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Next Step After Demand Letter

by | Jul 11, 2022 | Plaintiff | 0 comments

If someone owes you money and you have taken the initial step of sending them a well-written demand letter via certified mail, you are on the right track to resolving the issue. This article outlines the next actions to consider after sending a demand letter, allowing you to navigate the process effectively and secure the resolution you seek.

1. Allow time for a response

After sending a demand letter, it is crucial to grant the other party an appropriate period to respond. By doing so, you display fairness and demonstrate your willingness to engage in an amicable resolution. Keep in mind that certified mail, chosen as a preferred method due to its proof of delivery, may take several days or even weeks to reach the intended recipient. Factors such as confirmation of receipt and recipient availability can impact the delivery timeline. In the case of a PO Box address, the recipient will retrieve the mail from the box, which could affect the overall delivery duration. Additionally, occasional delays due to external factors like weather and holidays can occur, causing temporary setbacks.

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.

2. Negotiate the terms of the demand letter

Once the other party receives your demand letter and initiates negotiations, it is possible that they may propose alternative terms, such as a lower payment or installment plans. It is important to carefully evaluate these offers and determine if they align with your expectations. Consider whether the proposed terms provide a satisfactory resolution without resorting to legal action. In some instances, courts may allow judgments to be paid in smaller installments if the other party demonstrates an inability to pay in a lump sum. Assess the offered terms based on your specific circumstances and decide if accepting them will effectively resolve the matter.

3. Firmly communicate your intent to proceed to court

Before starting an official legal case, it is advisable to follow up with the other party to emphasize your seriousness and intent to initiate court proceedings if necessary. This additional communication serves as a final notice and sets a firm deadline for their response. Specify a specific date by which you expect a reply, informing them that failure to respond will result in the filing of a court case. This approach reinforces the gravity of the situation and encourages prompt action from the other party.

4. File your case in court

If the demand letter and subsequent negotiations fail to yield a satisfactory resolution, filing a case in court becomes the next logical step. Taking this route demonstrates your commitment to seeking justice and can provide a formal platform to address the issue. If you are considering small claims court, refer to the article “Small Claims in Every State” for comprehensive information on pursuing your case successfully.


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 to resolve their disputes 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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