What Is a Cease & Desist Letter?
A Debt Collection Cease and Desist Letter is simply a letter addressed to a debt collector that states that you refuse to pay the debt allegedly owed and/or that you want the debt collector to cease all communication with you. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it requires the debt collector do stop contacting you or face civil penalties. Usually this letter is sent by a consumer if it has been more than 30 days since the debt collector first tried to contact you. If the debt collector contacted you for the first time within the past 30 days, you may wish to instead send only a debt verification letter to learn more about the debt in question.
When the debt collector receives a cease & desist letter (sent by certified mail, return receipt requested), it may send you one further communication either advising that collection efforts are being terminated, or notifying you that certain action (other than contacting you) may or will be taken. After that, the debt collector is no longer allowed contact you with regards to collection of the debt. They are, however, still allowed to commence a lawsuit against you in court by serving you with a summons and complaint if they decide to sue you for the debt in the future.
Why Send a Cease & Desist Letter?
The immediate advantage to sending a cease and desist letter is that the telephone calls and letters should stop. Unfortunately, there are abusive debt collectors who will ignore your request and continue to contact you anyway. If this happens, the good news is that we can file an FDCPA lawsuit against the debt collector on your behalf and you may be awarded up to $1,000 plus have the debt collector pay your attorney’s fees (you would not pay us any money, we would make the debt collector pay us).
Sometimes, the debt collector will transfer your debt to a new debt collector upon receiving your cease and desist letter. When this happens, your cease and desist letter does not apply to the new debt collector, and the new debt collector is allowed to contact you. You must send a new cease and desist letter to each debt collector to make the phone calls and letters stop. Cease and desist letters are also debt specific, which means that if one debt collector is attempting to collect more than one debt from you, you must send a separate letter for each debt.
How Do I Send a Cease and Desist Letter?
Cease and desist letters should be mailed to the debt collector via certified mail, return receipt requested, and you should save a copy of every letter you send. When you receive the green certified mail return receipt card in the mail, it should show that the debt collector received your letter, and the date of receipt. Save this card! Should the debt collector continue to contact you after this date, we can use this proof of receipt to file your FDCPA claim and get you statutory damages.
Sample Cease & Desist Letter
There is certain specific language that must be used in a cease and desist letter. You must clearly state that you either “refuse to pay the debt” and/or that you “wish the debt collector to cease further communication with you.” An example of a general cease and desist letter sent to a debt collector would be:
City, State Zip
Re: Debt Collector’s Account Number (if known), Name of the Creditor
To Whom It May Concern:
This is to notify you that I refuse to pay the above-referenced debt. You are also notified that I wish you to cease all further communication with me.
(cent via certified mail, return receipt requested)
Before sending a cease and desist letter, you may want to send the debt collector a Debt Verification Request. It is usually a good idea to ask the collector to verify the debt before sending a cease and desist letter. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you have a right to dispute the debt and request verification from the debt collector within 30 days after you first receive notice of the obligation. If you request verification of a debt, the debt collector must stop its collection efforts until the debt collector sends you proof that you owe the debt.
If you have any questions about this article or any other debt-related matters, you can leave a comment below, or contact me to discuss your issue. All consultations are always free.