Ask for Payment

Small claims cases require that you ask the other side for payment before you go to court (unless there is a good reason why you cannot). You can ask in person, by phone, or in writing. You will have to tell the court you did this and how on your court form.

If you decide to ask for payment in writing, you can use a demand letter. A demand letter is a short, clear letter demanding payment. Bring a copy of it to your court hearing to show the judge. You can also attach it to your court papers.

Often, a demand letter will be all you need to resolve your dispute. Even if the person or business that owes you money knows about the problem, a firm and strong request in a letter that lays out the reasons why they owe you money and says that if your issue is not satisfied you plan to go to small claims court can have a big effect.  They realize you are serious about the case and intend to spend time and energy pursuing it.  Sometimes when you have a problem with a business, a demand letter can bring the problem to the attention of the owner who may not have known about your dispute because the manager never told him or her.

Help writing a demand letter

There are different types of demand letters.

If you want help writing one, click on the link that deals with the type of dispute you have to get to a computer program that can help you or a sample letter you can use as a guide:

Demand Letter to the Person or Business Asking for Money

Demand letter to Your Landlord Asking for the Return of Your Security Deposit

  • A landlord has 3 weeks after you move out to return your security deposit or send an itemized invoice for any amount withheld for damages.
  • Use this program ONLY if you do not receive your security deposit (or an itemized invoice for any amount withheld for damages) within 3 weeks after you move out.
  • If you received part of your security deposit and feel that your landlord should have returned more money, DO NOT use this program. INSTEAD, use the Write a Demand Letter program to write your letter.

Sample Bad Check Demand Letter

Sample Stop-payment Demand Letter