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Demand letter

How to write a demand letter

Updated January 27th 2022

5 min read

A demand letter is a short, one-to-two-page formal request for something that lets the recipient know that they’ll face legal action if they don’t comply.

How to write a demand letter

How to write a demand letter


Thomas C.


Table of contents

What is a demand letter?

Demand letters are the beginning of any lawsuit. They clearly tell their recipients that a court will compel them to comply with the demands if they don’t do so independently. They can help resolve as many as 80% of cases without the need to file in court.

For some people, receiving a demand letter may be the first time they seriously consider the issue. Even if you’ve already communicated informally, a demand letter is always worth sending.

Dispute can help you quickly and easily draft a demand letter so that you can resolve your issue without the need to go to court.

What are the necessary elements of a demand letter?

  • The To and From fields which should include both your and their name and address
  • A one or two-sentence summary of the dispute, i.e. why they owe you money
  • A one or two paragraph description that expands on the short summary:
  • A description of the dispute (what happened) with dates and references to evidence
  • References to the appropriate laws (if you know them)
  • Why they owe you money
  • A demand for damages (as a dollar value) that has a deadline and method for payment. Indicate if you are willing to negotiate.
  • An indication that you’re willing to go to court if they don’t comply. Don’t threaten anything else.

How should a demand letter sound?

  • Strong
  • Accurate
  • Legal
  • Formal
  • Grammatically correct without spelling errors.

Write with your recipient in mind. Try to write in simple language that they’ll understand.

What does it look like?

One-Two-Sentence Summary:

On November 7th, we came to an agreement for you to repair my fence for $2,500, including time and materials. You cashed the check I wrote, but you haven’t performed any work on my fence in the two months since November 7th.

Further Description:

I have retained your carpentry services before on several occasions in the last three years. You always completed the work at a high standard and it was always to my satisfaction. I would accept delivery of the promised services instead of a refund if work can begin immediately and end by the 19th of January.

In California, oral contracts are fully enforceable. In addition, our discussion over text of when to meet in person at my home to discuss the repair on November 7th and the fact that you cashed the check I gave you that day will make it very clear to a judge that you have effectively stolen $2,500.

Request for Payment

If you do not immediately commence the repair of my fence at 123 Woodrow St. or deliver a check for the full amount of $2,500 payable to me by the 19th of January, I will file suit against you in the County of Los Angeles.

Send a demand letter and avoid going to court. Get a professional written letter online today.

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