BEYOND this stage, procedure should be guided by surrounding circumstances. The buyer who appears at least to be perfectly honest and reliable should be given the benefit of the doubt and another courteous letter should be sent. One house writes to people of good standing in this manner.
“We should dislike very much to believe that this delay is due to other than oversight because you were so favorably recommended to us by your bank. Still if a remittance is not received within a very few days, we shall have no alternative.”
When such a letter gets no action, there is only one alternative left open—to start procedure toward immediate collection of the whole amount that still remains due on the purchase. There are two ways in which this may be approached. Either the customer may be given a “cash up” inducement, that is, a discount or some additional article free for an immediate settlement; or the account may be turned over to an agency or attorney. To cash up is always preferable, because it offers a chance to bring in the money at once and also to retain the good will of the buyer.
“I am going to make one more effort,” writes one collector for a publishing house, “to reach an amicable agreement with you. If you will send me at once a check covering the balance due on your account with us, I will send you at absolutely no expense to you and as evidence of my appreciation of your fulfilling your part of the contract without unpleasantness, a copy of Wood’s “Commercial Law,” a volume which every business man should have upon his desk. Only an exceptional combination of circumstances enables me to do this and we have only a few copies of the book available.
If you wish to take advantage of this offer, you should let me hear from you at once. Simply enclose your check with this letter and mail today.”
If your delinquent accepts this offer, well and good. If he does not, your only open road is to go to court.
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