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How do I Write a Debt Collection Letter?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2016
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Writing a debt collection letter involves preparing a business letter that clearly identifies its purpose and adheres to your jurisdiction's laws for collection practices. You'll typically need to include information about the debt you are trying to collect and the amount that is due. In some countries, you may also be required to include language that gives the debtor 30 days to dispute the debt's validity and follow a standard debt collection letter format. While debt collectors can be firm, most jurisdictions have laws against the use of lies, threats, and scare tactics in collecting debts. In fact, you may do well to start out by taking a gentler approach to collecting a debt and gradually work up to firmer requests for payment.

When you need to write a debt collection letter, your first step may be learning the collection laws in your area. You may need to write a letter in a particular format or avoid certain types of statements in legal collections proceedings. In some places, you may be required to identify that the purpose of the letter is to collect a debt or specifically identify yourself as a debt collector. Likewise, you may be required to inform the recipient of the letter that you will use any of the information you obtain in collecting the debt.

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Usually, you have to date a debt collection letter, and some jurisdictions may require you to state that the recipient has 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt. You may also be required to provide your business address as well as contact information. If the address at which you’d like to receive payments differs from your company’s physical address, you may need to provide the physical address as well.

The body of your debt collection letter should be clear and easy to understand. Usually, you’ll need to identify the debt you are attempting to collect and the amount that is due. If you are collecting a debt for another company, you may need to identify that company as well. A debt collection letter must contain only truthful information. Most places have laws against using lies to collect debts, and the same holds true for threats and scare tactics.

Often, an initial debt collection letter serves as a gentle reminder that money is owed. In some cases, a debtor may forget to pay a bill or experience temporary financial troubles. In such a case, beginning written collection procedures on a friendlier note may encourage him to pay faster. If this fails to work, you may need to send letters that have a progressively firmer tone.

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