In our previous article in this series, we showed you How to Write the Second Collection Letter when an invoice is about 30 days past-due. If you’re now thinking about how to write the third collection letter, chances are the invoice is now about 60 days past-due and your odds of collecting payment is getting worse by the day.
It’s time to send a letter or email that’s more strongly-worded and to the point. In this article, we’ll provide a template to show you how it’s done.
Tone of the Third Debt Collection Letter
If you’re following the strategy we’ve outlined so far, you’ve sent two reminders before the due date (in addition to sending the original invoice) along a first collection letter and second collection letter after the due date. Now with the invoice about 60 days past-due, things have gone beyond a point where someone in accounting was on vacation or the customer simply forgot to pay.
It’s time to send a third collection letter which is your last formal written communication before sending a demand letter. Be specific and direct by including the actions you plan to take if payment is not received such as placing the customer on credit hold and/or involving a collections agency or lawyer.
But remember, you have two goals: to collect the debt and keep your customer. Even though you may feel frustrated or even a little cheated, always keep it professional.
Third Debt Collection Letter Template – 60 Days Past-Due
Here’s a sample of the third collection letter (also called a dunning letter) you might send to a customer when the invoice has become 60 days past-due:
We’ve repeatedly communicated with you about the status of your account. Invoice number <Invoice_Num> for $<Invoice_Total>, dated <Invoice_Date>, is now significantly past due.
Your immediate attention to this matter is required.
We value your business, but per our company’s credit policy, we will be forced to place you on credit hold if payment is not made within 5 days of this letter. If you’re unwilling or unable to pay the amount due within the next 30 days, we are forced to report this debt and begin a formal collections process.
Please contact <AR_Rep_Name> immediately to return your account to good standing by making a payment today. They can be reached at <AR_Rep_Phone> or <AR_Rep_Email>.
We accept check, credit card, ACH, and wire transfer and can accept your payment using multiple methods.
Businesses sometimes face unexpected challenges. If payment in full today is not possible, we will work with you to formulate a satisfactory payment plan.
Please give this matter the attention it deserves and contact us today.
Note the following in the letter sample:
- Details including invoice number, date, and amount
- Mention of previous attempts to collect
- Clearly state that the invoice is past due
- A warning and specific actions you plan to take if payment is not received within a specified number of days
- Provide payment options and desired next steps
All written communication (email or letters) sent throughout the accounts receivable and collections process should include copies of the invoice(s) in question.
💡 TIP: Be sure to follow through and keep your word. If your strategy calls for a client to be placed on credit hold after 60 days, do so. If your letter states that you’ll send a client to a collections agency after a specific date, send them to collections. If you don’t follow through, your client may not take you seriously.
A/R Collections Timing and Best Practices
Letter and email templates are a vital aspect of an automated and effective collections strategy. They allow you to standardize your approach so you can test and refine different variations of emails and letters to determine which version is most effective.
In addition, using Accounts Receivable and Collections software like Collect-IT helps to manage all customer communication as well as standardize the timing of your reminders and collection letters/calls. In fact, here’s a cheat sheet for collections timing best practices to use as an example of a typical approach a company might use:
📝UP NEXT: Is that invoice STILL outstanding? Then check out the next article in this series:
Want More Tips, Templates and Guidance Like This?
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