On writing formal lettersSun, 1st Oct '06, 1:40 pm::

One of the most underappreciated things in our litigation-happy casual-khakis modern existence, is a strongly-worded letter. Over the last few generations, with trained lawyers purporting to do all the "dirty" work, the practice of regular people writing formal letters for their personal objectives has become nearly obsolete. Did some company do something terribly wrong to you? Find a lawyer & sue them! What? No lawyer wants to take your case because it's not really worth over $1,000? Well, then stop whining! Suck it up and move on.

Often in our daily lives, we come across instances where we feel wronged and defenseless though not legally victimized. We give up, thinking if it's not worth a lawsuit then we should forget about it. When in fact, we do have a recourse. A little determination and a few hours of text-editing can do what weeks and months of complaints and nagging via phone calls and meetings cannot.

Last year, I had a lot of problems at my old apartment complex before I moved to my new house. So many little things had been going wrong that I just wanted to say screw you to the apartment people and get out as fast as I could. However, I had signed a letter earlier saying I'll clean up the entire apartment before I leave, failing which, they'll charge me ridiculous amounts of cash for pesky little things - $25 for failing to defrost the fridge, $2 per bag of trash I leave. With a new house that still needed setting up and lots of cleaning, I was in no mood to clean an old apartment after I had tons of problems with it. So I did what any text-loving person would do. Wrote them a strongly-worded letter and asked for stamped confirmation of their receipt of the letter and their signed & time-stamped follow-up decision.

In the end, I didn't have to go back and spend 10-12 hours cleaning the apartment. They didn't charge me anything for cleanup or maintenance. Cost me less than 2 hours of my idle-time sitting on a computer and typing away like I do anyway. If you're curious and not afraid of the dreaded PDF format, here's the ass-kicking letter to my apartment complex, the real name replaced with [Del Boca Vista]: Letter to Del Boca Vista.

In case you're wondering, I exaggerated a LOT in the letter. Things weren't half as bad as I claimed they were. But hey, I didn't wanna clean up! And I shouldn't have had to after going through all of that!

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