When you’re simply being ignored

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When you’re simply being ignored

When chasing slow payers and you’ve tried almost everything and the debtor STILL doesn’t contact you, what can you do? Try these three steps.

ONE – Send them a “snail mail” letter …
… along the lines of (and this is based on one that we’ve regularly used …. and it’s almost always successful)


Dear Mr Jones,

Please find overleaf a breakdown of monies owed by several of your entities.


  • you have not been able to return our calls or reply to any correspondence
  • in view of the serious ageing and of the total amount involved

this letter is to strongly suggest that you contact the firm to discuss when payment is being made.

Similarly, if you have any queries regarding any aspects of any of the accounts, please contact us.  If the firm has still not heard from you by 2.00pm of Thursday, 07 January, the firm will be obliged to revert to policy. This will incur additional costs.

Again, we strongly suggest that you do respond to this letter (a copy of which has been sent to you by email) before alternative recovery action must be considered.

Yours sincerely


TWO – Send it by Registered Mail.  

This tells the debtor that

  • you mean business, and
  • we know that they’ve got the letter.


THREE – Send it also as a pdf attachment.  

The email should be sent from someone else in your organisation if possible and say simply

Dear Sir,
The attached file is self explanatory.
Thank you.


Why will it work?

  1. Because you’ve suddenly stopped calling and emailing. The debtor was getting used to being “chased” and was learning that you were easily avoidable.  Your silence suddenly will become very noisy when they get your letter, twice.  (Once by email and again by Registered Mail.)
  2. Because the wording of the letter simply
  • states the facts.
  • invites them to contact you again.
  • gives them an unusual deadline.
  • advises them that you will have to revert to policy (by using “Fear of the unknown“).
  • it will cost them money NOT to contact you (“incur more costs“).
  • it’s sent by another person in your organisation.
  1. you’re doing something different – you’re no longer being predictable and are writing the bad news. .


.. as the Ronan Keating song goes ….
you say it best, when you say nothing at all“.

PS: To be really sure that your letter gets accepted

  1. put your letter in a plain envelope,
  2. handwrite the address on the front, and
  3. put a return name and address on the back of the envelope that the debtor doesn’t know. (Curiosity will make it SO tempting to accept the letter, which may be refused if it’s sent in a company envelope.)

By | 2020-03-15T07:04:51+00:00 January 31st, 2013|wording|1 Comment

About the Author:

Have you ever wondered why a client does business with you and then ignores your invoice like they had no intention of paying it in the first place or they treat you like their own personal line of credit, leaving YOU dangling, waiting months for their payment? Unfortunately this situation is all too common and can even be puzzling for the most experienced business owner. If you’ve ever had to handle outstanding accounts or you are just so over non-payers, then we can help. Real-world skills, solutions, tips & strategies to get more accounts paid on time, and, most importantly, how to maintain customer goodwill while keeping YOUR cash flow in the positive. You will find the blog posts helpful but to get real results, contact us by using any of the forms on this site, by email or by phone. I’ve been involved in the management of accounts for over 30 years, heard every excuse in the book, can spot a non-payer at 20 paces. Finance Companies in the 70s (systematic, tough), professional firms in the 80s (no systems, too gentle) and, since then, just about every other sort of business you can think of. I’ve written books on the topic, spoken all over the place about it and the blog in this website is my way of “giving back”. I hope you find it helpful.

One Comment

  1. Sonia Hunt Froehlich January 31, 2013 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I have found when sending past due letters,if you handwrite Past Due information along with your direct line you seem to get a response. It lets them know this is not just a form letter, you have taken a time and a personal interest in this past due. States that you mean business.

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