10-Day Demand Letter for Payment

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Updated November 30, 2022

Or use an attorney at ContractsCounsel to write a demand letter.


A 10-day demand letter for payment is a letter that requests its recipient takes care of a violation or debt. It might be a merchant that refuses to issue a refund, a debtor who does not repay, or some other unpaid financial obligation – whatever the case, these disputes can drag on indefinitely. If prior attempts to settle a debt have not succeeded, a 10-Day Demand Letter is an essential step toward resolution.

10-Day Notice to Quit – Official notice sent to a tenant that gives them ten (10) days to either pay all back-rent or leave the premises.

How to Write and Send

Step 1 – Start with a Courteous Intro

Regardless of the backstory, the demand letter should be professional in tone. Starting off on the warpath with accusatory language, explicit threats, or a shaming tone does little to achieve resolution.

Step 2 – Describe the History of Services

To the extent possible, this letter should recount all important details about the incident in question and about subsequent attempts to secure repayment. Providing a specific account of the incident and quest for resolution, with dates, will ensure that there is no confusion about the issue.

Remember that the demand letter may serve as evidence if the dispute becomes a civil claim. Many jurisdictions require that a plaintiff send a demand letter before taking a case to court. The letter can thus help to establish critical facts in the case should it go to court, and may assist the plaintiff in organizing thoughts and legal strategy. Finally, a well-written and a well-documented letter that telegraphs toughness and rigor to the opposing party.

Step 3 – Demand Payment and Due Date

It’s called a “10-Day” letter for a reason. Generally, this deadline for payment is set ten days from the letter date, not the date of receipt. This is a somewhat arbitrary but standard time-frame. It provides adequate time for the other party to respond, but it is still short enough to exert pressure.

Step 4 – Prepare for Delivery

Demand letters should always be sent by certified mail. Otherwise, the other party can always deny receiving it. Do not email or text demands.

Sample 10-Day Demand Letter

February 17, 2018

Dear Mr. Smith,

This letter serves as a formal and final request for repayment of $450.00, the unpaid balance that is owed for damages to my property at 123 Main Street, Westbridge, RI, 12345, which were caused by your actions while you were a guest at my house on January 1, 2018.

As the enclosed photographs and landscaper’s estimate illustrate, these damages consist of:

  • Tire marks on my front lawn and damage to my garden ($300)
  • Several shattered lawn ornaments ($100)
  • Damage to my mailbox ($50)

I have already made several attempts to resolve this matter with you. On January 2, 2018, I sent an email (enclosed); on January 14, 2017, I sent a letter by US mail (enclosed); on January 28, 2018, I sent a letter by certified US mail (enclosed).

None of these contacts was reciprocated.

If this balance is not received in full by February 27, 2018, I will commence legal action against you in small claims court.

Sincerely,

Bill Davis