When creditors need to call in a debt that is not being paid by a consumer, they may give the problem to a debt collecting agency. Sometimes, debt collectors can be extremely persistent and actually harass a consumer.
If this happens, the consumer can send a cease and desist (C&D) letter to the collection agency requesting or insisting that they stop harassing communication.
In some cases, harassment consists of calls to the consumer five to ten times each day. The calls may even be during working hours or late at night.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created by congress to regulate debt collection agencies’ practices. If the debt collector is calling the consumer at work, they must stop if they receive a phone call from the consumer requesting them to stop.
If the consumer is called at home, they need to write a cease and desist letter to get the debt collector to stop.
While it is legitimate for a collection agency to collect the money owed, it is not legitimate for them to intimidate and harass the consumer. The best practices of debt collectors is to call consumers two to three times per week.
According to the FDCPA, consumers have the right to force a debt collection agency to stop contacting them. While this may be a short-term solution for an irritating problem, it may cause more trouble for the consumer in the long-term. It is recommended only to send this type of letter if the consumer has to.
It could make the debt collector angry and make his or her job more difficult. If they cannot contact the consumer by phone, they may resort to taking legal action.
They could also decide to sell the debt to another collection agency. For one thing, the letter could increase the chance the collection agency will sue and, since it stops all communication, the consumer may not know what other steps the collection agency intends to take.
Not all creditors have to stop when a C&D letter is received. The original creditor can still contact the consumer even if he or she has sent a letter asking them to stop. Original creditors are not bound by the FDCPA.
One thing consumers should consider before sending a C&D letter is that the creditor could stop trying to collect the debt, and this will cause a negative result on the credit report of the consumer. It would be much better to have a repayment agreement with the creditor.
Some tips for writing a C&D letter to a collection agency:
• The letter should be neat and easy to read. Preferable typed and printed from a computer. The instructions need to be legible or the agency will possibly discard them.
• The letter should not contain the phone number of the consumer, as the whole point is to stop the calls.
• The letter should be mailed to the last address or collection agency listed on the latest notice. It should be addressed to a specific person and not To Whom It May Concern.
• The letter should be sent certified mail with return receipt requested because this means someone at the agency has to sign that the letter was received.
• Copies of all correspondence should be kept including a log of the time, date and place of all phone calls.
• The consumer should continue to open his or her mail to see if the agency has sent any updates on their collection process.
• If the letter does not stop the agency from calling, the consumer should take the issue to the next level and inform their state’s Attorney General’s office.
Below is a sample cease and desist letter to a collection agency. It is written as a formal business letter and sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested.
Sample Cease And Desist Letter To A Collection Agency
City, State, Zip Code
Debt Collector’s Name
Collection Agency’s Name
Collection Agency’s Address
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Cease and desist contact of Account Number
Dear Debt Collector’s Name:
This letter is a formal request that you cease and desist contacting me. It is also formal notification that I will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission in STATE Attorney General’s office, and I will pursue civil and criminal claims if you do not comply.
It is my right according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Section 805(C) to request that you stop contacting me about my debt.
After receiving this notice, according to the above law, you can only contact me to:
• Tell me that any further efforts on the part of your company to contact me are being terminated.
• To inform me that your company may take specific actions that are ordinarily taken by debt collectors or creditors.
• If applicable, to tell me that your company intends to take a specific action.
Kindly cease and desist from contacting me immediately upon receipt of this letter.
Sender’s Printed Name