Credit holds are often necessary when customers fail to pay as agreed. The hold prevents the customer from purchasing additional goods or services until you receive payment. However, the letter requires careful consideration so that it accomplishes the goal of collecting on the account while keeping the client as a customer. It is possible that some customers upset by an account credit hold letter may take their business elsewhere. That's why other possibilities for collecting are important before sending the letter as a last resort.
Review the payment history on the account. Confirm that the customer has received numerous payment reminders by mail and by telephone.
Write the letter using an understanding but strong tone as you show appreciation for the customer while insisting on payment. In the first paragraph, thank the customer for supporting your business, and acknowledge that tough economic times or other reasons can cause any customer to fall behind on an account.
Announce the credit hold with the first sentence in the second paragraph so that it stands alone for emphasis. Write that, "However, I regret we must suspend your credit immediately because of non-payment." Or use different wording conveying the same message.
Detail the balance due in the third paragraph and tell exactly what must happen to lift the credit hold. Provide a deadline for payment and tell the customer that assignment to a debt collector is possible.
End the letter by again thanking the customer for his loyalty. Place your direct telephone number in the letter and invite the customer to call to discuss payment arrangements.
- "The Business Letter Handbook"; Michael Muckian, et al.; 1996
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