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Theft of Services Demand Letter (Free Template)

Camila Lopez - Business - June 6, 2024

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    Have you provided services that you haven’t received payment for? You may be experiencing “theft of services,” which in most states is both a criminal and civil offense. In the article below, we discuss how you can get paid for services you render by sending a demand letter, and what other actions you can take against someone for this type of theft. 

    Did you know we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a demand letter? Check out our demand letter tool.

    What is Theft of Services? 

    Theft of services is usually a criminal offense where someone intentionally obtains the benefits of services without paying for them or providing compensation. This can include a wide range of services, such as labor, design, and other professional services. For example, you own a home repair business and are hired as a contractor by a homeowner. After completing the repairs as promised, you expected the homeowner to pay $10,000. However, the homeowner never pays for the services you performed. 

    Individuals that have committed theft of services can find themselves liable not only under criminal law but also civilly to the person that performed the services. In the example above, the owner of the home repair business can sue the homeowner for $10,000 in small claims court for services they performed

    Why is a Demand Letter for Theft of Services Important? 

    A demand letter can be sent in situations where a client hasn’t paid you for your services. In your demand letter, you can ask for payment and notify the individual of your intent to sue if you don’t get paid for your services.

    Here are at least 5 good reasons to first send a theft of services demand letter before taking legal action:  

    1. Depending on the state you are filing a lawsuit in, you may be required to demand payment before filing. For example, in California, small claims courts, you are required to first demand payment from the person you are suing before filing. By sending a demand letter, you are completing this requirement. 

    2. Depending on your state’s laws, you may be required to send written notice before suing someone for a theft of services claim. For example, under Florida law, to be able to recover additional damages for theft of services (referred to as civil theft), you must first provide written notice to the person you intend to sue and give them 30 days to respond. By sending a demand letter, you are fulfilling this requirement. 

    3. A demand letter signals to the person who committed the theft that you are serious about resolving the dispute and that you are willing to take action. 

    4. Sending a written demand letter for theft of services assures you there is a record of your attempt to settle. So while demands can be made orally, we recommend making any demands in writing. Writing a letter can sometimes be very effective as it is a more formal way of making a demand. 

    5. The most important reason to send a theft of services demand letter is that it may lead to a settlement without incurring court costs!  

    Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Write a Theft of Services Demand Letter?

    There is no formal requirement that states you need to hire an attorney to write your demand letter. You can hire an attorney or write a theft of services demand letter on your own. 

    Learn about the pros and cons of hiring a lawyer to write a demand letter. 

    What to Include in Your Demand Letter for Theft of Services

    Unsure of what to include in your letter? Below we have included suggestions on the most important things to include in your demand letter:  

    • Discuss important facts and explain why you are seeking payment. For example, you work as a mechanic at your auto repair shop, and you repair a damaged car for a customer. After performing the repairs, your customer doesn’t pay you. In the demand letter, discuss how much it cost to repair the damage to the car, what estimate you provided the customer before performing the repairs, etc. 

    • Include your contact information, so the client or person you are suing knows where to reach you in case they want to reach a settlement. Most people choose to communicate via email or other forms of writing. Make sure to include an email address along with any other form of communication you are comfortable with. 

    • Include where you would like to receive payment. If you own a business, your client may email the check to you at the mailing address you provide. Or consider using Venmo or Paypal if you are comfortable with those options.

    • Attach other documents or photos that may be necessary and could be used as evidence later in case of legal action. For example, photos of the work you performed, a contract, invoices you gave to a client, or even a police report if you also reported the theft to local law enforcement. 

    • Include a deadline to respond to you. Typically you can give the other person 14 days to respond to you and state that if they do not respond within that time, you intend to sue them. However, as some states have codified theft of services, you should confirm there is not a different timeframe you are required to give the other person. 

    Sample Theft of Services Demand Letter

    Below is a sample demand letter for theft of services. This letter is from a freelance photographer to someone they performed services for. When using this template, make sure to fill it with the appropriate facts of your case. 


    [Your Name]

    [Your Address]

    [Date]

    [Other Party’s Name]

    [Other Party’s Address]

    Via USPS

    RE: Demand for Payment of Services 

    Dear [Other Party’s Name],

    I am contacting you demanding payment for [amount owed]. I am attempting to resolve this out of court, but if we cannot come to an agreement, I intend to sue. 

    Here is a statement of my case that I intend to submit to the court:

    On [date], I was hired by [other party’s name] to photograph a birthday party on [date performance was to occur] for [amount agreed upon]. On [date service was performed], I took pictures as promised and edited the pictures for [other party’s name]. After completing all my work, I invoiced [other party’s name] for [amount owed] to be paid by [date payment was due]. However, I never heard back from [other party’s name] and have yet to receive payment for the work I performed. I am now demanding payment of [amount owed]

    I look forward to resolving this matter amicably, and I am amenable to discussing mediation. You may contact me at [your email] if you would like to discuss this matter further. Please send me a check payable to my name to the address listed above. 

    If I do not hear from you by [14 days from now], you leave me no alternative but to file a lawsuit against you. In the event of a lawsuit, I intend to seek redress to the fullest extent permitted by law, including, but not limited to, additional damages, legal services costs, court costs, and accrued interest. 

    Sincerely,

    _____________________________

    [Your Name & Sign Above]

    Are you a business owner looking for a more specific demand letter template or theme? Here are some other articles we have published:

    How to Send a Demand Letter for Theft of Services 

    The most common way people send their demand letter is via email or mail. For letters that you mail, consider sending your letter with tracking information so that you know when it has been delivered.

    Learn about more ways you can send your demand letter. 

    Next Steps After Sending a Demand Letter  

    If you receive no response, consider sending a final demand letter. If, after sending a final demand letter, you still haven’t been paid, consider suing for theft of services in small claims court.  

    Small claims courts were designed to provide an accessible and cost-effective way for individuals and businesses to resolve their disputes without the need for a lawyer. In most cases, the parties involved will represent themselves in court. If you have a dispute against someone for theft of services suing in small claims court could lead to payment! 


    Did you know we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a demand letter? Check out our demand letter tool.

    Author

    Camila Lopez

    Legal Educator @ People Clerk. Camila holds a law degree and is a certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.

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