Introduction to this document

Letter before action for unpaid invoice

If your customer has failed to pay your invoice and failed to reply to your reminder letter, use this letter to encourage payment before the court process starts AND to give you the evidence required to win your case on the day of the hearing.

Advice

Our letter before action should be used in tandem with our reminder letter. This is because the reminder letter specifically provides the debtor with an opportunity to give reasons why the invoice shouldn’t be paid. If they then fail to reply to the letter or to give any reason, then it will be more difficult for him to put forward a credible defence.

Preferably deliver the letter before action by hand to your customer to ensure they have no grounds to complain that they did not receive it.

No let-up

If the debtor fails to reply to the pre-action letter, you should consider commencing legal proceedings without delay in your local county court, either through your lawyer, or by doing so yourself. This is because the debt collection process only works if the creditor proceeds in a series of progressively more serious steps, which are apparent to the debtor so that they know you won’t give up. Otherwise the debtor will note your lack of resolve, become more obstructive and before you know it, you’ve written off the debt. However, do not throw good money after bad by taking court proceedings if the debtor does not have the means to pay what it is owed.

Tip

Don’t forget if the amount in dispute is less than £10,000 the matter can be dealt with under the special small claims procedure (where legal costs aren’t generally awarded).