Dealing With Final Demand Letters
One of the most commonly sent out pieces of mail from companies, banks and businesses is that which demands money for outstanding goods or services. So distressing is the arrival of such a demand that many individuals simply put them in a drawer or throw them straight into the bin so that they don’t have to deal with them. This sadly only leads to further demands and eventually passing your debt to either the county court or a debt collecting agent.
Why Will I Receive a Final Demand Letter?You will normally receive such a demand if you have not paid satisfactorily or indeed not paid at all for any goods or services provided to you by a company, business or perhaps bank or building society. These institutions have their own ways to collect payment for goods and services and often will inform you well in advance as to how to pay. However if there is a problem whereby you are unable to pay then you may find that a demand letter arrives with you after all attempts at recouping the money has failed.
Demand letters – or red letters as they are commonly known – are final demands for payment usually from a company’s collections department. These letters are sent after the computer system has flagged up persistent non payment especially if you have made no effort to contact them to arrange an alternative method of payment.
What Can I Do to Prevent Demand Letters?It may sound like the easiest thing in the world but initially simply informing the company or institution involved of your circumstances goes a long way towards alleviating the problem. Make them aware of your circumstances for example if you lose your job or suffer a reduction in income and ask if there is anything the organisation can do to help you balance out the payments.
You will find in most cases that these companies will do whatever they can to help even if that means only suspending the interest for a period of time to help you get back on your feet.
Another way of helping to alleviate the problem is to write to those companies who are affected by your circumstances including a spreadsheet of your incomings and outgoings. This will allow them to see on paper that your ability to pay has been impaired by a change in your financial circumstances.
What Shouldn’t I Do if I Receive a Final Demand Letter?The most important piece of advice we can offer is not to ignore it; ignoring such correspondence can only make matters worse and may incur additional costs if the company in question decide to take the matter to court. Putting such cases through county courts and then into the hands of debt collecting agencies can add a substantial amount of money onto the amount you already owe and these costs cannot be wiped clean.
As soon as you receive such a letter – which will normally include a form which you should fill in to explain your circumstances – you should contact the company in question or seek advice before you contact them. It is absolutely imperative that you make contact sooner rather than later and provide them with as much information as you can. And if you do not feel confident enough to do so have someone call on your behalf. As long as you are present when you have someone call (to provide authorisation that you allow them to speak on your behalf as stipulated in the Data Protection Act) then another individual can act for you.