How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter to Stop Collector Harassment

Take the first step to stop collector harassment today

How to defend against debt collector abuseIf you’re getting hounded by a debt collector, a cease and desist can be a powerful tool to get the harassment to stop. Writing a formal cease and desist that you send by physical mail means a collector is legally required to stop all contact. The only recourse this leaves them is to sue you in civil court. If the debt they’re trying to collect is already past the statute of limitations for collection in your state, then the cease and desist will effectively end the hassle of dealing with that collection account. You won’t have to worry about that debt or that collector again.

Once you send a cease and desist, you have a right sue the collector for harassment if they continue contacting you. But the first step is to send a ceases and desist letter the right way, so you can start the process to end the harassment.

What is a cease and desist letter?

A cease and desist letter is a way to formally request that a debt collector stop contacting you when it comes to collecting on a debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) stipulates that if you formally request that you no longer wish to be contacted by a collector, they must honor that request and stop calling.

This does not mean that the debt collector’s attempts to collect will stop entirely. Doing this means that suing you in civil court will be the only avenue left for debt collection. They can take you to court to collect what you owe; assuming that the debt was actually yours to pay back.

There are several good reasons why you may decide to send a cease and desist:

  1. The collector has you confused with another consumer and is harassing you about a debt you don’t owe.
  2. The statute of limitations has expired, the collector can no longer sue you in court, and you want them to go away.
  3. You owe the debt in collections, but you don’t want to deal with them directly; this forces them to take you to court.

Step 1: Gather the documentation you need to write your letter

To fill in the free cease and desist sample we provide below, you will need:

  1. Debt collector’s business name and physical address
  2. The account numbers related to the collection attempt

You can find the information about the debt collector on any correspondence that they’ve sent you. If you can’t find any physical letter, but they’ve been calling you, either look up the company online or call them to verify their address.

TIP: Be careful when you speak with any agent from the debt collection company. If you say something that acknowledges that you owe the debt, you can reset the clock on the statute of limitations. That gives them more time to continue harassing you. If you call for their address, make sure the conversation is short and focused on them giving you their information only.

Time: 15-30 minutes

Cost: Free

Step 2: Choose the right cease and desist template

Debt.com has two free cease and desist templates that you can use. The first one simply requests them to cease all contact. The second template explains that they are contacting the wrong person for collections on that account. Use the second letter if a collection agency has you confused with someone else. Use the first cease and desist sample for all other cease-order requests.

Time: Less than 5 minutes

Cost: Free

Cease and desist letter sample 1: General request to stop all contact

This first template can be used for all general request to stop collector harassment. It doesn’t specify the reason for the cease request. It just tells them to stop.

Date
 
[your name]  
[address]  
 
[debt collector] 
[debt collector’s address] 
 
Re: [your name and debt collector’s account number(s) for your debt(s)] 
 
Dear [debt collector]: 
 
Pursuant to my rights under the state and federal fair debt collection laws, I hereby request that you immediately cease all written and oral contact with me, and my family and friends, concerning any and all alleged debts you contend I owe.

My employer prohibits me from receiving your calls or letters at work, and such contacts are embarrassing and inconvenient for me. Therefore, please also refrain from contacting my workplace in any manner as well.

You are hereby notified that if you do not comply with this request, I will immediately file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the [your state] Attorney General’s office and civil claims may be pursued.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Sincerely,

[your name]  
Download a free copy of this ceases and desist template now »

Cease and desist letter sample 2: Not the right contact for collection

This second template specifically addresses issues of mistaken identity by a debt collector. Collectors often don’t have complete information about the defaulted debts they purchase. They attempt to hunt down the right person, but they don’t always get it right. They may have you confused with another person with a similar name or they could be looking for the previous owner or tenant at your address. Whatever the case, this cease and desist template will help stop the collection calls.

Date  
 
[your name]  
[address]  
 
[debt collector]  
[debt collector’s address]  
 
Re: [wrong person’s name and related account number(s) for the debt(s)]  
 
Dear [debt collector]  
 
Pursuant to my rights under the state and federal fair debt collection laws, I hereby request that you immediately cease all calls to [your phone number] in relation to the account of [wrong person’s full name].  This is the wrong number to contact that person.

You are hereby notified that if you do not comply with this request, I will immediately file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the [your state] Attorney General’s office and civil claims may be pursued.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Sincerely,

[your name]  
Download a free copy of this ceases and desist template now »

Step 3: Edit the cease and desist template letter with the appropriate information

Click the links above to download and open the appropriate document. Then replace any information that appears in brackets with the correct information. If there’s something else you want to add because you think you need to clarify something for your specific case, add additional sentences as needed. Just be careful to limit what you say to avoid any official acknowledgment of the debt.

TIP: Cease and desist letters are designed to be formal, clear and concise.

Time: 15-30 minutes

Cost: Free

Step 4: Send your letter

There are two options here for how you can send the letter to the debt collector. If you want to keep costs as low as possible, simply send it by regular mail; all you will pay is standard postage. However, if you have the ability to pay a little more, we recommend sending the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. This costs slightly more, but you will receive official notification of when the collector received the letter. This can come in handy later if you end up filing a complaint or suing the collector in court if they continue to contact you.

Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Cost for standard mail postage: $0.55 per letter

Cost for certified mail, return receipt requested: $4.80 for electronic return receipt, $6.80 for physical return receipt

What happens after a cease and desist letter?

In a best-case scenario, nothing. If you use certified mail with return receipt requested, then you should receive the return receipt within 3-10 business days. However, that should be the last contact that you have. The collector is now legally required to stop all contact, so they can’t contact you to let you know they’re stopping. They just stop and you no longer need to worry about those collection calls.

If the debt is past the statute of limitations when you send the cease and desist, the matter should be closed. On the other hand, if the debt is not past that statute, then the collector still has a right to sue you in civil court. You should be on the lookout for a civil court summons.

If the collector does not cease all contact and you continue to receive calls, file a debt collection complaint with the CFPB and your State Attorney General’s office. You can also decide if you wish to sue the collector in civil court for collector harassment.

If you’re still facing collector harassment and you want the calls to stop, we can help. Let Debt.com help you find the best way to deal with debt collectors and fight back.

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Article last modified on January 31, 2019. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter to Stop Collector Harassment - AMP.