The debt was 2 years old. Over $11,000. The debtor was a friend of the creditor. We applied two of the principles in this blog. We wrote the bad news and blamed other things for having to get “heavier”.
Mean it? Then write it …
3 Days Later the debtor contacted the creditor as he realised that this time, he HAD to do something. This is what we wrote …
I am obliged to write formally to you in relation to the following outstanding fees.
Date Ref Type Original Outstanding
29/02/2008 Fee 12345 Invoice $9,350.00 $9,350.00
30/04/2008 Fee 67890 Invoice $1,650.00 $1,650.00
18/05/2009 Fee 54321 Invoice $297.00 $297.00
My other Directors are now insisting that some action be taken for recovery of the above. Our normal policy is that if fees are outstanding more than 90 days, either a mutually acceptable arrangement is entered into for payment or legal action is commenced for recovery. As you can see, the majority of yours are well over two years old. This is unacceptable.
We hereby demand, therefore, that full payment of this debt is received in our offices on or before the close of business of Tuesday, 06 July.
If it remains unpaid and I have not heard from you by then I will be left with no other alternative other than to place this matter in the hands of our solicitors with instructions for them to pursue recovery on our behalf.
I would prefer not to have to go to such lengths, but, John, under the circumstances, you leave me no choice.
The letter blames two things – “My other Directors” and “Our normal policy”. This allows the creditor to remain The Good Guy AND the debtor to save face at the same time.
The letter was sent by Registered Mail so that we knew when he’d got it. But, more importantly, we knew that he’d know that we knew that he’d got our letter!
So, if you come across a similar situation, try something similar to get a reaction from your debtor while leaving lines of communication open with your debtor at the same time.