Even though a final notice for payment is not a pleading, it plays an important role in the process of pursuing monetary claims, which are, most of the time, unsettled invoices. In some cases, such a notice will make it possible to reach an agreement with a debtor and to settle a dispute even before the court is involved. However, when a lawsuit has already been filed, it will provide evidence to the creditor’s advantage. What should you know when preparing a final notice for payment?
What is a final notice for payment?
It is a statement of a creditor to a debtor, in which the creditor demands that the debtor settles the due payment obligation.
It may take any form, but given its later evidentiary function, it is best provided in writing.
In order to avoid the complications associated with proving whether the debtor had the opportunity to become acquainted with the document, a letter containing a remainder should preferably be sent by registered mail with a receipt acknowledgment. In this case, an e-mail to the debtor should only represent a supplement to the correspondence.
When is a final notice for payment valid?
According to art. 187 sec. 1(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure, one of the requirements to be met by a statement of claim is to include “information” whether the parties have attempted to mediate or use other out-of-court means to settle the dispute. In the event such attempts have not been made, an explanation of the reasons for not doing so should also be included.
One such “out-of-court means” is to call on the debtor to voluntarily pay the debt. Should such a notice be absent, or should no information be given in the statement of claim regarding any attempt to settle the dispute amicably in any other way, a court summons will be issued to remedy this; in the event of failure to fulfill this obligation, the petition will be rejected. To satisfy the formal requirements contained in the Code, a copy of the notice should be sent to the debtor, together with a return receipt confirmation attached to the statement of claim.
The debtor’s notice for payment and a written declaration from the debtor acknowledging the debt also serve as a basis for the court to issue an order for payment in proceedings by writ of payment (Article 485, sec. 1(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure); this is a simplified and much faster procedure when compared to proceedings on general terms.
What elements should be included in a final notice for payment?
As already mentioned, a final notice for payment is not a pleading, and the Code of Civil Procedure does not contain the specific formal requirements that such a letter must meet. However, it should be noted that the notice will serve as evidence in court, so the following elements should be kept in mind when writing the letter:
- The date on which the letter was drawn up;
- Identification of the creditor (if the creditor is a natural person – at least his or her name and surname along with a correspondence address; if the creditor is a legal person – a business name, a registered office address, NIP (Taxpayer Identification Number) and KRS (National Court Register Number));
- Identification of the debtor (if the debtor is a natural person – at least his or her name and surname along with a correspondence address; if the debtor is a legal person – a business name, a registered office address, NIP and KRS;
- Indication of the type of the letter (“notice for payment”, “final notice for payment”, etc.);
- The pursued claim (amount and currency);
- The interest on the claim, if applicable (type, amount and dates on which the interest is calculated);
- The deadline for payment of the debt by the debtor (it should be proportional to the amount of the debt and the debtor’s financial capacity);
- The method of paying the debt (whether the payment is to be one-off payment or in instalments; whether the claimed amount is to be paid in cash (the time and place of transferring the money should be indicated) or by bank transfer (the bank account number should be indicated));
- Information about taking the case to court if the debtor does not comply with the request within the set time limit;
- The signature of the creditor.
Copies of documents (e.g. bills or invoices) confirming the legitimacy of the request may be attached to the notice for payment if required by the circumstances of the case (e.g. the debtor wants to pay the debt voluntarily, but he or she would like to receive evidence of the existence of the debt).
What must not be included in a final notice for payment?
When drawing up a final notice for payment, you must always keep in mind that the notice can be used as evidence in court proceedings. Therefore, you should not include any information that could later aggravate your situation as a party. It is also unacceptable to include threats, invective or offensive words addressed to the debtor in the letter.
A final notice for payment is an important component of the “arsenal” of means a creditor can use against a debtor. Sending the document to the debtor once will satisfy the formal requirement of a lawsuit to try to settle the dispute amicably, and may sometimes induce the debtor to voluntarily pay the debt. Drawing up such a notice is simple, and although it may cost little, it can yield much greater returns, whether in the form of an amicable resolution of the dispute or as useful evidence in a court case.
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