Writing a formal demand letter? Read this first


Being in a state where you have to ask the opposition for your money is certainly not a pleasant place to be. If your first intuition says ‘rush to the court and file a lawsuit’, you need to think again. Once the decision is in the hands of a judge and jury, there are a lot of external factors that will have an influence on the decision. Not to forget the financial and time burden to hire an attorney and attend court proceedings. Considering the complexity, it’s highly likely that you will regret your decision in the process. But isn’t that the only option? NO.

Of Course there is always an option of litigation, but before that, you can also send the opposing party a final demand letter. Sometimes, you just need to inform the opponent that you REALLY want your payment. This letter would reflect that you are serious about your money and that you wouldn’t shy away from filing a lawsuit if needed.

Here’s everything you need to know on how to structure the demand letter.

List out a detailed description of your reasons

While writing a formal demand letter, the primary thing you must keep in mind is that you need to lay out all the reasons. Most of you will question its viability since both parties are already well aware of the events’ occurrence. This is majorly important because of two reasons: First, it is always better to have a clear description of the events in writing. And two, if the discussion ends up in court, the judge or the jury is sure to read the letter and then it will serve as a legitimate evidence describing all the circumstances in detail.

Stay calm and be polite

Let me tell you one paraphrase that still holds true in its truest of forms: If you are right, you don’t need to be angry, and if you are wrong, you don’t have any right to be angry. Long story short, just stay calm and be polite irrespective of the circumstances.

Understand that there is a difference between you and your opponent and that is INTENT. You want your money back and the opponent wants to escape the payment that is legally yours. Always keep this in mind when writing a letter. Instead of showing your anger, show them the other side of the story if they don’t pay you back. Show them that the dispute would become public, the consequences of which might not be pleasant.

Be to-the-point

You can write a demand letter covering every aspect of the dispute, from when they borrowed money from you to what would happen if the dispute becomes public, and still miss the most important point. That is, asking for what you want.

A letter with a detailed description of events will only get it out of the window. Remember, the letter is about demanding the money that is lawfully yours, so don’t forget to add a part that specifically talks about the payment. Don’t beat around the bush to ask for the amount that you desire, state and figure and then list reasons and calculations. Ensure that you are writing everything that you want along with the procedure to repay.

Don’t forget it’s business

You cannot avoid the importance of being professional. You can be writing to a friend or a family relation, but being professional can never go out of bounds. For instance, a handwritten letter is never the right choice when you are talking business. Type it out. If you have a personal computer, well and good, if not, take the help of personal services, but do not write the letter.

Try and threaten them (subtly)

When you write a letter, you are offering a choice to your opponent i.e. either they can settle the claim by accepting your demands or face the consequences of non-payment. Thus, it’s vital that you make it clear that if the opponent is doesn’t accept your demands until the specified time limit, you will knock the legal doors and sue them in small claims court.

Wrapping up!

Now that we have reached the extreme end of this content piece, I would like to wrap up with one last statement: Remember, writing the letter is halfway of the task, how you write is the other. Thus, read these points carefully and I am sure you will be able to dodge the hassle of legal claims at least in some of your small debts. 

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