Formal Letter of Demand
Sending a formal letter of demand is the first legal step you take to collect a debt. It requests that the debt be paid by a certain date and outlines the consequences should the demand not be met. The letter serves as a final warning to the debtor and because of its formal nature, should you decide to commence legal proceedings, it demonstrates to the court that you took all reasonable steps to recover the debt.
There are a number of elements which must be satisfied in a letter of demand.
- It must be clearly addressed to the borrower
- You must date the letter, so that it’s clear when you took the first step of recovery
- You must outline the details of the debt and the date by which it needs to be paid.
The letter should also advise the lender of the consequences of not meeting their repayment obligations by the date provided. Only threaten legal action if you are in a position to follow through with the assertion.
Generally, a debtor will respond to your Letter of Demand in some capacity. You will the need to decide on the course of action, whether to negotiate repayment of the debt or not. If the borrower isn’t in the position to repay the debt in full, you could consider offering a repayment plan whereby the pay what they owe in instalments. Although not ideal, it makes sense to reach a solution rather than end up in court which is expensive and time consuming.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative Dispute Resolution which includes mediation, conciliation and arbitration, is a cost effective and efficient way to resolve the issue and collect your debt without going to court. It’s good to know that ADR can be commenced even if you have already begun legal proceedings on a certain matter.
It’s important to know your options so you can ensure you recover what you are owed in the easiest way possible. Remember, court should be your last resort.