How to apologize for the inability to pay

“My deepest apologies, but I am unable to pay you by the due date.”

“Is there a way you can work with me on extending the deadline?”

“I can pay $X now and the rest by <date>.”

See also:

    Start Here

    • Be honest and transparent – tell them as soon as you know you will not be able to pay on time.
    • Don’t overshare – unless they ask for a reason, they don’t care.
    • Have a plan – be sure you tell them what you can do and when you can do it.
    • If the person to whom you owe money is a friend or personal connection, tell him or her in person or over the phone — not in text. Expect them to react negatively no matter how you deliver the message. This can bring out feelings of betrayal, anger, anxiety. Money is always a sensitive topic.
    • Pay them back, and when you do, repeat your apology.

    Talking Points

    • Hi <Name>, I’m calling because I’m sorry to tell you that I will not be able to pay you back/ pay the bill by the time we agreed.
    • You have every right to be angry or disappointed and I’m truly sorry for being unable to meet my commitment.
    • I’m doing everything I can to correct this mistake and pay your back in full [or with interest] by <date>.
    • I’m so sorry again for this. Thank you for understanding.

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