By Frank Mulligan
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Did you ever wonder who writes those lesser dunning letters many of us encounter at some point in our lives, the ones where the creditor might not have that strong a case? A switch to email collection methods might be preferable and feasible in the near future. Then, perhaps, we could engage in a dialogue and hash things out. Until then, though, I guess we’re stuck with something like the following:
This is our FINAL NOTICE to you for payment. You will notice that we have used capital letters for your name and for the words, FINAL NOTICE. Our use of capital letters indicates our seriousness. THIS ISSUE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
See? It really has an effect.
Capital letters also denote our resolve, as well as our righteous indignation.
Their use does nothing to substantiate our claim, that’s true, but they sure are an attention-grabber.
If full payment is not received within the next 45 days, we may be forced to employ red lettering as well as capitals in our next notice to you. We hope this matter can be resolved amicably before we are forced to go to such lengths.
In point of fact, further delays could lead us to address you in capital letters, in red ink, and in italics. It’s also possible we will be forced to employ exclamation marks more and more frequently!!!
And don’t think we’re not aware that you’ve called the main office in an attempt to clarify this bill.
You wonder why we’re billing you for a water heater lease that is rolled into another billing from a utility company.
You wonder why you can satisfy the lease bill by paying the utility bill yet we maintain we’re not in any way associated with the utility.
And you wonder why the representative you reached on the phone’s repeated answer to your inquiries was: “Gee, that’s a new one on me.”
Perhaps you should stop WONDERING about things beyond your control and PAY UP (note the capital letters – plus, we are so close to using red lettering it’s not even funny.)
Clearly, we’re not associated with the utility company, though we share the same company name as well as this joint billing arrangement.
These are coincidences. Don’t read too much into them.
If you have already made a payment, made arrangements to make a payment or were just about to make a payment but stopped to read this letter first, then please accept our apologies.
We’ve been under a lot of pressure lately, what with the economy and all, so we may have been too precipitous in threatening you with capital letters, as well as red lettering, italics and exclamation marks.
We’re extremely sorry. We would write that in capital letters but we’re afraid you might think we were threatening you again.
And if you think you have received this notice by mistake, then you should probably get rid of it.
But you should recycle it. That would be the responsible thing to do.
It’s just a suggestion. There’s no need to go all capital letters over it.
Wareham (Massachusetts) Courier editor Frank Mulligan can be reached at email@example.com.
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By Frank Mulligan