Q:

How do you write a letter to collect a debt?

A:

A collection letter should be written in a clear and nonthreatening manner to help keep the communication civil and the customer responsive. The longer a debt remains due, the lower the chances are of receiving payment.

  1. Greet the recipient

    Even though this is a collection letter, it should still be friendly. A positive tone is more likely to keep the customer cooperative instead of putting the debtor on the defensive. Greet the debtor cordially with "Dear," and follow it by his name.

  2. Start with the letter's purpose

    In this case, the reason for the letter is that the person owes money, so clearly state it as soon as possible. Delaying or obscuring the purpose only increases the likelihood of a misunderstanding. State exactly how much is owed and when it is expected.

  3. Follow up with more information

    The next part of the letter should give more information about the debt, such as the date of purchase or a summary of the services received. If a self-addressed stamped envelope is included, then mention it here.

  4. Give the customer options

    Some customers forget to pay, some don't want to pay and some have trouble paying the full balance at once. Instances of the latter are easily resolved by offering a few payment options or by telling the customer to call to address payment concerns.

  5. Thank the customer for the payment

    Thanking the customer for the payment clearly lets him know what is expected in response to the letter. It is also another gesture of good that helps keep the customer cooperative.

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