Will A Cease And Desist Letter Stop Abusive Collectors?

Will A Cease And Desist Letter Stop Abusive Collectors?

abusive collectorsDebt collectors.

Cease and desist letters.

These two things go together quite well if you believe a lot of the self-proclaimed experts on the internet.

Or if you listen to defense lawyers who defend abusive debt collectors.

An odd combination of people who love cease and desist letters, eh?

Let’s talk about this.

The Internet Tells You A Cease And Desist Letter Stops Abusive Debt Collection

There are many websites and discussion forums where the solution to any abusive debt collection is to send a cease and desist — also called a “cease communications” — letter to the collector.

Here’s the thinking.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), if a consumer sends a letter that tells the debt collector to cease communications, the collector is required to do so.

Sounds like it is right, doesn’t it?  Send a cease communications letter and the collector has to stop abusing you.

Defense Lawyers Who Represent Abusive Collectors Argue To Juries You Should Have Sent A Cease Communications Letter And Since You Didn’t, You Should Lose Your Case

Here’s the argument.

“My client abused the plaintiff.  BUT, if the plaintiff had only sent a cease communications letter, then all of the abuse would have stopped.”

“Since the abuse only happened because the plaintiff refused to send a cease communications letter, then it is not the fault of my client that we abused the plaintiff.”

“And when you think about it, since it is not my client’s fault, it really is the fault of the plaintiff.  All of this could have been avoided if the plaintiff had simply made us stop violating the law with a simple letter rather than suing us.”

I guess that’s true, eh?

Or maybe not….

Let’s look at what both of these arguments rest upon — it is the presumption that supports both arguments.  Well, the supposed support — we’ll see these arguments collapse when examined.

These Arguments Presume Abusive Collectors Will Suddenly, And Without Warning, Obey The Law For Fear Of Violating The Law By Continuing To Abuse You….

Understand the flaw in the arguments.  It is the same flaw we pointed out to a jury in a FDCPA trial.

Sure, the FDCPA requires a collector to stop contacting a consumer who sends a cease communications letter.

If it doesn’t stop communicating, it violates the law.

But wait. . . . we are talking about abusive debt collectors.

Debt collectors that lie.

Debt collectors that contact your neighbors.  Your co-workers.  Your family.

Debt collectors that threaten you illegally.

These guys — these abusive debt collectors — are going to stop violating the law because they get a letter from you?


I doubt it.  They will only stop if they sense they might get sued.

You see they want to be able to violate the law and then when you realize they are violating the law they want a free pass — “But judge, if only the plaintiff had made us stop violating the law.”

Yes it sounds as whiny in person as in writing.

It’s like blaming the bank for not making the robbers stop robbing the bank.


The truth of the matter is an abusive debt collector who breaks the law . . . will break the law.

Either let them get away with it.

Or stand up and fight to protect yourself and others.

While a cease communications letter can occasionally be effective — we have sued the big collectors who routinely ignore them but I suppose they might work sometimes — ask yourself if it is better to be sure and stop the abuse by suing the abusive collectors.

Share your thoughts with us below…

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You can also fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

I look forward to chatting with you!

Have a great day.

-John G. Watts

PS — if you are dealing with an honest debt collector (yes they exist) then you may want to use a cease and desist letter simply to stop the calls.  Especially if the debt is too old to be sued on and too old to be credit reported on.

Point of this article is to say, “Think carefully before you use a cease and desist letter and make sure it will accomplish what you want accomplished.”

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