What to do when you receive a formal demand notice in France

Formal demand notice in France

The formal demand, known in France as the “lettre de mise en demeure” is a letter you can receive if you didn’t fulfill your obligations in a contract. Technically, this letter doesn’t force you to do anything, but it is still a warning you need to pay attention to.

There are actually two types of formal demand notices: disputable demands, and undisputable demands.

What does it do?

As stated earlier, it doesn’t force you to do anything. However, it still has a few consequences. For example, if you need to pay additional interest because you didn’t pay a bill, interest will only start adding up when you receive this letter.

Basically, in essence, it is the last step before you can be taken to court.

What should you do when you’ve received a disputable demand notice?

A demand notice is “disputable” if you believe that you have no reason to receive such a letter, or if the letter is incorrect. This can happen if you’ve already paid a bill, but receive this letter anyway, for example.

In this case, the first thing you need to do is open the dialogue with the company. It’s possible that this matter will be taken to court, but if you’re able to negotiate, it will save you a lot of time and money!

 What should you do when you’ve received an undisputable demand notice?

As you might expect, this refers to a notice that you can’t object to on any grounds.

Here, the best course of action is to fulfill your end of the bargain. For instance, if you were meant to pay a certain amount of money, paying at once and sending registered mail to your debt creditor stating you paid your bill will save you a lot of trouble in the future.

But what if you don’t have enough cash to pay your bill? Here, again, contacting your debt creditor is the best course of action. It could be a good idea to negotiate so that you can spread out your payments, for example.
It will also probably be worth your time to contact your insurance: your professional liability insurance can help you in quite a few circumstances, after all.

In short, a formal demand notice should be taken seriously! At the very least, you should take this time to open the dialogue with the other party, especially if you plan on opposing this letter.