounsel attorney for more details.
Re: Demand for Payment
To whom it may concern,
Please be advised that [Debtor] owes [Creditor] the sum of $_______ due to [Give Reason]. This will be [Debtor]'s only chance to settle this matter before [Creditor] files suit against [Debtor] in Small Claims Court.
[Creditor] is agreeable to a lump sum payment, or to a payment plan. Please contact me on or before [Due Date] for purposes of settling this matter. If I do not hear from [Debtor] on or before [Due Date], [Creditor] will file a lawsuit against [Debtor] without further notice. It is in [Debtor]'s best interest to settle this matter before a lawsuit is filed. If a judgment is obtained against [Debtor], it will negatively affect [Debtor]'s ability to get credit, [Debtor] will be ordered to pay court costs, and [Debtor] will incur interest at a rate of 10% per annum.
Based on the foregoing, I expect payment in the amount of $________ made payable to
Creditor’s Address no later than [Due
I can be reached at: [Provide
Your Phone Number].
decides to ignore this demand for payment, [Creditor]
will further pursue all of its legal remedies without further notice
This letter serves as evidence that [Creditor]
has attempted to resolve this matter informally.
This form has been prepared for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice, advertising, a solicitation, or tax advice. Transmission of this form and the information contained herein is not intended to create, and receipt thereof does not constitute formation of, an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon this document or information for any purpose without seeking legal advice from an appropriately licensed attorney, including without limitation to review and provide advice on the terms of this form, the appropriate approvals required in connection with the transactions contemplated by this form, and any securities law and other legal issues contemplated by this form or the transactions contemplated by this form.
Demand Letter: What Is It?
A demand letter is a formal letter that demands that the person to whom the letter is addressed performs a legal obligation such as fixing a problem that they have created, paying a sum of money, or acting on a contractual agreement. These letters can either serve as a solution to a dispute or as evidence in a small claims court.
Why Write a Demand Letter?
If you have tried to talk out your problems with the person in question but haven't reached a solution, your next step is to send them a letter. In many cases, courts require you to write a demand letter before you proceed with a case.
In as many as one-third of all disagreements, a demand letter will solve the issue at hand. If no settlement occurs, the letter gives you a good opportunity to put your case before the judge in an organized way.
For Example: You bought a suit from an online store and when it arrived it looked nothing like it did in the photos. The seller refuses to give you a refund and is no longer returning your phone calls or emails. You then write a demand letter explaining all of this and send it via certified mail. The seller doesn't respond. When you take them to court, the seller acts completely surprised, claiming, "I had no idea you had a problem with the suit - why didn't you say something before?" Your demand letter, with its complete explanation, can now be used as evidence to back up your side of the dispute, and it will make the buyer look less believable.
How to Write a Demand Letter
When writing a demand letter, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
- Type your letter. If you don't have access to a computer or a typewriter, it is advised that you go to a library or borrow from a friend. It makes the letter much more official and there will be no question that the person who receives the letter will be able to read it.
- Use a letterhead. This is another way of making the letter look official.
- Clearly explain the facts of the story. It might seem strange to explain to the other person everything about the problem when they may already know it, but it will be important to have everything written down in case you go to court. Be sure to talk about any communication you and your opponent have had throughout the disagreement including phone calls, emails, faxes, and snail-mail communication. Explain why you haven't come to an agreement yet.
- Be polite. Do not attack the other person in any way. Simply state the facts. Do not threaten or belittle the person you are talking to. Do not use words that convey frustration or anger.
- Ask for what you want. If it is money that you are after, explain exactly how much you feel they owe you. If you would like them to complete the work that you had initially agreed upon, then make that very clear. Explain why you feel this is what they owe you.
- Finish by stating what you will do if no action is taken. Conclude the letter by saying that if they do not reply or take action, then you will take them to court. If you have a personal relationship with this person, perhaps you might suggest that you meet in order to mediate the dispute. In some cases, it may also be valuable to mention that a judge ruling against them could negatively affect their credit rating.
- Make copies. Print out several copies of the letter and keep them for your own records. It is also important to keep all communication you receive from the other person.
- Send via certified mail. Send the letter with certified mail and a return receipt requested or require them to sign for the letter when it's delivered. If you do end up in court, you can use the receipt in case your opponent says he or she didn't receive the demand letter.
Below is a sample demand letter from a man who received something very different from what he originally paid for.
March 31, 2017
1456 Main Street
Albany, New York
Re: Demand for Refund
Dear Mr. Taylor,
On February 21, 2017, I ordered a gray pinstripe suit from your store. I was measured by you and fitted with some of your samples. I selected the fabrics, which you gave me a small sample of to take home. As I was going to be leaving town for business, I paid for the suit and the shipping, which together cost a total of $2,736, and drove home that afternoon. When I received the suit three weeks later, it did not fit around my waist and the fabric was not the same as the sample I had been given.
I have made six attempts to call and discuss this with you, and each time we speak, you hang up on me. Whenever I try to visit the shop, it is closed.
Please send me a check or money order for $2,736 on or before May 15th, 2017. I will happily return the suit once the payment has been received. If I do not receive payment by this date, I will file this case in small claims court. Assuming I receive a judgment, which will be part of the public record and available to credit agencies, I will promptly follow all legal avenues to collect payment. You may reach me during at any time of day on my mobile at 202-555-1234.
Returned Demand Letter
If the demand letter is returned to you unopened, it could mean that your records might be inaccurate or out of date. It could also mean that the person has moved, that they have gone out of business, or that they have left the community. If the letter goes undelivered, the person you are trying to recoup your money from gets a pass. This means that it is possible they will not have any liability.
It is incredibly important, if the letter is to stand-up in court, that it be received by the person you are sending it to. In some instances, it may be forwarded by the postal service to their new address. In this case, you will be informed of the new address. If one has not been left, you should do everything you can to legally obtain their new address.
Personal Injury Demand Letter
A personal injury demand letter is slightly different from the type of demand letter mentioned above; it is something you would write following an accident with another person, like a car crash. The letter is written to the other person's insurance adjuster and states that you are claiming monetary compensation.
The key elements should include:
- A summary of the facts surrounding the accident
- A confirmation of the insured person's liability in relation to the accident
- Details of all of the injuries and medical expenses incurred due to the accident
- A list of all expenses that you have had to pay for due to the injuries incurred
- A confirmation of any lost wages you suffered due to not being able to work
- A statement of your ongoing pain and any emotional distress you have been suffering
- Any supporting documents that help explain things better
- How much money you are demanding
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long should a demand letter be?
While there is no specific length required for a demand letter, the general rule is shorter is better. Be concise and explain the important details.
- Are demand letters really that helpful?
A demand letter can sometimes be the first time that the other party realizes that you are serious about collecting the money that is owed to you and that you will take the matter to court if necessary. If they are aware of your dispute, then the letter may finally make them realize that if they do not pay up or take action, then they will have to spend time and money to defend themselves.