Should a cease and desist be used with debt collectors

woman_on_phone_debt_collectorQuestion: I have an old apartment lease that is with a collection agency. Before I paid or settled this I sent a DV letter and they sent me back a copy of the signed lease agreement and charges. In the DV letter was included a cease and desist statement.

After I received the validation I mailed an agreement to comprise letter certified mail which was received, but with no response.

I called because I need to take care of this debt ASAP and was told they couldn’t discuss the account because they follow the law and I had to send a retraction for my cease and desist letter. Is this true and how would I word this to still protect me if so?

Answer: Pursuant to your rights under federal debt collection laws you can request a cease and desist communication which includes the right to stop telephone contact. In fact there is no law that requires you to cooperate with a debt collector at all. Sending a cease and desist letter essentially says you no longer want to be contacted about the debt. It does not mean the debt will go away.

However, by sending a cease and desist letter, you run the risk of the debt collector not contacting you through written or telephone communication. If the debt is still within the statute of limitations this can be a mistake. You want to at least know the status of the debt if there is a possibility of you being sued in court.

A partial cease and desist, where you request communication in writing only, is best if you are in negotiations about the debt or if the debt is still under statute of limitations.

You may be experiencing the effects of sending a full cease and desist request. By sending a full cease and desist, you bind their hands. You always want to give them a way of contacting you so you will at least know the status of the debt.

Send a letter to “rescind” the full cease and desist. I take it you only want written communication, no telephone calls which is considered a partial cease and desist.

Send a letter to rescind the cease and desist by stating something like this:

I hereby rescind the full cease and desist mailed to you on (date) and request all future communication be conducted via U.S. Mail only, directed to the address noted on my letterhead as telephone calls to my home, cell and workplace are inconvenient.

If you have future dealings with other collection agencies, do not use the words “cease and desist” at all, unless your desire is truly no form of contact. If you desire only written communication say something like this instead:

“Telephone calls to my home and cell phones are inconvenient and calls to my employment are prohibited. All future communication must be through U.S. MAIL ONLY directed to the address noted.” The best of luck to you in settling the matter.

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