The first in a series of dunning letters sent to customers is typically a polite reminder to pay an overdue amount on an account. The letter includes information about how much is owed and the number of days past due. A gentle request for contact is usually included.
The purpose of a dunning letter is to notify a customer of a past-due payment, and it is designed to prod the customer into taking action. The content of each letter contains the same general information concerning account details, such as account number and the exact amount due. Where differences come into play is in the general tone of each letter. The language in the first letter is polite and helpful, urging the customer to resolve the matter promptly to avoid potential damage to the customer's credit rating. The tone and wording in follow-up letters is increasingly strident.
The second dunning letter starts out by acknowledging that the customer has not responded to the first letter, and the customer is quickly informed of the amount due. The tone of the second letter is polite but urgent. A third dunning letter relays to the customer how serious the situation has become. Strong wording is used to explain the consequences of further inaction, which usually involves referring the account to collections.