What Is a 10-day Demand Letter?

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The law offers recourse to people when they have suffered some harm. If the harm is financial in nature, such as a debt or unlawful possession of personal property, a demand letter may resolve the issue without having to go to court. A 10-day demand letter indicates the time the recipient has to respond to the claims against her.

Ten-day Demand Letter

  • Creditors often use a 10-day demand letter to prompt a debtor into paying back a debt or otherwise returning property. For example, in Corpus Christi, Texas, the police department allows the owner of a motor vehicle to demand return of the vehicle from someone who is unlawfully keeping it either because it was stolen or because it was borrowed and now is not returning it or some reason. The owner of the vehicle can demand return of the vehicle within 10 days from the receipt of the letter; if the person in possession does not comply, the matter can be turned over to the police.

Typical Format

  • Demand letters follow a typical format. Usually, the letter briefly explains the basis for the letter and gives instructions to the recipient about what to do next. A 10-day demand letter essentially instructs the recipient to comply with the particular demand within ten days or else the sender will take further action.

Consequences

  • Upon receipt of the letter, the recipient basically has two options: comply with the letter or ignore it. Compliance generally settles the matter. If the recipient ignores the letter, the sender will often follow through the threatened action in the letter -- often, the action is either filing a lawsuit to collect a debt; it could also be reporting the matter to the police, according to the Corpus Christi Police Department demand letter. If the recipient feels the letter was sent in error, she can try to work out the situation with the sender.

Other Issues

  • Demand letters may have potentially harmful legal or financial ramifications. The letters generally indicate that the sender is serious about resolving a matter but wants to do so amicably. Just because a recipient receives a demand letter does not mean that she is somehow in the wrong; facts and circumstances could be such that the letter was sent in error. Readers are strongly urged to seek legal assistance when choosing to send a demand letter or when deciding upon how to respond to a demand letter.

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