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When You've Got to Get Tough to Get Paid

Debt Collection Letter #1: Mr. Nice Guy

Which would you rather do: collect past-due accounts or go to the dentist for a root canal? Well, for many of us, it's an easy choice -- get that needle ready! But avoiding debt collection will only complicate the collection process later. Even though it's like pulling teeth, you need to respond briskly to past-due accounts.

When you make that first contact for a past-due account, it doesn't have to be confrontational or hand-delivered by your body-builder cousin, Rocky, who has shady looks and shadier connections. Rather, your first contact can be cordial, yet clearly reminding the customer the account is past due.

To get an idea of how to write such a letter (or phrases to use in a phone call), take a look at the sample letter below. Feel free to use it in your collection process. Remember, don't put it off! The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

April 8, 2000

I.M. Bizzowner
Talk-to-Me Communications
2334 Main Street
Radio City, OR 97696

Lisa Cook
Harmony Catering
225 Barber Street
Radio City, OR 97696

Dear Lisa Cook:

This is a quick reminder to let you know that your account with us is past due. The amount of $125 for services rendered on March 3, 2000 was due on April 1, 2000 per invoice #3456. Please pay this amount by April 30, 2000 to avoid late payment penalties.

If you have already sent payment for this invoice, please disregard this letter and accept our thanks for your payment. We appreciate doing business with you and look forward to doing so in the future.

Sincerely,

I.M. Bizzowner

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Debt Collection Letter #2: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Now, if the first friendly reminder doesn't clinch payment by the date you've specified, then give Rocky a call! No! Just kidding! Don't despair. Send a second reminder letter with a firmer tone and call to action. Keep copies of the reminder letters in the customer files as well as a phone log of any follow-up phone conversations. This will make it easier to write your collection letters accurately.

Here's a second reminder letter sample for your debt-collection process. Feel free to download it. Seeing now that you can do this debt-collection stuff, you can go ahead and cancel Rocky's services!

May 1, 2000

I.M. Bizzowner
Talk-to-Me Communications
2334 Main Street
Radio City, OR 97696

Lisa Cook
Harmony Catering
225 Barber Street
Radio City, OR 97696

Dear Lisa Cook:

This is the second reminder notice to inform you that your account with us is still past due. On April 10, 2000, I sent you a notice requesting payment for invoice #3456 by April 30. We did not receive your payment and therefore charged the $10.00 late penalty to your account. You now owe $135.

Please pay this amount immediately to avoid further penalties.

If there is a reason why you cannot make this payment immediately, please call me to work out some sort of payment schedule. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

I.M. Bizzowner

 

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