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The best way to get what you want is to ask for it. The first step to getting your money back is to write and send a letter demanding payment (better known as a demand letter) and make it clear to the other party that you will sue if they do not pay. Many people end up paying after they receive a demand letter. This means you may never have to end up in court. But if you do go to court a good demand letter will satisfy some court requirements that you have formally asked the other party to pay.

An effective demand letter is one that clearly tells the other party what you want and that you are serious about doing what is necessary to get it.

There are important facts about your dispute you should include in your demand letter. These include:

  • The date for the service agreement where the other party agreed to pay you for the service.
  • The date that you completed the service.
  • The date(s) for when the other party was supposed to pay you for the service you provided and how much was due for each date

Let’s go through an example of identifying the dates when the other party was supposed to pay you and how much was due on each date.

  • You installed a water heater for the other party, and the cost was $1000.
  • The agreement indicates two payments of $500 with no interest.
  • You finished the work but were only paid for the first payment.
  • After inquiring, they sent another $100.

The dates, amount due and interest due would be:

Date Amount due Interest due

  • 10/22/20 $500 $0
  • 11/22/20 $500 $0

Date Amount repaid

  • 10/22/20 $500
  • 12/03/20 $100

If you are unable to recall any of these dates, you may have a hard time proving the case in court. To recall this date, consider any written documents (e.g. emails, text messages), or any witnesses who may have overheard your conversation with the other party.

To learn about other important information that should be in your demand letter read 10 Steps to a Strong Demand Letter.

Take action, get started on JusticeDirect.com


The quest for justice is never easy, particularly when it comes to getting your money back. However, thanks to advances in technology, it has become easier. Quest for Justice’s first app, JusticeDirect, is the only app of its kind designed to support people without lawyers resolve their dispute and get their money back, both in and out of court.

The first step to getting money back is through a letter demanding payment from the other party JusticeDirect offers customizable demand letters for free. If the letter demanding payment does not work, then the next step is taking them to court.

JusticeDirect* will guide users every step of the way through the small claims court process by helping them:

  1. Understand the legal process;
  2. Evaluate the pros and cons that come with taking someone to court;
  3. Generate small claims court forms; and,
  4. Avoid common mistakes when filing your forms and serving notice on the other side.

*Currently, JusticeDirect can only help litigants sue in California’s small claims court.

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