Are you tired of receiving harassing phone calls from debt collectors? Are you desperate to put a stop to it?
We all know we should pay our debts. But, a collection agency does not have the right to harass you, even if you are behind on your payments.
Luckily, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you, your family, and friends from being constantly contacted and harassed by these agencies.
Part of this protection includes the right to request that debt collectors stop calling you completely. In order to legally make this request, it must be done in writing with a cease and desist letter.
We’ll help you figure out when an appropriate time to send a cease and desist letter is. Plus, what you should expect once it’s received.
Most importantly, we’ll take you through the steps of writing a cease and desist letter. So you’ll be prepared and know what you’re doing when it’s your turn.
We’re going to cover:
- What is a Cease and Desist Letter?
- Other Names for a Cease and Desist Letter
- Why Send A Cease and Desist Letter?
- When Should you Send a Cease and Desist Letter?
- What Should a Cease and Desist Letter Include?
- An Example Letter
- What Should you Expect After you Send a Cease and Desist Letter?
- What if the Debt Collector Ignores your Cease and Desist Letter?
- Pros and Cons of Sending a Cease and Desist Letter
- Cease and Desist Letter Step-by-Step Infographic
What is a Cease and Desist Letter?
A cease and desist letter is sent with the purpose to demand a debt collector to stop their aggressive communications in an attempt to collect a debt.
A cease and desist letter is often the most effective way to force a debt collector to stop their harassing phone calls.
Other Names for a Cease and Desist Letter
You might have heard of the following terms when someone is referring to a cease and desist letter:
- Cease and desist notice
- Cease and desist form
- Demand letter
- Stop harassment letter
No matter how you choose to say it, the truth is these terms all have the same meaning. So whether you refer to it as a demand letter or a cease and desist letter, the debt collector will have to respond the same way.
Why Send A Cease and Desist Letter?
Writing a cease and desist letter can be overwhelming at first, but it’s simpler than you might think. You don’t have to include any fancy legal language.
You just have to make it simple to read and easy to understand. Make sure you’re very specific on not wanting the debt collector to contact you anymore.
We recommend you type the letter so there’s no question of legibility. This way, the debt collector can’t claim they do not understand your writing and they’ll be forced to comply with your demands.
Situations you’d send a cease and desist letter for:
- Debt Collection
- Violation of Non- Compete Agreement
- Copyright Infringement
- Breach of Contract
- Trademark Infringement
- Patent Infringement
- Defamation of Character
For the purpose of this article, we are going to concentrate on debt collection.
When Should you Send a Cease and Desist Letter?
You can send a cease and desist letter if your debt collector:
- Is calling you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm
- Has contacted you while at work when you have already told them that calls are not allowed.
- They are discussing your debt with other people besides you, your spouse, or your attorney.
- They used obscene or profane language to intimidate you.
- You have an attorney representing you and they are still contacting you.
- They make a threat to take your property without a legal basis or arrest you.
- They place a garnishment of your federal benefits. These include Social Security, Veteran, or Military Benefits.
Once you have determined that a debt collector has crossed the line by taking one of the above mentioned actions, you will draft and send your cease and desist letter.
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What Should a Cease and Desist Letter Include?
There’s a couple of different things that you need to include in your cease and desist letter.
We’ve broken it down for you below, step by step. So you’ll be able to follow along and draft your own letter along the way.
- Your name and contact information
- Your Name
- Your address
123 Marylane Ct.
Brooklyn NY 11220
The Debt Collector’s Information
- The name and contact information of the recipient
- Debt Collector’s Name
- Their Address
- Account Number
Debt Collection Associates, LLC
123 Collect Boulevard
Norfolk, VA 23502
- Dear (Contact Person’s Last Name),
- To whom it may concern,
Dear Mr. Smith,
To Whom It May Concern,
(broken down into 3 sections)
- A clear statement regarding the actions that you are ordering cease
- Communications with you or family members
- Calls at your work
- Or that you wish they would only contact you at certain times
This letter serves as notice to you and your company to immediately cease and desist all contact and communication with me, regarding the collection of the debt mentioned above. I received a telephone call on 9/15/2018 and numerous messages on that same day. You claim that I owe a debt in the amount of $15,768 to Capital One, Account number 1234567890.
- Demand them to stop. If not, you will pursue legal action and place complaints.
- Let them know that if they do not comply with your request, you will place a complaint with:
- Federal Trade Commission
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Attorney General
- Also let them know that if they do not comply, you will a pursue legal action.
- Let them know that if they do not comply with your request, you will place a complaint with:
As to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1692, I demand that you and your company cease all further contact with me including but not limited to communication via telephone, electronic mail, or mail correspondence. Your actions to collect this debt from me are harassing and very aggressive, affecting me emotionally and causing me too much stress.
If you continue to contact me other than to notify me that you are ceasing all communication, I will be forced to take legal action against you and your company for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. As well, I will be filing complaints with Federal Trade Commission and Attorney General.
- A time limit to comply (most commonly, people give them 10–15 days to respond)
If within 10 business days I have not received any notification from you or your company of ending communications, I will pursue legal action and place my complaints.
The Complimentary Close
- Signature line
- Type your name
String all the sections together and BAM! A complete cease and desist letter that’s ready to send to those pesky debt collectors.
We’ve put it all together for you in an example letter below.
An Example Letter:
After you finish writing your letter, you should print and sign it before sending it to the collection agency.
Make sure you send the cease and desist letter via certified mail. This way, you’ll be able to track the letter and see that the debt collector has received it.
What Should you Expect After you Send a Cease and Desist Letter?
Once they receive the letter, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows your debt collector to contact you one last time.
They will contact you via mail and let you know one of the following:
- That they won’t be taking any additional collection action for the debt.
- That they might, or will, take certain action in the future.
Make sure you’re aware that sending a cease and desist letter may cause the debt collection agency to open a lawsuit against you. The lawsuit is their final play to collect on that debt. They’ll do this because you’ve cut all their other abilities to collect on that debt.
Constant phone calls are the most effective way for a debt collector to collect on an account. As soon as you cut that avenue off, they have no other choice but to sue you or sell your debt to another collection agency.
We know, the thought of getting sued is scary.
That’s why so many people seek out the help out of a reputable debt settlement company. By doing this, you’ll be able to stop the harassment while having a professional in your corner to help guide you through without incident.
Plus, a debt settlement company will actually help you settle out those outstanding accounts for less than you owe. So, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief with your accounts settled and the debt collectors off of your back.
What if the Debt Collector Ignores your Cease and Desist Letter?
If the debt collector ignores your cease and desist letter, your next move should be to report them.
You’ll file a report with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your State Attorney General. They both will help put a stop to the harassment.
Before doing this, you’ll want to verify that you have the right debt and collection agency. Keep in mind that sending a cease and desist letter only applies to the agency in which you send the letter, not your actual account.
A cease and desist letter does not wipe out your account. It simply means the debt collector cannot contact you about it anymore.
Once a debt collector receives your cease and desist letter, they may sell your debt to another collection agency. That means the new agency that now holds your account is legally allowed to start calling you to collect on that debt.
If you’d like these calls to stop, you’ll have to send another cease and desist letter to the new collection agency that now holds your account.
Pros and Cons of Sending a Cease and Desist Letter
When it comes to a cease and desist letter, there’s one very big advantage to sending one. And that is the relief you’ll experience from the constant phone calls stopping.
A cease and desist letter forbids any real communication with you and this alone makes it a valuable option for many people who feel like they’re being severely harassed on a daily basis.
However, that sense of relief can come with some serious consequences.
A cease and desist letter does not change the status of the outstanding debts on your credit report, so your credit score will continue to be affected by your delinquent accounts.
That means your credit score will continue to drop the longer you go without paying your balances. And the longer you go without paying, the more interest will add up. See the vicious cycle you’re getting yourself into?
If you’re sending the cease and desist letter to simply get the creditors off of your back, it’s not a long term solution. Yes, you need the harassment to stop. But, you also have to figure out a plan to get those balances back to $0.
The letter is also not going to stop a collection lawsuit. And if they weren’t thinking about it before…they might now that you’ve sent a cease and desist letter. So be prepared for any legal action that may follow your letter.
If you’re looking for relief from the constant harassment of a debt collection agency, a cease and desist letter is the way to go. It will force all communication to end, and you’ll be able to put your feet up and finally relax.
You should follow the steps we’ve outlined above to write an effective cease and desist letter to your debt collectors.
Always keep in mind that a cease and desist letter can come with certain consequences. So, you need to be aware and prepared for any impending legal action that may come your way.
Have you written a successful cease and desist letter to a debt collector? Let us know in the comments!