My doctor sent me a payment reminder letter. Normally we are given 30 days to pay and a reminder letter will be sent out after 40-50 days. But this doctor gave me only 23 days in a vacation season and sent me a reminder after 25 days (of course, I was on vacation).

Do you think this letter is written in a polite way from the patient's point of view? I have received many similar letters, but not one was written in this way. So I thought I would just post it in here for discussion.


Sehr geehrter Herr XXX

kann sich unser Computer irren ?? Die Zeit vergeht wie im Flug. Da kann es schon einmal passieren, dass man etwas vergisst. Bestimmt ist es Ihnen mit der Begleichung unserer Rechnung so ergangen. Aber das ist kein Problem. Wir haben für Sie noch einmal die genauen Daten aufgefuhrt:

  • 1
    He may have sent it sooner than you expected, but can you really say it was sent in a hasty manner? You don't know how long he spent composing it.
    – TRiG
    Jun 4 '14 at 10:29
  • 2
    This is a "standard" template, I received exactly the same one time, too (Kreis Kleve, NRW) Jun 4 '14 at 11:16
  • 2
    "Normally we are given 30 days to pay" - normally in what contexts, and with respect to which we? Often, 14 days is a much more frequent time limit for payments than 30 days. Jun 4 '14 at 14:26
  • Actually, there's no such thing as a term of credit in medical bills. They are due immediately.
    – tofro
    Mar 19 '18 at 16:00
  • @tofro Right, there is no credit term and they're due immediately. However, if no other date is given in the bill, Verzug (default) eventuates only 30 days after the invoicing or after the reminder. So the debtor can basically take this time for his payment without having to pay interests or reminder fees. Apr 22 '20 at 22:52

This is a decidedly friendly and very informal request for payment -- so informal, in fact, that the addressee may not even take it seriously.

kann sich unser Computer irren?

That's very cute, but abit out of place. A more traditional (older) person may snort, say "yes, certainly!", and ignore your letter.

Aber das ist kein Problem.

"Well, then let's wait until it is a problem for you!"

That said, I have received letters like these before and the text almost does not matter: it's a reminder resp. request for payment and any text fulfills this basic task (as long as you don't insult the customer and charge them 10€ for a minor delay). How you phrase it depends more on

  • the corporate image you want to project (friendly/hip or serious/dependable?) and
  • the expectations of your customers (do you sell pink smartphone covers or caskets?)

than on the overall cultural setting, I think. If you want to come across a bit more serious (but still friendly), I suggest something along the lines of this:


Sehr geehrter Herr XXX,

vor einigen Wochen haben Sie bei uns X bestellt. Wir hoffen, Sie sind zufrieden!

Leider konnten wir von Ihnen bisher keine Zahlung feststellen. Sie haben bestimmt nur vergessen, die Überweisung zu tätigen; deshalb möchten wir Sie freundlich daran erinnern, den Betrag von XX,YY€ bis zum DD.MM.YYYY auf untenstehendes Konto zu überweisen.

Sollten Sie das seit Erstellung dieses Schreibens schon getan haben, danken wir Ihnen und bitten Sie, es geflissentlich zu ignorieren.

Sollten Sie irgendwelche Fragen haben, zögern Sie bitte nicht, uns zu kontaktieren. Viel Freude weiterhin mit X!

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Some Name

  • 4
    After the edit, it's clear that the OP wants to figure out whether they should be offended, not how to write such a letter. I'll leave the advice here, anyway, in the hope that it may help a future Googler.
    – Raphael
    Jun 3 '14 at 16:41
  • Is "geflissentlich" a real word? In which part of germany is it used?
    – kapex
    Jun 3 '14 at 23:16
  • 1
    It's a word my grandpa would have used when he wanted to write a formal letter to the German Emperor.
    – daraos
    Jun 4 '14 at 8:31
  • 1
    @Vogel612 Right, that's one you would use. Doesn't replace "geflissentlich" by something "modern", though (which seems to be daraos' concern).
    – Raphael
    Jun 4 '14 at 9:55
  • 1
    You could say "...danken wir Ihnen und bitten Sie, es einfach zu ignorieren." but that wouldn't be as formal as the start of the letter. Personally, I would just cut "geflissentlich" out, the sentence makes perfectly sense without it, it's a filler word.
    – daraos
    Jun 4 '14 at 11:30

It's informal and friendly. But as @c.p. said the double question mark and the plenk are awful.

  • And of course it should be "aufgeführt".
    – Axel
    Jun 3 '14 at 16:11

It's not very professional, more like someone in their 20s trying to be cool. But it tries to be friendly, so I wouldn't mind receiving such a letter.

  • 2
    after rereading it, it might be someone above 60 years too :)
    – user6477
    Jun 3 '14 at 18:12

Actually, at first glance I thought I was about to read a spam-mail. I wouldn't anticipate this kind of writing from any kind of serious business partner.


I find it as a polite reminder without actually urging or asking you to pay. It appeals to your good manners and gives you the incentive to pay of your own volition thus saving face. Also the computer bit means yes there could be an error - if you think you received this in error, let us know.

It does not really matter when this is sent unless the doctor made an arrangement with you that specifies otherwise.

He performed a service you need to pay. Ideally immediately.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.