Collecting Money From Customers

Reminder Letters And Emails

There is no specific form or wording that should be used when chasing up payment of an invoice informally. Nor are there any rules on how long you should wait until you chase an email but it would be unusual to start chasing any earlier than the expiry of your contractual payment terms.

You might want to use a single form of reminder or perhaps have a sequence of standard reminders and requests for payment. You could have a polite reminder to coincide with the expiry of your payment terms and perhaps a more firm approach 14 days thereafter.

It is down to your judgement as to how firm you are and the tone you adopt in your communications chasing up payment of unpaid invoices. If you are aggressive or confrontational, it could damage the relationship you have with that particular customer in the long term. There is a difficult balance.

Also, in our experience, it is also very effective to pick up the phone and call someone to chase up payment.

We go into much more detail about this, in our credit control training course.

Suggested Email Content As A Polite Reminder

“Dear [      ]  

I hope you are well.

Please find attached a copy of our invoice dated [       ]. I should be grateful if you would attend to payment in the next 7 days.

Kind regards

[       ]”

Suggested Follow Up Email Content As A More Firm Approach

“Dear [      ]  

I hope you are well.

I write further to my email dated [       ] of which I attach a copy.

Our payment terms are [      ] days and I should be grateful if you would attend to payment by return.

Yours sincerely

[       ]”

Formal Letters Before Issuing Proceedings

The courts expect court proceedings to be a last resort and that a reasonable process has been followed before commencing a claim. If the court considers that you have not taken reasonable steps before commencing a claim, it court result in criticism and potential adverse consequences down the line.

If you are pursuing a company, there is no specific guidance to follow but we would recommend sending a final email or letter, setting a deadline for payment and making it clear that if payment is not made by then, that court proceedings will be issued.

The position when dealing with individuals and partnerships is different. For those, there is some specific guidance to follow in terms of pursuing unpaid invoices under the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims. You can read it here. It might seem overwhelming but it is straight forward, provided you follow the guidance on what the letter of claim ought to include and the time that must be given before issuing a claim.

Our training courses take you through the process step by step and in plain English.