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How to Write a Letter of Demand

Are you a creditor in Australia who is struggling to collect a debt from a debtor, and you are looking for information on How to write a letter of demand?

If so, it may be time for you to consider sending a letter of demand to your debtor to start taking some real action on this issue!

A well written letter of demand is a legal letter that you can send out to an individual to demand that they take action or refrain from doing something in particular.

In the case of debt collection and sending a debtor a letter of demand, you will be sending the letter to demand payment of the debt in question.

However, a letter of demand may be a foreign concept to you and something that you are not entirely sure how to form yourself.

It is important, however, that you have a good understanding of what a letter of demand should look like before you begin writing it, as it is vital that you get the necessary content and general inclusions of a letter of demand in order for it to serve its purpose.

But how do I know and how can I write my letter of demand?

In this article our Australian debt collectors will discuss some basic inclusions and answer some questions you may have about a letter of demand so that you can ensure that you are utilising this great legal tool effectively!

How to Write a Letter of Demand

When you are considering learning how to write a letter of demand, the first concern or question that you may have is if you can write a letter of demand on your own.

After all, some creditors will not have the desire or resources to hire a lawyer at the current moment, so it might be a key concern of yours!

The answer is yes, you can absolutely write a letter of demand yourself without hiring a lawyer or seeking any form of legal assistance.

However, a letter of demand written by a lawyer is generally more effective, as the simple presence of the letterhead of a law firm on your letter of demand can show that you mean business.

Depending on your intentions for the letter of demand, it can be very effective to create one yourself, and can better suit your needs in some circumstances, so it is helpful to know that you can do it yourself if you wish!

How to Write a Basic Letter of Demand

Now that you are aware that you can indeed write a letter of demand by yourself, the next question that you are likely asking is regarding how this can be done.

This is a great question, as it can be difficult to create a letter of demand or an effective letter of demand, that fulfils all of the requirements!

Here, we will provide you with a basic guide on how you can create your letter of demand.

Type your letter

The first thing that you should do when writing a letter of demand is make sure that you type it on a computer.

Although this is more of a tip than something that you should directly include in the letter, it is still important and worth mentioning.

After all, when many think of a letter, they think of something that has been handwritten! You should ensure that you type up your letter on a computer; do not handwrite it.

This is simply to make it look more official and proper than if you were to handwrite it. If you do not have access to a computer or printer, consider heading to your local library.

Concisely review the main facts

Another key step that you should follow when writing a letter of demand is to concisely review the key facts of the matter the demand is regarding.

A letter of demand can be a confronting thing to receive as a debtor, especially if they lack understanding of what it means or why you are sending it in the first place!

For this reason, it is important that you include a concise and effective summary of the matter and the reasons that the letter is necessary.

You should include all relevant information and ensure that you are ready to be contacted if necessary.

This being said, ensure that you do not flood the letter with information that will likely not be needed, as this will just confuse your debtor.

Be polite

Another key step that you should follow when writing a letter of demand is to be polite and professional within the letter.

Politeness takes you a long way in business, as we are sure you are aware. By ensuring that you are pleasant and professional within the letter and avoid appearing aggressive or angry, you will likely create a more effective letter that better achieves what you want it to achieve.

Write with your goal in mind

Another key step that you should follow when writing a letter of demand is to write with your goals for the letter in mind.

When you are creating a letter of demand, there are several things that you may be looking for from it, which will vary depending on your client and the nature of your matter.

Whatever it is that you aiming to achieve from your letter, keep this at the forefront of your mind as you write it, so that you can ensure that you are hitting all of the elements that are necessary for that goal to be achieved.

Ask for exactly what you want

Another key step that you should follow when writing a letter of demand is to be direct with what you are looking for.

Although politeness is important when you are writing your letter of demand, do not try to avoid stating exactly what you want and how this will look.

Your letter of demand is to demand something; make sure that is evident from the content of the letter!

Set a deadline

Another key step that you should follow when writing a letter of demand is to set a deadline for an answer and fulfilment of the terms.

A letter of demand must have a reasonable start and end date. For your demand to be fulfilled, ensure that you set it to be complete or otherwise acknowledged within a certain period of time.

Do, however, ensure that this time is reasonable and that they have adequate time to fulfil their demand.

Close the letter by stating that, if the other party does not fulfil the demand present in the letter, you will pursue legal alternatives and solutions.

Make and keep copies

Another key step that you should follow when writing a letter of demand is to make and keep copies of the letter.

This tip is pretty self-explanatory but be sure to create and keep copies of your letter of demand.

If the other party does not fulfil the terms of the demand within the time stated in the letter, you will be able to use the letter of demand in legal circumstances to prove that they had ample opportunity to pay their debt.

Sing and send your letter

Another key step that you should follow when writing a letter of demand is to send your letter properly.

Make sure that the letter is sent by the regular postal service in your area, which will be the Australian postal service for Australians, and that you track the package so that you can see that it has arrived.

What Happens if the Debtor Ignores the Letter of Demand?

So, you have created and sent out your letter of demand, waited the time stated in the letter for payment, and are still yet to be paid or to receive contact from the debtor.

What is your next step? Well, as we alluded to earlier, it is likely time for you to take legal action against the debtor!

You can attempt alternative dispute resolution techniques, such as mediation and arbitration.

However, if your debtor is particularly stubborn about not paying the debt, action in court may be the best choice for you!

Either way, you should seek the advice of a lawyer at this point in the process if you are yet to, as they can guide you in the right direction!

Step-by-Step - How to Write a Letter of Demand

Writing a letter of demand is a formal way of requesting someone to resolve a matter, often related to payment or compensation.

Here's a step-by-step guide to how to write a letter of demand:

  1. Heading:
    • Your Name
    • Your Address
    • Your Phone Number
    • Date

    Recipient's Name Recipient's Address

  2. Reference: Mention any relevant reference numbers, invoice numbers, or account numbers that pertain to the matter at hand.
  3. Subject: "Letter of Demand" or "Formal Demand for Payment."
  4. Introduction: Start by explaining the purpose of the letter.
    • E.g., "I am writing to formally request payment for an outstanding debt owed to me..."
  5. Details of the Matter:
    • Describe the product or service provided.
    • Mention the date of the transaction or when the service was provided.
    • Include the agreed-upon amount for the product or service.
    • State the amount currently outstanding.
  6. Previous Attempts: Detail any previous attempts you've made to resolve the issue.
    • E.g., "Despite my two previous letters and three phone calls to your office, the amount remains unpaid."
  7. Deadline for Payment: Clearly specify a deadline by which you expect the payment or action.
    • E.g., "I expect payment to be made in full within 14 days of the date of this letter."
  8. Consequences of Non-Payment: Explain the consequences if the demand is not met by the deadline.
    • This might include legal action, reporting to credit agencies, or other measures.
  9. Enclosures: If you're including copies of previous correspondence, invoices, contracts, or any other relevant documentation, list them here.
  10. Conclusion: Express hope for a resolution without further actions.
    • E.g., "I hope we can resolve this matter amicably and without the need for further legal action."
  11. Signature:
  • Sign the letter.
  • Print your name below the signature.
  1. Postscript (if necessary): If there's any additional, crucial information, you can add a postscript after your signature.

Key Takeaways

1. Purpose of a Letter of Demand:

  • A tool to demand action or refrain from a specific action from the recipient.
  • In debt collection, it demands payment of the outstanding debt.

2. Writing a Letter of Demand:

  • You Can Do It Yourself: It's possible to write a letter of demand without a lawyer, though having a lawyer might make it more impactful.
  • Basic Steps:
    • Type the Letter: Ensure it is typed and not handwritten for a professional appearance.
    • Review Main Facts: Provide a concise summary of the matter and reasons for the letter.
    • Be Polite: Maintain a professional and polite tone throughout the letter.
    • State Your Goal: Clearly outline what you want to achieve with the letter.
    • Be Direct: Clearly state what you are demanding.
    • Set a Deadline: Provide a reasonable timeframe for the recipient to fulfill the demand.
    • Keep Copies: Retain copies of the letter for potential future legal use.
    • Send Properly: Use a reliable postal service and consider tracking the package.

3. Structure of a Letter of Demand:

  • Heading: Your details and the recipient's details.
  • Reference: Pertinent numbers related to the matter.
  • Subject: Clearly labelled as a "Letter of Demand" or similar.
  • Introduction: Explanation of the letter’s purpose.
  • Details: Description of the product/service, transaction date, agreed amount, and outstanding amount.
  • Previous Attempts: Mention of past attempts to resolve the issue.
  • Deadline: A clear deadline for payment or action.
  • Consequences: Explanation of consequences if the demand is not met.
  • Enclosures: List of any enclosed documents.
  • Conclusion: Hopeful note for resolution without further action.
  • Signature: Your signature and printed name.
  • Postscript: Additional crucial information if necessary.

4. Post Sending Actions:

  • If the debtor ignores the letter, legal action or alternative dispute resolution techniques like mediation and arbitration might be considered.
  • Seeking legal advice at this stage is recommended.

Letter of Demand for Debt Collection - 3 Tips

A letter of demand is a great first step in getting paid from a debtor with an outstanding debt.

Are you a creditor with a debtor that will not pay you what they owe? If so, you are likely feeling incredibly frustrated and may not know how to proceed from your current point.

If this is the case for you, you may wish to consider using a letter of demand to help you recover your debt.

A letter of demand is a great tool to use to do one of two things:

  1. receive payment from your debtor; or
  2. inform them of what is to come.

A letter of demand does, however, carry some legal weight, so it is important that you know how to effectively write one before you begin this process.

In this article our debt collectors will discuss what a letter of demand is and 3 ways to ensure it is effective and proper in the eyes of the law.

What is a Letter of Demand?

So, what exactly is a letter of demand?

A letter of demand is a tool used by many creditors to warn clients to pay the debts they are owed.

This is generally a tool used only as a last resort as it is simply not required if debtors comply and pay their debts as agreed upon.

A letter of demand is used to establish your legal position against the other side and inform them of the consequences that will take place if they continue to not make payments.

It should state your rights within the law and demand that the payment takes place within a certain time period.

Setting a time limit is optional but can ensure that the debt is paid to your preference as it has not been in the past.

If you set a time limit on the debt and it is disregarded, you will usually proceed to take action within a court, an action that should be disclosed within the letter of demand.

A letter of demand can be extremely useful to you as a creditor as it places pressure on your debtor to make the payment.

It also acts as proof against many claims a debtor may make in their defence if it does result in court action, as you can prove that they knew the terms of the debt and were warned of the consequences of non-compliance.

Tips for Writing a Demand Letter

This article will outline three (3) tips for effective drafting of a letter of demand, including:

  1. Be Professional
  2. Be Informative
  3. Don’t be Unreasonable

We will explain these in more detail below.

Be Professional

For starters, you should ensure that you are remaining 100% professional when writing a demand, as you should with all client interactions, to make it an effective letter.

When a client continues to ignore your payment requests, it is easy to become frustrated.

This is likely the case if you are sending a letter of demand in the first place, but it is important that you stay professional in your language within the letter.

You should avoid language or phrases that will likely come off to a reasonable person as rude, aggressive, threatening, or offensive in order for the letter to be effective. Why you may ask?

Well, first of all, the debtor is more likely to pay someone who does not insult them as a pose to someone who does.

Furthermore, coming across as aggressive or threatening poses a threat to your reputation as a creditor and may not hold up too well if your matter goes to court.

No matter how much you dislike the client, try your hardest to remain as professional as possible to get the most out of the letter.

Be Informative

Another great tip when trying to write an effective letter of demand that does what it is intended is to ensure you are being informative and detailed.  This tip may seem a little unnecessary.

Why would I want to spend more of my time adding a lot of information to the letter when I’ve already had time wasted by this debtor?

Well, making sure that you include as much relevant information as possible can ensure your letter is as effective as it can be.

If your matter does eventually end up in a courtroom, a judge will be more likely to award you with your money if you have included details about key dates, invoices, and other information, in the letter. 

So, what should I include in the letter? There are several details that you should include in a letter of demand, such as:

  • Your full name and address
  • If the debt belongs to a business, the title and address of the business
  • A detailed description of the deceptive behaviours you believe has taken place, including dates and evidence if applicable
  • Any laws broken or believed to be broken over the course of the ordeal
  • Any damages you have experienced due to the ordeal
  • Your demands, including when and how you wish for the other party to respond.

Don’t be Unreasonable

Another tip for writing an effective demand letter is to ensure you are being reasonable with your demands.

As much as it is tempting to demand your money back immediately or other potentially unmeetable criteria, this won’t always benefit you!

This is because after a debtor does not meet the criteria discussed in a letter of demand, you will usually proceed to a courtroom to get what you want, something that should be stated in the letter.

Proceeding to trial is not always the best option, however, as it is an expensive and time-consuming ordeal.

Get a Letter of Demand from a Debt Collection Agency

Are you struggling to write your demand? Or maybe you want to try one last route before a letter of demand? Either way, hiring a debt collector can be helpful to you.

A debt collection agency can write your letter of demand for you, so you do not have to take more of your time to do so.

They will also likely have more experience with demand letters, which can ensure that your letter is as effective as it can be.

Furthermore, before sending a letter of demand you may wish to try debt collection to receive payment.

Debt collectors are professionals and may find more success with debt recovery than you will as a creditor.

How to Write a Letter of Demand FAQ

In this FAQ section, we delve into the essential aspects of writing a Letter of Demand, providing you with a comprehensive guide and addressing common queries that may arise during the process. From the fundamental elements that constitute the letter to the subsequent steps following its dispatch, our aim is to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate through this pivotal phase in debt recovery.

What is a letter of demand?

A letter of demand is a legal letter sent to an individual or entity to demand action or to refrain from doing something specific. In the context of debt collection, it is sent to demand payment of the outstanding debt.

Can I write a letter of demand without a lawyer?

Yes, you can write a letter of demand without hiring a lawyer or seeking legal assistance. However, a letter drafted by a lawyer might be more effective due to the professional letterhead and legal language used.

What should be the format of a letter of demand?

A letter of demand should be typed and not handwritten to maintain a professional and official appearance. It should concisely review the main facts, be polite and professional, clearly state what is being demanded, set a reasonable deadline, and mention the intention to pursue legal actions if the demand is not met.

What key information should be included in the letter of demand?

The letter should include a concise summary of the matter, relevant information about the debt, clear demand for payment, a reasonable deadline for fulfilling the demand, and a statement indicating that legal action will be pursued if the demand is not met.

How should I send the letter of demand?

The letter of demand should be sent via the regular postal service, preferably with package tracking, to ensure that it has been received by the debtor.

How should I conclude a letter of demand?

Close the letter by stating that if the debtor does not fulfill the demand within the specified timeframe, you will pursue legal alternatives and solutions.

What should I do if the debtor ignores the letter of demand?

If the debtor ignores the letter and does not fulfill the demand within the stipulated time, you may pursue legal action or attempt alternative dispute resolution techniques, such as mediation and arbitration.

Why is it important to be polite and professional in a letter of demand?

Maintaining politeness and professionalism in a letter of demand is crucial to ensure effective communication and to avoid appearing aggressive or confrontational, which may hinder the possibility of amicable resolution.

Why should I keep copies of the letter of demand?

Keeping copies of the letter of demand is essential as it can be used in legal circumstances to prove that the debtor was given ample opportunity to settle the debt and was informed of the consequences of non-payment.

What should I do after sending the letter of demand?

After sending the letter, wait for the time stated in the letter for payment or a response. If there is no response or payment, consider seeking legal advice and potentially taking legal action against the debtor.

How to Write a Letter of Demand - Useful Resources 

Writing a Letter of Demand | Small Business Development Corporation

  1. Description: This resource provides insights into writing a letter of demand without requiring a lawyer and offers a free template for download. It also provides guidance on what to do if the debtor ignores the letter and how to proceed with legal actions if necessary.
  2. Key Takeaway: A letter of demand should be clear, concise, and not appear as a legal document. It should state the deadline for payment and indicate that legal action will be pursued if the demand is not met.

What is a Letter of Demand and When to Use It | NSW Small Business Commissioner

  1. Description: This resource explains what a letter of demand is and provides guidance on when to use it. It also discusses what should be included in the letter and suggests steps to take if the money is not paid by a specified date.
  2. Key Takeaway: A letter of demand is a crucial tool in debt recovery and should be used judiciously with clear statements regarding the debt and subsequent actions if the demand is not met.

Letter of Demand Template | Business Victoria

  1. Description: Business Victoria provides a downloadable letter of demand template that can be used as a reference or resource for businesses looking to draft their own letters of demand.
  2. Key Takeaway: Having a template can streamline the process of creating a letter of demand, ensuring that all necessary elements are included.

Sample Templates and Letters | State Library of NSW - Find Legal Answers

  1. Description: This resource provides sample templates and letters, including responses to a letter of demand, which can be useful for individuals or businesses dealing with debt-related issues.
  2. Key Takeaway: Responding to a letter of demand should be done formally and clearly, stating the position regarding the debt and any disagreements or clarifications needed.

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