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Writing A Demand Letter (Templates and Examples Included)

Source: we have written hundreds of demand letters for various types of legal issues.

· Demand Letter,Template,Veeto Tips,Legal Assistant

"Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company." 

—Lord Byron

(Well, most letters anyway...but demand letters are typically sent to bad company.)

"Do I need a lawyer to write a demand letter?"

No. If you have both the time and ability to think and write clearly, then you technically do not need a lawyer to write a demand letter.

Now, obviously, the characteristic of being able to think and write clearly is not binary--it's not something that you either can do or cannot do. There are degrees of ability, and when it comes to both thinking and writing, as you probably already know, the spectrum of ability is wide. This is one reason that many people prefer to hire a lawyer to write their demand letter: the client has this assumption that the lawyer will simply rank higher on that spectrum when it comes to thinking and writing about legal matters. But, again, this is not to say that you need to be a lawyer to think and write about your own legal issues.

can anyone write a demand letter

On the related issue of how long it takes to write a good demand letter, the diagram above lays out the general process a lawyer might follow from the point of first learning about your case to then actually sitting down to write your demand letter. I include this diagram so that you realize that there often is considerable planning required before you (or your lawyer) ever sit down to begin writing--that is, if you wish for your demand letter to be good.

One other advantage lawyers do have is a greater familiarity with the law itself. You may be perfectly acquainted with the facts of your case. But a lawyer will likely be better able to apply those facts to relevant legal underpinnings when devising a position to take in your case. But this distinction becomes less pronounced when either the facts themselves are less complex--and are therefore less tricky for a nonlawyer to try to apply to relevant law--or the relevant laws are more familiar to the nonlawyer. For example, whereas many people might understand the legal concept of breach of contract, fewer might understand the legal concept of unjust enrichment, which matters in a breach of contract case because lawyers tend to assert claims under both concepts simultaneously in cases in which one party alleges that the other party failed to do something they had previously agreed to do.

But...we think that people generally tend to underestimate their own abilities to address their legal problems DIY. So we write this article to equip a nonlawyer who is interested in handling his/her case DIY with specific details on what writing a demand letter entails. So read on if that is you...

We like the 30-day demand letter.

Why? Dealing with legal issues can sometimes seem like a never-ending chess match. You move, they move, you move, they move, etc. By adding to your demand letter an explicit deadline, you limit the number of days that you might have to otherwise wait and wonder what, if anything, they will do next; and more importantly, you set an explicit next-action date for yourself. "If they do not resolve this to my satisfaction within 30 days from the date of this letter, then I will [take next step]." This keeps you proactive rather than reactive.

Also, let's suppose that next step you have decided is to sue the person or company who fails to resolve your demand by that deadline. Some states actually require that you send a 30-day demand letter before you are able to sue over certain types of issues. And even though this is not true in every state, by defaulting in all cases to the 30-day demand letter, you will avoid having to do as much jurisdiction-specific research before you begin. For example, the research matrix you might have to navigate might include state specifics, issue type specifics, industry specifics, dollar amount specifics, and more; this could get pretty labyrinthine pretty fast.

And trust me, we have been there before and know that when you encounter an issue that upsets you enough to want to get up and do something about it, you would prefer to ride that wave of emotion right away than delay a week or two to allow time for sufficient Google-fu.

What to include in your demand letter?

Note: the author of this article is not your attorney, and you should not construe this anecdote as legal advice. 

In our experience, you fundamentally have two options. Option 1 is to include only the basics (which we will list for you in a minute). Option 2 is to start with the basics and then to add an additional layer of personalization that you deem important (and we will also give you an example of when adding personalization might be appropriate).

Option 1: The Basics

The basics to include:

  1. Your name.
  2. Your address (email address is also an option here so long as you have established email as a valid form of communication with the recipient of this letter).
  3. Account number (if your relationship with the recipient is not adequately cited by only including your name and address).
  4. The description of your complaint (include dates and other important facts like prior attempts you might have made to resolve this issue; make clear the harm you believe that you suffered...the "why" you believe you are entitled to whatever you are demanding).
  5. What you are demanding (could be a specific amount of money or some particular action).

Optional but often helpful to include:

  1. In some cases, like those involving contract disputes between a residential landlord and a tenant, there might not be an account number, so instead, you might wish to include the date on which the contract in question was executed.
  2. Deadlines until which you will give the recipient to resolve your demands (for example: 30 days).
  3. A statement of how you sent the demand letter and reference to any proof you have that it was sent (certified mail tracking number, for case your opponent tries to claim he did not receive the demand letter).
  4. Reference to any specific laws you believe the recipient violated to give rise to this issue.

Option 2: The Basics + Some Personal Details

Option 2 is to add more personal stuff on top of the basics. For example, one Veeto member is a marine, and as such, added to his demand letter a statement about his character that he thought was relevant to the conversation:

"Even if you disagree with my position on this, I hope that you take this letter for what it is. I am a US Marine, a tenant who pays his rent on time, and a generally reasonable human being."

If I were the recipient of his letter, I might read that part and unclench my fist a little bit in deference to my general respect for people who serve in the military--and protect our rights to civil, peaceful disagreements.

Another example of option 2 flair is how this Veeto member told the story of how she had already attempted to resolve this issue:

"Please realize that I am not trying to be a jerk. Yes, we encountered these issues after we moved into your property. And no, they were not fun to deal with. But we endured, and I did what I could to be both communicative and reasonable."

Most attorneys would probably not include that part about not being a jerk, and my experience tells me that it is probably due to how law schools train students to write, to only include necessary details in legal correspondence (and to sound stiff and quite unlike anyone you would wish to have a beer with). An attorney might deem this part superfluous or fluff; and frankly, I do not disagree. But the reason I think it works in this letter is because the author's goal is not necessarily to end up court. She just wants to resolve these issues as quickly and easily as possible. So by including this cushion, "I am not trying to be a jerk," she is attempting to deescalate any reactive combativeness the recipient might be feeling after reading the first few paragraphs of this demand letter.

My personal opinion...

The thing I really like about this last example is that I think legal disputes need less fear and more humanity--and by humanity, I simply mean more human being behaving like human beings. As a human being, I probably would not walk up to someone and spout off only "the basics" if I were trying to bring an issue to his attention. No, instead, I would probably explain my frustration within some narrative that also makes it clear to my audience that I respect him as a human being and am willing to discover that my reasoning--the reasoning that, in light of the objective data, brought me to this point of wanting to complain--is flawed.

Somewhere along the way one discovers that what one has

to tell is not nearly so telling as the telling itself. 

—Henry Miller, “Reflections On

We all make mistakes, and by baring in my demand letter (or my demand conversation) my reasoning, I am implicitly inviting my opponent to reciprocate and identify to me where he might think my reasoning is flawed, which makes it less of a pissing contest and more of a mutually respectful conversation of two adults wading through facts to find truth.

One last benefit of writing like a human being.

Suppose your issue is not resolved to your satisfaction in 30 days. What are you going to do next?

One option you might consider is to publicize your dispute. This could mean sending formal letters of complaint to third parties who police your opponent (The Federal Trade Commission, The Attorney General, etc.), or it could mean publishing your letter and the details of your dispute on social media or some media property (if social media could help topple entire regimes during the Arab Spring, then hell, it might get you a few bucks back from the person who failed to resolve your issue).

If your letter sounds like a jackass wrote it, then the average reader of it might not sympathize with your position or care whether you are able to resolve it. On the other hand, if your letter paints you as a thoughtful, humble, articulate person who has made every reasonable attempt so far to resolve the matter, then you might win more favor with the public.

Example demand letter templates that you can use.

Sample demand letter # 1

(Which might be appropriate in cases of specific state statute violations when a 30-day demand letter is required by the statute; this one is written for an issue in Massachusetts, for example).

Your name

Your address

Your telephone number


Name of Merchant

Merchant's address

Dear Merchant:

Under the provisions of {relevant state statute}, I hereby make written demand for relief as outlined in that statute.

On or about {date}, the following unfair or deceptive act occurred:


This unfair or deceptive act or practice is, in my opinion, declared unlawful by {relevant state statute}, which reads as follows:

{Quote text or section. Remember: You are not required to quote written laws to support the assertion that the merchant's conduct was unfair or deceptive; it is, however, desirable. You will want to include all the laws which you believe were violated}.

As a result of this unfair or deceptive act or practice, I suffered injury or loss of money as follows:

{Indicate injury or money or property loss}

Therefore, I hereby demand the following relief:

{Indicate relief, or payment for damages, you are seeking}.

{Relevant state statute} gives you the opportunity to make a good-faith response to this letter within thirty (30) days. Your failure to do so-could subject you to triple damages, attorney's fees and costs if I decide to institute legal action.


Your Name

Sample demand letter # 2

(Which, being a more general template, you can use to draft a demand letter for many different types of product and service issues).

[Your Address]

[Your City, State, Zip Code]


[Name of Contact Person]


[Company Name]

[Street Address]

[City, State, Zip Code]

Dear [Contact Person]:

On [date], I bought [or had repaired] a [name of the product with the serial or model number or service performed]. I made this purchase at [location, date, and other important details of the transaction]. Unfortunately, your product has not performed well [or the service was inadequate] because [state the problem].

To resolve the problem, I would appreciate your [state the specific action you want]. Enclosed are copies [copies, not originals] of my records [receipts, guarantees, warranties, cancelled checks, contracts, model and serial numbers, and any other documents] concerning this purchase/repair.

I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem. I will wait [set a time limit] before seeking third-party assistance. Please contact me at the above address or by phone [home or office numbers with area codes].


[Your Name]

[Account Number]

Why Veeto?

I watched a cartoon the other day with my toddler about Paul Bunyan, whose claim to fame, apart from being a massive person, was that he could mow down a forest of trees with his ax in the same amount of time it might take a crew of lumberjacks to clear in a year. He was huge, and his ax was huge, and trust me--I saw the cartoon with my own eyes--the physics work.

Anyway, Paul was for all intents and purposes, the fastest lumberjack alive. Then one day the gas-powered saw was invented, and normal-size lumberjacks were then able to fell trees as quickly as Paul. Paul was bummed, of course, and the story goes on...

But I bring up Paul Bunyan to illustrate a point about priorities. Before the gas-powered saw, Paul was by far the fastest way to turn trees into logs for lumber. Yet other lumberjacks remained on the job, felling trees much slower, of course, buy perhaps they just loved the work or the smell of wet sap. Why they persisted despite there being a faster way is not really important, only that they persisted.

Similarly, Veeto is the fastest and easiest way to make all sorts of legal demands. Veeto members need not study for months and years to become legal experts able to draft their own letters and navigate the nuances of every issue they encounter. Instead, they just push a button, and the "Paul Bunyan" of legal demands starts swinging.

Veeto members usually come to Veeto when they wish to solve one or more of these problems:

  • How might I 
  • quickly and easily find demand letters suited for my issue?
  • How might I quickly and easily (push-button simple) send demand letters when a company impinges on what I believe to be my rights?
  • How might I obtain effective demand letters without having to do the research myself or write them from scratch?
  • How might I quickly and easily send formal complaint letters to third parties?
  • How might I quickly and easily apply public pressure to companies who fail to resolve my issue?

Not everyone likes "quick" and "easy." Some people prefer the blood, sweat, and tears of DIY, and that is totally valid. Veeto is not designed for them. Instead, Veeto is for anyone who has an issue and wants to resolve it fast, with minimal inputs of time and resources.

veeto letter

When you spend money for any product or service and later regret it, you can Veeto it to get your money back.