If debt collection agencies are repeatedly calling you, harassing you with messages, or trying to intimidate you in any way, use a cease and desist debt collection letter to demand that they stop. Below, we provide a strongly worded template to help you make an effective request.
The letter warns the debt collection agencies that you’ll take legal action unless the agencies respect your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
To thoroughly document the problem, we provide simple blanks for you to fill in and provide details about:
- Dates: When the unlawful correspondence took place
- Debt Demand: How much money the debt collectors are requesting, from whom, and from which accounts
- Unlawful Behavior: Details of the types of abusive and deceptive debt collection practices, and how it impacts you personally
This letter (and the FDCPA) only applies to debt collection agencies, and not to the original creditor.
What are Abusive and Deceptive Debt Collection Practices?
Abusive and deceptive debt collection practices are any methods that a debt collector may use that are against the FDCPA law due to their harassing, irritating, and stressful nature. The law recognizes that these contribute to personal bankruptcies, marital instability, the loss of jobs, and the invasion of individual privacy.
The FDCPA protects you, your family, and your friends from abusive and deceptive debt collection tactics such as:
- Calling you at unreasonable hours, such as before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm
- Contacting you at work after you’ve told them calls are not allowed
- Getting ahold of you directly even though an attorney is representing you
- Discussing your debt with anyone besides you, your spouse, or your attorney
- Using profane language to intimidate you
- Threatening to arrest you or illegally take your property
- Garnishing your federal benefits like Social Security, Veteran, or Military Benefits
Is a Cease and Desist Debt Collection Letter Legally Enforceable?
No, a cease and desist debt collection letter isn’t legally enforceable. It only serves as a warning that you’ll take legal action unless their violating behavior stops. Ideally, the agencies will stop contacting you as soon as they receive the letter, but you may need to take further action if they don’t.
Note that sending a cease and desist letter won’t forgive your debt, but it should stop the debt collection agency from unlawfully calling you. However, the debt collector can still sue you to collect the money owed.
What If Debt Collection Agencies Keep Contacting Me?
If the debt collection agency doesn’t stop unlawfully contacting you within 15 days of receiving the letter, you should submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and/or your state’s Attorney General’s office.