Cease and Desist Letters: The Best Tool ToFight Back Against Debt Collectors

    One of the most powerful bodies of law a consumer can use to fight back against debt collector harassment is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), or its California counterpart the Rosenthal Debt Collection Practices Act (RFDCPA).  Under the FDCPA and Rosenthal Act, you can demand that a debt collector stop contacting you by telephone or in writing about a debt by submitting a “cease and desist” letter to the debt collector.  Once the debt collector receives your cease and desist letter, the debt collector is required by law to stop all contact with you.  If the debt collector attempts to contact you after receiving your cease and desist letter, you can pursue the debt collector for damages for violating your consumer rights under the FDCPA and RFDCPA.

    Although the debt collector/creditor will no longer be able to contact you about the debt, they still have the ability to file a lawsuit against you to collect on the debt using legally available remedies.  Be sure to consult with an attorney if you receive a lawsuit or receive information indicating that a lawsuit has been filed against you.

    How To Write A Cease And Desist Letter

    Cease and desist letters should be prepared in writing so that you can retain a copy of your letter.  Cease and desist letters are simple to write and are easy to send to debt collectors.  Letters can be as simple at a two-line email response to a collections email you received or a letter faxed to the debt collector’s office.  You will need to gather basic information to prepare a cease and desist letter: (1) debt collector’s business name, mailing address, facsimile number, and/or email address; (2) name of current creditor and account number.  This information can be found on any debt collections correspondence, debt collection emails and/or your credit reports.

    The language of the cease and desist letter/email can be as simple as:  “I refuse to pay this debt.  Cease and desist from contacting me about this debt.”  Be sure to include your name and the creditor’s account number on your correspondence.  In order to be an effective cease and desist letter, you must provide enough information about your identity that will allow the debt collector to identify you in their system.If the debt collector cannot find your name or your account with the information contained in your letter, the debt collector can argue that your letter did not constitute a proper cease and desist letter under the FDCPA and/or Rosenthal Act due to lack of clear information.

    You can write a cease and desist letter to each of your creditor accounts to stop the harassing collection communications from debt collectors.  It is not uncommon that some debt collectors and creditors will fail to follow the law in response to your cease and desist letter.  Such failures on the part of the debt collector or creditor may subject them to an array of consumer protection penalties which may require them to pay you statutory damages up to $1,000 per violation, your actual damages, attorneys fees and costs, and punitive damages.  An experienced attorney may even be able to negotiate a forgiveness of your debt and have the creditor delete any negative tradeline it has reported to the credit bureaus.

    How To Send Your Cease And Desist Letter To The Debt Collector

    Be sure to send your cease and desist letter to the debt collector in manner where you can confirm the debt collector has received your letter.  Simple ways to send your cease and desist letter to the debt collector may be by email (or reply email), facsimile and/or United State Postal Service certified mail or other services utilizing a tracking number (Fedex or UPS).

    If you received debt collection emails from debt collectors/creditors, you can respond to the emails with the cease and desist language.  Since the debt collector initiated an email to you, a reply to the sender’s email address will ensure that your cease and desist communication was received by the debt collector’s office.  Sending your cease and desist letter via email will not cost you any money out of pocket.

    If you received written debt collection letters from debt collectors/creditors, you can send your cease and desist letter to the facsimile number identified on the collections letter.  Be sure to retain your facsimile confirmation sheet for when/if you need to prove in court that your letter was sent and received by the debt collector/creditor.  Sending your cease and desist letter via facsimile may be of low cost or no out of pocket cost to you.

    If you plan to prepare your written cease and desist letter for sending to the debt collector/creditor via United State Postal Service, it is highly recommended that you send such letters via certified mail so that you have proof of delivery of your cease and desist letter.  You may also use other courier services that utilizes tracking numbers (Fedex or UPS) to ensure you have proof that your letter was sent and received by the debt collector/creditor.  Using USPS may cost as much as $6.00 to send per creditor letter; Fedex and/or UPS may cost as much as $20.00 per creditor letter.

    Damages:  Fighting Back Against Debt Collectors/Creditors

    Debt collectors and/or creditors who fail to abide by the provisions of the FDCPA and RFDCPA Act may have to pay you damages.  Violations of the FDCPA and RFDCPA include statutory damages of up to $1,000.00, actual damages including any pecuniary losses you suffered, attorneys fees and court costs for hiring an attorney to help you pursue the debt collector, and punitive damages to punish the debt collector.  You may even be able to negotiate debt forgiveness and for deletion of any negative tradeline the creditor has reported to the credit bureaus. If the debt amount being collected on is large, you may be able to use a debt collector’s violation of FDCPA and Rosenthal Act as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the debt collector/creditor.  When you consider pursuing a debt collector/creditor for their harassing collections conduct, you should consult with an attorney experienced in handling debt collection abuse and harassment cases.

    Contact Us Today And Tell Us Your Story

    Everyone’s experience with debt collectors and creditors is different.  However, the rules contained in the FDCPA an RFDCPA do not change.  Debt collectors and/or creditors must follow the law and not harass you when collecting on the debt.  If you believe that a creditor has violated your rights under the FDCPA or FDCPA, you may have legal recourse.  Contact the debt harassment lawyers at the Consumer Justice Law Center today at (888) 488-2552 or email us at and tell us your story.

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