If you have gotten to the point where you are now sending your third collection letter, there is definitely something wrong and the likelihood of collecting the invoice on your own is getting slimmer every day. While you have done your best to work with the customer, it’s time to send them their final collection letter and let them know you’re serious. You must let the customer know that, without payment, you will have to involve a lawyer or a collections agency. Just like every other invoice collection letter you have sent, there is a right way and a wrong way to write this one.
A few things to include in your final collection letter:
- Mention of previous attempts to collect– including any statements, emails, and letters you have sent. You can also mention phone calls and messages.
- Invoice number and amount.
- Original invoice due date.
- Current days past due.
- Instructions- what they need to do next.
- A warning of what will happen if they do not follow those instructions.
- Your contact information & a final request for them to contact you.
THIRD INVOICE COLLECTION LETTER EXAMPLE
Dear Mr. Smith,
At this time we still have not heard from you in regards to invoice #12345 which was due on ___nor have we gotten a response to the letter sent on _____, the letter sent on ___, or our numerous attempts to call and email you. Your accounts is now __ days past due and you owe a total of $573.25.
I regret to inform you that unless we receive payment in full by ___ or work out an agreed upon payment plan by this date, we will have to turn your invoice over to a collection agency and/or our attorney.
I hope to hear from you before this action must be taken to avoid damage to your credit rating or our future business relationship. Please contact me immediately at 111-222-3333 x 123 so we can get this matter settled.
You will notice that the friendly tone of the first collection letter is gone but the professionalism in the second collection letter is still there despite the change in tone. One thing to note is that while this final letter does introduce collection agencies and lawyers into the conversation, it’s not an aggressive threat. You are making it clear that you intend to get paid one way or another, but you’re still offering them a final chance and to help work the issue out before things get to that point.
In many cases this final letter results in payment since people tend to get anxious when they know their credit ratings are on the line. If payment is still not received after this letter is sent, it’s time to toss in the towel and hand things over to a collections agency. If that happens you’ll need to send the customer one final piece of mail letting them know you’ve done so. Check back for an example of this notice in our final post for this mini-series.