The wording below was taken from an email that we sent to a patient of one of our clients, a medical practice.
The doctor is a specialist. He wanted to collect an old debt – it was 18 months old. The patient was a 25 year old girl whose Father had been stalling and stalling. The doctor, quite simply had “had enough”. Please bear in mind though that this is the last step of many.
It takes time to get to this stage. But it’ll work. I’ll explain why at the bottom of this post.
This is what we said in our email to the doctor …
- * It should be sent by REGISTERED MAIL (makes it more meaningful) – for which you will be charged!
- * It’s written to Mary as it is she who is your debtor.
- * She will be upset and show it to her Father. If he’s any Father at all, he’ll come to her defence and pay it for her.
- * If you think the “discount” offered is too much, please change it to suit. Your call entirely.
This is what I suggest we send …
Dear Ms Smith,
1: Bearing your situation in mind, and strictly on a WITHOUT PREJUDICE basis, the practice is prepared to accept the sum of One Thousand Two Hundred Dollars ($1,200.00) as full settlement PROVIDED THAT that sum is received by the practice by the same date as our last letter, namely, 2.00pm of Tuesday, 26 July 2011.
2: Do not accept the above offer.
- * It was written to the weakest link – the daughter (nasty, I know, but apart from anything else, for legal reasons, you should always address any correspondence to the party that owes the money even if another party is acting on their behalf – most times).
- * It was sent by Registered Mail – went in a plain envelope, the address was handwritten and the name and the reply address on the back of the envelope are ones that are not known to the debtor (curiosity and the “who’s it from, it might be important” factors come into play.
- * It offers a discount and later on in the letter it advises her that it’ll be more than the original debt if she doesn’t take up this ‘offer’ to settle by the deadline.
- * The deadline is an unusual one – it infers that something’s going to happen after 2.00pm of Tuesday, 26 July! (and it won’t be nice)
- * Option 2 tells her “don’t take up the offer”. This’ll sound good to her UNTIL she reads on …
- * Paragraph 6 is a cruncher – “legal proceedings”, “Judgment”, “public record”, “Enforcement proceedings” … all very ugly stuff.
- * It tells her, twice, that we keep good records. Chances are, SHE didn’t. Case closed.
- * The last paragraph is really saying “what happens next is ENTIRELY up to you”.
Wouldn’t you – if it was sent to you?