If you are getting harassed and contacted constantly by debt collectors, you are not alone. On average, they are about 71 million US adults that have debt in collections. This may be due to a loss of job, unforeseen expenses, and even mistakes that’s me it happened. So how do you stop these debt collectors from hounding you? This is where its cease-and-desist letter comes in.
The wonderful thing about cease-and-desist letters is that they are legally binding. Once you have sent this letter, you have the right to sue the debt collector for harassment if they continue to contact you.
In this article, we will go over what exactly a cease and desist letter is, how to right one, and what to expect after sending it.
What is a cease and desist letter?
A cease and desist letter is a legally enforceable order that directs somebody to stop engaging in a particular activity. In this case, if sent to a debt collector, it is directing a debt collector to stop contacting you.
According to the fair debt collection practices act or FDCPA, if you send out a cease-and-desist letter to the debt collectors, they must cease all further contact from that point. Not a lot of people know about this, but it is a weapon you can use against the endless harassment that you might be facing.
Why would I send a cease and desist letter?
Before formally sending out a cease and desist letter, it’s probably also just as important to figure out the reason why. Of course, this might depend on every situation, but here are a few examples that warrant a cease and desist letter:
- You are being harassed and contacted inappropriately by the debt collectors
- You are being contacted about a debt to you do not owe or have paid back already
- The debt collector is not providing enough information or validating that you actually owe this money
As I mentioned, every situation is different so these examples my not exactly match yours. Whatever the reason, make sure you do your research first before sending on something as formal as this.
Cease and desist letter example
As an example, digestyourfinances has drafted up this example letter showing you how you could formulate your cease-and-desist letter. Feel free to use this exact copy and or modify it depending on your needs and situation. This letter is to Simply inform the debt collectors that they should cease all contact with you.
[Your name] [Your return address] [Date] [Debt collector name] [Debt collector Address] Re: [Account number for the debt, if you have it] Dear [Debt collector], I am responding to your contact about a debt you are attempting to collect. You contacted me by [phone/mail], on [date]. You identified the debt as [any information they gave you about the debt]. Pursuant to my rights under the state and federal fair debt collection laws, I request that you stop all communication with me about this outstanding debt. 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. Sincerely, [Your name]
If you decide to send a cease-and-desist letter, make sure you have the following:
- An exact and dated copy of the letter you are going to send
- The correct address that your debt collector is located
- Have tracking on your letter to prove delivery
What happens after I send the letter?
So, you have drafted the letter and sent it out, now what? Well, if you have tracking on your letter, then it should typically get delivered between 3 to 10 business days. At this point, the debt collector is now legally obligated to stop contacting you. Of course, it might take a few days after delivery for them to get to your letter. It’s probably important to keep that into consideration.
Best case scenario, they will read the letter and stop contacting you entirely. If that’s the case, you won’t have to worry about those nagging phone calls and emails any longer! Well done. However, this doesn’t always happen.
If after your letter gets delivered and they continue contacting you, then this is when you start filing complaints. You can file a Debt Collection Complaint to the CFPB and your State Attorney General’s office. If you would like to pursue the matter further, you can also Sue in civil court for their harassment.
Remember, this is not legal advice but simply options that you might not have considered. Of course, the debt collector might have legal ground if you truly do this money, but at the same time, the cease-and-desist letter is indeed legally binding!
Mileage may vary, but if done right, and with a little bit of luck, you might get these debt collectors off your back! Good luck 🙂