The Second Collection Letter

The Second Collection Letter :

The Second Collection Letter :

The Second Letter — If the first letter, framed along lines similar to these specimens, fails to bring a remittance or a reply within a reasonable time, a second letter, slightly firmer in tone, should be sent.

But even now it is not safe to conclude that the customer has any desire to evade payment. It may be that circumstances prevent him from paying the amount due, although he plans to make payment just as soon as possible and that pride or a natural reticence keeps him from making an explanation.

In such a case it is very easy to antagonize a worthwhile customer by over insistence. It is not yet time for harsh measures. Give the customer credit for intending to pay his bills until his action convinces you conclusively that he does not intend to pay them.

Here is a good specimen of a second letter.


The check you intended to send us in payment of your account has not yet arrived — no doubt forgotten.

Don't bother to write a letter. Just pin your check to this letter and mail back to us.

Thank you!

Very Truly Yours,

This letter has been remarkably successful, due probably to its brevity and pointedness which are gained without sacrificing pleasantness.

A concern dealing largely with merchants in small towns uses this letter to advantage as a second mailing.

Dear Sir,

Perhaps you have overlooked the fact that you owe us $119.20 which is now twenty-four days past due. For that reason we are taking this opportunity of reminding you of it.

Your honesty is not doubted in the least, Mr. Fuller. But as a business man, you realize that we can not allow an account to stand open as long as this one has without sufficient reason being given for it. This you do not seem to have been inclined to give us and we naturally conclude that it is just a matter of taking care of the account whenever you can find time.

You are doing yourself a great injustice in not taking care of your account. Uncertain credit standing is a great detriment to a business man, for it means that those from whom he makes his purchases will have a lack of confidence in his ability to meet his obligations. And, too, if they are not disposed to be as lenient as we have been with you and should get a judgment in court, the merchant's reputation in the community is lowered and he also has court costs to pay, making his expenses greater.

Won't you consider these things for your own good and let us have your check for $119.20 by return mail or at least tell us why you have not paid your account?

Yours truly,

This letter is designed particularly to bring the procrastinating debtors to time. Many merchants, particularly in the smaller towns, merely postpone remittances because of lack of office system. Once the fallacy of such a delay is brought to their attention, they are quick to send in their money. Notice the clever manner in which the danger of neglect is visualized to the reader without the use of any direct threats or forebodings.

The following is another letter that serves as an admirable second appeal to the procrastinating debtor.


You have always been so prompt in making your settlements with us heretofore that we are wondering what is causing you to hold up settlement of our April 24 invoice amounting to $215.25.

Perhaps the reason is something which is our fault and which we could very easily adjust if you would let us know. If it is, won't you write us today concerning it?

If, however, the charges are correct as they stand, will you kindly send us your check for the amount by return mail?

Very Truly,

Let us here glance back over these successful money-getting letters and determine what common factors contributed to their effectiveness.

Up to this point, the writer has assumed that the debtor has every intention of meeting his obligations and rightly, for the customer has not yet indicated by his actions that he is to be classified as a dead beat.

In each case a direct request for the money is made. The customer voluntarily incurred an obligation. When buying the goods, he knew that they must be paid for. Therefore, the writer of collection letters has every right to expect payment as soon as the account becomes due. He is entirely within his province in making a courteous, firm request for payment.

But there is no reason why one should suggest, beg the favor of or respectfully direct attention to a remittance. Such weakness indicates a doubt about the returns. They do not create the affirmative impression that payment is expected as a matter of course. This is the angle from which the collection letter must be written — prompt payment is expected — not asked for as a personal favor or for any other irrelevant reason. The transaction is a matter of business throughout. Payment should be expected on a business basis.

The function of the collection letter is to tell the reader that you expect him to pay a certain amount of money within a certain specified time. And there is no reason why you should not speak plainly. The appeal should be directed straight at the reader's honesty. There must be nothing to incite antagonism, but sufficient courtesy and positive points that the recipient is forced to admit to himself that your attitude is entirely fair.

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