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The Final Demand
By Michael C. Dennis, MBA, CBF

Business Collection Tips
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Final Notice

I recently received a final demand notice from a Supplier.  After I read it, I sent it to our A/P Manager.  Whenever I receive something from another credit department, I try to see what I can learn from them.  In this case, there was essentially nothing to learn.  The final demand letter was too long, and it took more than a paragraph to get to the point.  Add in the fact that it was addressed to the “Credit Manager” rather than to our A/P Manager, or the Controller or CFO, and it was even more of a mess.

Our basic demand letter says this:  “As of today, there is a balance past due of $x.  I hoped this matter could be resolved amicably, but I am almost out of time.  If payment in full is not received within ten days, your account will be placed with a third party for immediate collection or legal action.”

More broadly, I think the keys to generating effective correspondence include:

  • Making certain your message is clear and concise;
  • Not repeating yourself;
  • Avoiding the use of jargon;
  • Sending correspondence directly to an individual – never to a job title;
  • Indicating the action you need the recipient to take, and the deadline for completing it;
  • Not being overly formal;
  • Trying to appeal to the reader’s needs;
  • Keeping your message brief and professional;
  • Using templates for routine correspondence.

Published on 22 September 2013, Covering Credit Commentary

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