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The other party owes you money and you have sent a well-written demand letter, what now?

Give some time for the other party to respond

The best way to send your demand letter is via USPS-certified mail because the other party cannot argue that they never received the demand. However, it can take certified mail several days to several weeks to reach the expected recipients, because the certified mail process requires the recipient to confirm that they are either the recipient of the letter or confirm that the recipient does reside at the location of the delivery address.

  • If the recipient is not home at the time of the initial delivery, USPS will leave a notice for the recipient. This notice will ask the recipient to 1) pick up the mail at the local USPS office, or 2) sign the notice to have USPS redeliver the mail piece. This entire process ensures that the certified mail is delivered to the intended recipient, but this process can take some time depending on the recipient’s availability.
  • If the delivery address is a PO Box, the mail will be left at the PO Box for the recipient to pick up. The delivery of the mail is then dependent on when the recipient chooses to pick up the mail from the PO Box.
  • In rare instances, USPS may also experience delays in the delivery of the letter due to weather, holidays, and other extenuating circumstances.

Alternatively, if you sent your demand electronically, then the delivery of the letter will be dependent on the email service selected and how often the recipient checks their email inbox. It is also possible that the recipient has filters set up in their mailbox and may not see the electronic message with the demand letter at all.

Negotiate the terms of the demand letter

After the other party receives your demand letter and starts negotiation, it is possible that they will offer to pay less than what you demanded, or pay in smaller payments over time. Depending on what they offer you, you will want to decide whether it is something you are willing to accept without going to court.

Note that if you do take the case to court, even if you win, you will have to collect money from the other party. In some courts, they will also allow judgments to be made in smaller payments if the other party can prove that they won’t be able to pay you back in one lump sum.

Follow up and let them know you will be starting your case in court

Before you start an official case with the court, you may want to follow up one last time to let the other party know you are serious and will be starting a court case against them. You may want to include a firm deadline that if you don’t hear back by a specific date, then the case filing will be made.

File your case in court

Lastly, if the demand did not work, then you will want to file your case in court. If you looking to pursue this case in small claims court, you can find more information in this article: Small Claims in Every State.

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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