Demand Letter : 10 tips on how to draft it yourself!

  • demand letter

A demand letter, sometimes called a “lawyer’s letter”, allows you to describe the misconduct that affected your rights and to claim some type of compensation for the damage you have suffered. Only in specific situations does the Law require that you send one. It is, however, recommended to send one as it demonstrates to the opposing party that your intentions are very serious.

How to draft a demand letter yourself:

  1. The demand letter should be relatively short. It should be approximately one or two pages long.
  2. Describe what the other party did wrong and explain what they can do to remedy the situation. Normally, one asks someone to do or to stop doing something, or one asks for an amount of money or compensation.
  3. Stick to the facts rather than how you feel. Don’t exaggerate, don’t make things up and do not judge. You should also try to remain polite at all times.
  4. The letterhead must contain the date and sender’s address. You must also write the name and address of the individual or business/organization that will receive the demand letter. If you are sending it to a corporate entity, it is best to write the actual name of the company rather than the name of the Chief Executive Officer or President of the company. Furthermore, it should be clearly stated that it is a demand letter, so write it in the subject line. Finally, you should indicate whether you are sending it by bailiff or registered mail.
  5. It is mandatory to give the other party time to absorb what you are claiming and to respond to your request. A minimum of 10 business days is recommended for this type of letter.
  6. It is also wise to describe what you intend on doing should the other party not respond in the given deadline. For instance, you can mention that you will sue them in court if they fail to respond.
  7. It is important to note that it is now mandatory to consider alternative dispute prevention and resolution processes prior to using the courts. Examples could be online negotiation, mediation, etc. You can invite the other party to negotiate in your demand letter.
  8. Ask for the full amount. If you end up negotiating later on, you can settle for a lower amount in order to avoid the waste of time and costs associated with a lawsuit.
  9. You may request interest on the amount that you are owed. The demand letter allows you to claim it and serves as the date upon which interest on the amount starts to accumulate.
  10. Be aware however, that the demand letter does not interrupt the “prescription” or legal deadline. For instance, if you have a three-year time limit to file your legal action in a court of law, sending a demand letter will not “freeze” the three-year countdown that you have to file a claim in court. Therefore, you should not wait too long before sending it as you want to give yourself as much time as possible to prepare your legal action. Moreover, deadlines vary from one province to the next, but generally, in Quebec, you have three years to file a legal action for a civil matter. Should you have any doubts, we suggest that you speak to a lawyer.

Practical tip

The smartforms developed by BidSettle will help guide you through the drafting process to create a personalized and efficient demand letter. In addition, the platform takes care of sending the demand letter and provides you with a confirmation of delivery. This technological tool should help you save you time and money.

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Sending a demand letter through will save you time and money.