Nobody intends to fall behind on bills. Unfortunately, the unexpected can happen at any time: a job loss, illness, or divorce can come out of nowhere. If you’re not prepared, it can be financially devastating. As soon as your payments are late, the calls begin.
Although there are rules that govern creditors and collection agencies, some of them push the envelope. Unscrupulous ones may not follow the rules at all, and you may find yourself receiving calls at all hours of the night, incessantly, and at work. They may even contact your friends and family about your debts. The goal of the collection agency or creditor is to collect as much of the debt as possible, and some will even go as far as to lie or threaten legal action if you don’t pay up.
Their calls can pressure you and cause stress as you sort out how you’re going to pay. You don’t have to put up with these calls! You can send your creditors a “cease and desist” letter to stop receiving these harassing phone calls.
What Is a Cease and Desist Letter?
Quite simply, a cease and desist letter is a letter that you send to your creditors or a collection agency requesting that they stop calling you while you figure out your best course of action for solving your debt problem. It doesn’t make the debt go away, but it should make the phone calls stop.
Who Must Honor It?
Debt collection agencies are required to stop calling you after they receive your letter. Because they don’t want to be reported to debt regulators, there’s a good chance your creditors will stop calling as well.
If you’re being contacted by a lawyer on behalf of a creditor, the lawyer must stop contacting you too, provided he or she handles more than two debts in a year. The point of a cease and desist letter is to stop receiving harassing communications. Your creditors are still able to try to collect the debt owed, though.
What Are the Consequences?
A cease and desists letter is not merely a request for your creditors to stop calling you; it means that you refuse to talk with them anymore. Most likely, your creditors will send your debt to court. If you’re not willing to talk to them, you’re not willing to negotiate. If they can’t contact you, they really have no choice but to take you to court, as they have no other recourse to get the money they believe they’re owed.
If you file a cease and desist order and your creditors bring you to court, you may have a lien put on your property. A lien is a legal notice placed on your property, which means that if you want to sell your home, you’ll have to pay the lien (the debt) first. In addition, the inability to pay this lien may result in damage to your credit score. If you are interested in learning more about the potential legal ramifications of sending a cease and desist letter, please consult with a legal professional.
Should You Send a Cease and Desist Letter?
Only you can decide whether sending a cease and desist letter is right for you. However, there are other ways to ignore the phone calls without needing to file a cease and desist letter.
- Transfer your power of attorney to someone else who may take the calls from your creditors. This way, you can avoid calls while you figure out your plan of attack for paying your debts. For example, when you sign up with National Debt Relief’s program, we start handling these calls for you.
- Simply let them go to your voicemail. If you still have an answering machine on your home phone, make sure that’s the number your creditors have.
Understand, however, that avoiding calls from your creditors doesn’t absolve you of your debt. In fact, it has the potential to make your situation worse. Whether you choose to ignore your creditors’ calls or not, you need to come up with a solution to your financial problems. If your debt is beyond your ability to pay, the best thing you can do for yourself is to figure out how to settle it.
Writing a Cease and Desist Letter
When you write a cease and desist letter, be professional and formal. Now isn’t the time for disputes or complaints. It’s the time to clearly state that you’re requesting that their calls stop, as is your right.
- Put the date at the top of the page
- State your name and address
- State the name of the collection agency and its address
- State your account number
- Open with “Dear [insert name of debt collector]:”
- For the body of the letter, state what you want them to do and that it is your right to ask.
“This letter is in response to phone calls I’ve been receiving from you. As is my right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), I am formally requesting that you immediately cease and desist all communication with me and my friends or members of my family immediately.
Any further contact by your company other than a letter stating that you received this letter or one stating what specific action you intend to take will be a violation of my rights according to the FDCPA, and I will file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.
Thank you for your prompt response to this request.”
- Close with “Sincerely, [insert your full name].
Be sure to keep a copy for your records. This letter should be addressed and directed at one creditor only. You’ll have to write one for each of the creditors that you want to stop calling you.
Sending a cease and desist letter isn’t a solution to your problem; it’s merely a solution to receiving annoying phone calls. Of course, with any legal action, it’s smart to consult with a legal professional. If you’re ready to tackle your debt problems beyond the annoying phone calls, contact us at 1-800-300-9550 to see how you can start on the path towards becoming debt free today.