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Unpaid invoice reminder: procedures + example

Every year, 56 billion euros of invoices remain unpaid according to the Coface, this corresponds to 2% of the French GDP. Unpaid invoices are the 1ʳᵉ cause of bankruptcy in France. Indeed, unpaid invoices generate holes in the cash flow of companies, generating difficulties for them to pay their debts to their own suppliers. For example, in 2020, 55% of companies did not respond to calls for tender for fear of not being paid on time. Also, according to Allianz, business failures in France could rebound by 15% in 2022 and 33% in 2023. With prices soaring and in the context of the war in Ukraine, it is therefore important to do what is necessary to get paid quickly.


What does the law say?

With certain exceptions, article L.441-6 of the Commercial Code stipulates that a company has 30 days to pay its invoices from the date of receipt of the goods or the realization of the service. Here are the exceptions:

  • Agreement on a payment term of +45 or +60 days between the parties as of the end of the month in which the invoice is issued;
  • Public health facilities have a maximum of 50 days;
  • Recurring invoices, which have a 45-day term from the date of issue.

Is dunning mandatory?

Making a reminder in case of unpaid invoices is not a compulsory act. On the other hand, to optimize your commercial relations, we recommend that you send a dunning letter or e-mail before directly putting your customer in default. Indeed, unpaid invoices are mainly due to oversights, accounting errors or losses. A reminder will thus prove your good faith and the will to find an amicable agreement in the first place.

What is its legal value?

Whether it is a letter or an email, the reminder has no legal no legal value. Thus, in the context of a lawsuit, you will not be able to take advantage of it.

How to prevent an unpaid bill?

To avoid unpaid bills, always remember the following:

  1. Check the creditworthiness of the client

    You should check the company's debt rating via its registration, or hire an intelligence agency.

  2. Note the legal mentions and penalties on the estimate

    An estimate must include a certain number of legal mentions, notably the services provided, to demonstrate your professionalism and protect you in case of litigation. It is essential to fill it in precisely and to note the amount of penalties foreseen in case of late payment. The customer is thus warned!

  3. Impose a down payment

    Although it does not guarantee a complete sum, the down payment reduces the risk of default. It must be specified in the general sales conditions which must be accepted and signed by the client beforehand.

  4. Send a reminder quickly

    The longer you wait, the greater the risk of non-payment, so do not wait too long. One or two days after the due date with a simple reminder is enough, because as we have seen, it is certainly a mistake or an oversight.

  5. Take out an insurance

    There are insurances protecting against late payments and defaults. It is a way to ensure that you receive all your receivables and to limit the impact on your cash flow so as not to jeopardize your business.

How to prevent an unpaid bill?

We recommend that you send a first reminder to the customer one week after the payment deadline. In general, it is not necessary to send a second reminder. The first reminder is sufficient, as most customers quickly realize the oversight or error and you will receive your payment within a week.

If your debtor has still not made the payment after this first reminder, you will have to consider one reminder letter or email per week. As reminders are not obligatory, there is no set number of reminders to be sent. Three reminders are however the norm and prove your desire to start a long-lasting commercial relationship, while allowing the customer to realize that he has not paid his debt.

Don't forget to send your reminder letters by registered mail or by e-mail with acknowledgement of receipt. This will be a useful proof in case of legal proceedings.

What if the customer still doesn't pay?

If, despite your reminder e-mails, your bill remains unpaid, you can invoke the legal authorities for a formal notice. A letter of formal notice is obligatory in order to bring a case before the courts and to explain in a clear and formal way what you are accusing the other party of. This letter asks the latter to fulfill his obligations within a defined period of time, under penalty of further proceedings. 

If you have sold your receivables to a factoring company, the factoring company will carry out all the collection steps for you.

Sample dunning letter

Subject: Invoice pending payment

Hello Mrs/Mr. [Name of person or position held],

Unless there is an error or omission on our part, I wanted to bring to your attention a few invoices that have come due for payment but have not yet been settled. 


Invoice number


Expiry date





Please also find the attached invoice.

To make the payment, click on the link indicated.

Should your payment reach us before receipt of this letter, please disregard it.

S’il s’agit d’une erreur, veuillez nous excuser et contacter le service clientèle au <numéro de contact> ou à l’email suivant <email de contact>.

Yours sincerely,


You can also access other examples of dunning here.

Fintecture automatic payment reminders

With Fintectureyou can automate your reminders. As shown below, choose whether you want to dun your customers 3 days before the due date, the next day, or 10 days later with a payment link.

In addition, our management interface allows you to control all your transfers to avoid unpaid invoices:

  • Centralize and track all your cash receipts in real time;
  • Free up your outstanding receivables more quickly.

Our piloting interface also allows you to to get paid faster:

  • Integrate a payment link in your quotes, orders or invoices;
  • Automatic collection and dunning for your overdue invoices and pending quotes.

Thanks to the control interface, you can finally synchronize your accounting data with those of your customers.

Fintecture lets you send payment links by e-mail, link, SMS, QR Code or in bulk to several customers at once. Users of Immediate Transfer users are redirected to their banking application, where all they have to do is validate their transaction quickly and securely! The Immediate Transfer is also irrevocable and l'payment authorization from the payer's bank immediateall without without any exchange of banking information.

To pay is very simple, the customer :

  1. Click or scan the link
  2. Authenticates with his bank 
  3. Validates the transaction

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