How to write a late payment notification
What do you do when a customer hasn't paid the bill? The normal procedure is to wait a reasonable period of time and then send them a letter. Before writing a letter, you’d better make a phone call to the company's Accounts Payable department and ask them when you can expect payment of your bill. Make sure you have the invoice or bill to hand and be ready to fax or email over a copy, directly to the person you are speaking with. Client contacts usually have no control over invoices and payments so don’t ruin a good relationship by arguing with him or her. Always talk to the appropriate person.
If nothing happens after your phone calls, it’s time to get serious. Late payments are among the most serious problems a contractor can face. It's endemic to small business. If you allow your cash flow to dwindle, also your business can dwindle away. So, let’s see what to do in such situations!
Writing a “Letter Before Action” will get you paid almost 90% of the time. These kinds of letters are official and formally legal notifications of an impending lawsuit. Writing a “Letter Before Action” is a way of saying ‘this is your last chance’. Most businesses want to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation. When you show them you mean business, they will most often do what they can to avoid these extra hassles.
Set a final deadline for payment! This should be a reasonable period of time, like from one week to 30 days (as it would be hard for payment to reach you in less than a week). We would say a 10-day period is perfectly reasonable, assuming that you have already been waiting for a long time to get paid.
It is always best to keep the “Letter Before Action” as simple as possible. This is not the place for discussions, you don’t want the company to explain its non-payment, you don’t want to get a response to your letter. Never give them the opportunity for a debate.
You should, however, simply remind the company that they may have to pay court costs if the case goes before a tribunal. You can also add that the reputation of the company will not be enhanced by such a public proceeding.
procedure [prəˈsiːdʒə] - procedúra
reasonable [ˈriːznəbl̩] - elfogadható, ésszerű
Accounts Payable [əˈkaʊnts ˈpeɪəbl̩] - kintlevőségek
to have no control over [tu həv nəʊ kənˈtrəʊl ˈəʊvə] - nincs felügyelete valami felett
to ruin [tu ˈruːɪn] - tönkretesz
to argue [tə ˈɑːɡjuː] - vitatkozik
appropriate [əˈprəʊpriət] - megfelelő
late payment [leɪt ˈpeɪmənt] - késedelmes fizetés
contractor [ˈkɒntræktə] - szállító, vállalkozó
endemic to [enˈdemɪk tuː] - népbetegség, állandó probléma
cash flow [kæʃ fləʊ] - cash flow
to dwindle [tu ˈdwɪndl̩] - csökken, apad
impending lawsuit [ɪmˈpendɪŋ ˈlɔːsuːt] - küszöbön álló per
to avoid [tə əˈvɔɪd] - elkerül
costly [ˈkɒstli] - költséges
time-consuming [taɪm kənˈsjuːmɪŋ] - időigényes
litigation [ˌlɪtɪˈɡeɪʃn̩] - bírósági eljárás, pereskedés
hassle [ˈhæsl̩] - zűr, vita
deadline [ˈdedlaɪn] - határidő
assuming [əˈsjuːmɪŋ] - feltételezve, hogy …
debate [dɪˈbeɪt] - vita
court cost [kɔːt kɒst] - perköltség
tribunal [traɪˈbjuːnl̩] - bíróság
reputation [ˌrepjʊˈteɪʃn̩] - hírnév
enhanced [ɪnˈhɑːnst] - erősített, javított
proceeding [prəˈsiːdɪŋ] - eljárás
Magic Toy Factory
1 Oak Road
Kids’ Wonderland Toyshop
167 Southwalk Street
6 August 2011
I enclose a copy of our invoice number 978/11 which is currently overdue for payment.
As our payment terms are strictly 30 days, I would be grateful if the outstanding amount of £ 4300 could be paid without further delay.
I look forward to receiving your payment by return.
Chief Financial Officer
Magic Toy Factory