Sample Cease and Desist Letter Template for Debt Collectors

When you’re in debt and receiving constant phone calls from a debt collector, you might start to feel powerless. However, there is a way to end those annoying collection calls and letters you receive.

stop sign

Under Section 805(c) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you can ask a debt collector to stop contacting you, and they must comply. Find out whether a cease and desist letter is right for you, and read a sample letter to get you started in the process.

What is a cease and desist letter?

A cease and desist letter to a debt collector is a formal written notice that instructs a debt collector to stop contacting you about a debt. It also notifies the debt collector that you are aware of your legal rights and that you are prepared to take legal action if necessary.

You can send a cease and desist letter if you want the debt collector to stop calling you. The purpose of this letter is to formally request that the stop contacting you about the debt you owe.

When should I send a cease and desist letter to a debt collector?

A cease and desist letter should be sent when a debt collector contacts you about a debt that you do not believe you owe or if the debt collector is using harassing tactics.

What happens after sending a cease and desist letter to a debt collector?

After the debt collector receives your cease and desist letter, they may only contact you one more time regarding your debt.

In this instance, the debt collector may call or write to 1) inform you that they will no longer attempt to collect the debt and 2) respond to your inquiry. If they contact you for any other reason, they might be in violation of the FDCPA and be subject to legal penalties.

However, this doesn’t mean that the debt collector can’t attempt to collect the debt in other ways. They still have the right to sue you for the amount you owe.

Debt collectors can also place negative marks on your credit report and pursue other ways of satisfying the debt that they normally use. However, with a written cease and desist letter, a debt collection agency can’t barrage you with phone calls and letters as a method of getting you to pay.

What happens if a debt collector does not comply with my cease and desist letter?

Once you send it and confirm it has been received, the debt collector will most likely stop calling. If they don’t, you may want to contact a credit repair company or attorney. You can also contact your state’s Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to file a complaint.

Any contact beyond informing you of their next steps may expose the debt collector to both civil and criminal liability. Contacting a reputable expert early on in the process can potentially strengthen your case against debt collectors if they are indeed in the wrong.

Pros and Cons of Sending a Cease and Desist Letter

Sending a cease and desist letter can turn out to be a bit of a gamble because there are really only two potential outcomes. The first is that the debt collector decides to stop pursuing your debt altogether. Obviously, that would be an ideal scenario.

However, the second potential outcome is that the debt collection company could decide to file a lawsuit against you. So, you don’t have to make the decision entirely blindly. It might be fairly obvious that collecting on the debt might not be worth their effort in some situations. That’s because it takes debt collectors time and money to sue someone and collect the money.

If your debt is small or old (particularly if it’s nearing your state’s statute of limitations), the debt collector might decide that the debt isn’t worth pursuing.

On the other hand, when they receive your cease and desist letter, they may realize that they won’t receive any money from you unless they take more drastic actions. So, there’s definitely a risk of provoking them, especially if you owe a large amount of money.

Even with the time it takes to bring a lawsuit to trial and pay for an attorney, the debt collector might still feel that it’s in their best interest to move forward with legal action. No matter what size your debt is or its age, you should always be prepared for this response because there’s no way to know for sure what they will do.

Tips for Sending a Cease and Desist Letter

When sending a cease and desist letter, it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines. First, use firm, yet professional language. This is not the place to get personal. Include your full name, address, and account number, and be sure to reference the FDCPA.

It’s advisable not to include the debt’s original account number in your cease and desist letter. The debt collector may not have that information, so you don’t want to provide them with it. It could be something they use against you in court if they file a lawsuit.

Use careful language that doesn’t implicate yourself in anything you’ve been accused of. Never acknowledge that you owe the debt. In all communications, refer to the debt as the “alleged debt.” Admitting that you owe the debt will reset the timeline for the statute of limitations.

Once the debt collector has received your cease and desist letter, the FDCPA only allows them to contact you one last time by letter. The purpose of this is to let you know what action they will take if any. They’ll be less likely to abuse this federal law if they know that you’re fully aware of your legal rights.

Certified Mail with Return Receipt

Send the letter via certified mail, with a return receipt requested so that you can confirm the debt collector received it.

Be sure to keep a copy of the cease and desist letter for your own records as well. Even if you decide not to send a cease and desist letter, you should keep detailed records of every communication.

Sample Cease and Desist Letter

The free sample letter below can be used as a template when crafting your own cease and desist letter to debt collectors. Please note that this template does not constitute legal advice. It’s only a guide for you to use when drafting your own letter.

Sample Cease and Desist Letter

{Your Name}
{Your Address}

{City}, {State} {Zip Code}

{Name of Debt Collector}
{Address}

{City}, {State} {Zip Code}

{Date}

Re: Account Number {XXXXXX}

To {Debt Collector}:

Pursuant to my rights under the provisions of Public laws 95 – 109 and 99 – 361, known collectively as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and other state and federal debt collection laws, I formally notify you to cease all communications with me regarding this alleged debt or any other alleged debts that you claim I owe.

Please be advised that if collection attempts continue after receipt of this notice, I will immediately file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the [Your State Here] Attorney General’s office.

Additionally, if I’m contacted again after receipt of this notice, I will pursue both criminal and civil claims against you and your company for violation of the FDCPA. Please be aware that going forward, after I have confirmed your receipt of this notice, any communications from your company may be recorded to be used as evidence for my claims against you.

Furthermore, be advised that any negative information appearing on my credit reports pertaining to this account will be handled with the full legal rights and remedies available to me regarding current consumer protection laws.

Regards,

{Your Name}

More Tips for Handling Debt Collectors

There are other ways to minimize your interactions with debt collectors. One way is to request that they stop calling you at your place of employment.

You should be able to make this request over the phone, and they are then legally required to comply. However, more aggressive debt collectors may ignore your request and continue to call.

If it does happen, you should record the details of your initial phone conversation. Get the name of the person you spoke to, their direct extension number, and the date and time of the call.

Keep it on hand in case your request to stop calls at work is ignored. You can then take this information to a lawyer specializing in debt collection to determine your best next steps.

Stopping Collection Calls to a Cell Phone

Another way to lessen the impact of calls to your cell phone is by employing a little modern technology. For example, if you block a debt collector’s phone number or disconnect your phone, they may just start contacting people you know.

To get around this, it’s best to let the call go to voicemail if you don’t want to talk to the debt collection agency. Both iPhones and Androids have a feature allowing you to assign a silent ringtone to specific phone numbers.

That lets your phone ring and go to voicemail when debt collectors call without having to hear it every single time. For landlines, consider silencing your ringer. Then, you can listen to your messages later to get in touch with people you actually want to hear from.

There are many effective ways to handle collection agencies when you’re in debt. Cease and desist letters are a firm way to stop them from contacting you altogether. You may have other options that are also worth exploring. However, understanding the purpose and function of cease and desist letters can help you avoid aggressive calls on a regular basis.