Picture this - a close friend asks you to lend him money for a down payment for a car and promises to pay you immediately when he gets some cash. It is unlikely for you to deny your friend a favor, so you comply believing he will pay up on time. After all, you have been friends for years, and he will definitely refund you. Time passes by and you have not received a dime. You do not know how to approach him regarding the debt although you desperately need the money. You still care for the relationship you have built all this time. This particular question is constantly disturbing you, “Someone owes me money. How do I collect it?”. Here are 8 tips on how to go about it.

How to Collect the Money Others Owes You


Know That It's Your Right

The person you lent money has broken the promise, not you. They’ve betrayed your trust. This is not the time to worry about being nice or what people will think or say about you. He should feel sorry, so it does not harm to get a bit angry and let it stay that way for some time.


Have Them Pay for Something of Equal Value

This may be sneaky, but it is a very effective way to get your money back. Say you gave someone 50 bucks and they are silent hoping you forget and they get away with it. Just take them out to the movies, a concert or lunch. Remind them of the money they owe you when it is time to pay. They will have no option but to foot the bill. And the look on their faces as they pay is just fulfilling. They know you planned it out, but there is nothing they can do about it. You got them! Do not feel guilty about this manipulative act. After all, they pushed you to this point.


Shout and Scream

This will work perfectly if you are one of those people who don’t care if it gets weird and awkward. Go ahead and harass your friend every day until they pay up. If it means screaming, shouting or yelling, do whatever it takes to get your money back. The person might be shocked by your honest approach to the point they pay you immediately to end the drama. You do not have to curl up somewhere thinking “someone owes me money and I do not know what to do”.


Approach Politely

Request for your money once the due date has passed. Sometimes people genuinely forget. Say something like, "Do you remember the money you owe me?" It is more of a reminder than a demand. Include details like the amount of money owed, when it was lent, how much has been paid (if any), when the last payment was made, how much is remaining, your contacts and a clear due date. A letter works better for a company or client as it is easier to keep track. A due date that is 10-20 days from the day the letter is sent is fair enough.


Use Some Force in Your Payment Requests

Be more direct if your debtor does not respond to your request. Be clear with your expectations. Let them know that you expect to be paid immediately or at least a clear commitment to pay. Use direct language, emphasize on urgency and give clear instructions regarding the payment. The debtor should know that you want your money immediately and there is no room for negotiation. Give clear details of the action you intend to take if they do not pay so that they know the consequences to expect.


Level Up Your Collection Activity

Are you screaming, "Someone owes me money and shows no sign to pay up!" Worry not. If they did not respond positively to the demand contact, it is time to get more aggressive. There is a possibility the debtor does not have money to pay you or they simply do not feel like settling the debt. This is the time to force them to prioritize you by using different channels to communicate your demands. You could call them, send letters, write emails or meet them in person. Contact them using multiple means to ensure they do not pay someone else or go for holidays before paying you.


Seek the Services of a Collection Agency

You appear more serious to debtors if you hire a third party to deal with them. It will also free you from following up with the debtor. Collection agencies usually charge half the payment for their services. You need to be sure whether half the money is better than nothing before you approach a collection agency. If the charges are too high, you can opt to take the issue to a small claims court.


Try Legal Means

  • File a case in small claims court: Check if your state’s statutes allow you to make a claim. Prepare several copies of the documentary evidence available including contracts and promissory notes. Ensure the amount owed is worth the process and be ready to break relationships if the debtor is a friend or family member.

  • File a lawsuit: Proceed to the state court if you fail in small claims court. Hire an attorney and get ready for the court date with as much documented evidence as possible. This route is more expensive since you have to pay court and attorney fees.

  • Petition for citation: This applies if you get a judgement against a debtor and they still fail to pay you. File a Petition for Citation with a Notice of hearing to have the court set a hearing forcing the debtor to return to court and explain why they have not paid you.


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