Cease and Desist Letters
Having a debt can be quite a burden on the mind. For one, you have to start making plans on how to reduce it if you hope to qualify for a loan in future. However, the situation is further confounded by annoying calls from debt collectors. If you owe a debt, it is the right of debt collectors to call you demanding their money back.
Although that is what they are supposed to do, they can be quite ruthless. If you do not know your rights, debt collectors are very good at taking advantage of the situation. They will take unimaginable lengths to make sure they get every penny back. However, you are not powerless against debt collects. There are many options that you can turn to, to ensure that you are treated fairly.
Where You Stand Legally
Debt collection agencies operate under the fdcpa. The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act stipulates the rules of fair play under which such agencies should operate. However, they rarely adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act fdcpa voluntarily. The only instance they back off is if you demonstrate some awareness of this law.
The act is strongly opposed to harassment. It limits the period an agency can call you from 8 in the morning to 9 p.m. The only reason they can call you beyond that is if you permit them. In addition, the debt collection agency is barred from calling you while you are at your place of work. You have a right to write a letter to them informing them that this is the case.
Another point to note is that the debt collection company is barred from garnishing your wages. It is a common claim they make, which happens to be false. The only instances they can do this is if it is a student loan, delinquent IRS or via a long court process. In addition, you should know that debt collectors are not allowed to contact your family or friends more than once. It is illegal but is one of their common collection behaviors. If you want to find out more about the rights you own, you should google the Federal Trade Commission and get more information from their website.
About Cease and Desist Letters
A cease and desist letter can come in handy in some instances. This letter is sent if you feel extremely harassed. However, it also has some downsides to it. These letters could end up making things more horrible for you if sent under the wrong conditions. One instance you should send this letter is if you feel the debt collector is violating your privacy excessively.
When It Will A Good Idea to Send the Letter
In order to get further clarification on this issue, you should do a lot of research online. In some cases, it is wise to get in touch with an attorney, to ensure you are safe. The most common reason for sending a cease and desist letter is on the grounds of harassment. The fdcpa makes it unlawful for creditors to harass you due to unpaid debt.
Another reason is if the Statute of Limitations has expired. After you have defaulted, the debt collector has only a short period to file a lawsuit in court. Each state has specific terms for when and how it applies. If they decided not to do that, they have no right to contact you in future. However, some debt collection agencies will be quite persistent. They will often send you letters and phone calls, which have no legal standing. A cease and desist letter works effectively in such an instance. However, this does not mean that the debt ceases to exist. Another debt collection agency can still take up the debt.
How a Cease and Desist Letter Could Hurt You
For one, if you send that letter, all other options are placed on the table. It can be especially an issue if the debt is huge. At such a point, you will need to talk to your attorneys. It is especially so if the collector decides to take the issue before the courts. If the agency wins, your property could be sold to recover the debt. They could also sell the debt to another agency, which is even more aggressive.
A cease and desist letter cuts off all correspondence between you and the agency. These companies will go to extreme lengths to collect their debt. At times, you may find that your credit rating is ruined. Thus, accruing more debt on your credit cards becomes quite expensive. Due to the bad ratings, some of your credit cards may not work. Sometimes, it is wise just to accept their calls.
At times, a debt collection agency may claim a debt from you that you are sure is not yours. Credit card debt is commonly wrongly assigned. While you should pay your debts on time, you should seek legal advice in such a case. However, if you feel confident it is not yours, go ahead and email them the letter. Ensure that you use the correct email address for the letters and calls to stop. In such a case, you should first seek to sort out the dispute amicably. It is your right to demand information on any debt claims a collection agency makes. It will allow you to have a firm standing when resolving the dispute.
A debt collection agency should give you some proof within 30 days after they send you the first notice. Until they do this, you should not pay any debt. However, wait for the proof to arrive before you send them the letter to keep things simple.
An Example of a Cease and Desist Letter
A cease and desist letter can help you to avoid harassment. If the debt collect continues to contact you, you can sue them for a lot of money. Do not count the first letter they send you after you send the letter. They will claim their letter was already in the mail.
Here is a Simplified Sample[Your name] [Your address] [Creditor’s name] [Creditor’s address] [Date] RE: account (The account number they have given to you)
Dear [Collection agency]:
I am writing this letter regarding a letter you sent me on [date you received their letter]. I am disputing the existence of such a debt. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, I request you to provide me with the following information:
i) Have you made efforts to verify if I owe the debt?
ii) Is there a copy of a settlement deal saying I owe you?
iii) Is there a copy of a judgment that says I owe you money?
iv) Is there a written agreement from me saying that I will pay you any money?
v) What law do you follow that allows you to keep calling my place of employment?
vi) Who is the name of the person that I owe the debt?
vii) Do you have a right to operate here in this state?
I would also like you to inform the original creditor of my position on this matter. I will also require that none of your representative try calling me at any time. Do not attempt to contact me on my social media accounts such as linkedin or Facebook. I will consider this to harassment.
Unless it is on a matter of a new date, I don’t expect to hear from you again. I will actually take personal measures to ensure that you cease and desist immediately from any form of contact with me again. I will not hesitate using all resources at my disposal to ensure that I get justice. Thank you in advance.
When you send the letter, ensure to get as many answers to your questions as possible. You may find that some are loans you took ages ago and repaid. At times, debt can course your house to be up for foreclosure. The banks may determine you are no longer credit worthy.
You can find more information about sample letters by following the above links:
Useful Tips for You
If the debt collector violates any regulations, you have a firm standing to defend yourself. For one, you must strive to use that as leverage. Do not immediately report them to the authorities. However, ensure that your lawyers know everything they have been doing to you. During negotiations, they will be more willing to go soft on you. For one, you may save you credit rating from being lowered to junk status. Secondly, they could increase you debt payment period by years.
If negotiations do not work out, and you cannot work out how to finance the debt, sue the debt collector in a state court. In most cases, a law firm will represent you. This type of lawsuit can drag on in the courts for years. However, the important point is that the debt collection agencies are tied. It is especially important for people who feel the debt collection agency ruined their careers for instance. However, remember you must pay the original creditor. You have to be prepared for a tough fight if you take legal action. They will use every avenue to try to discredit you.
Instead of sending the cease and desist mail, you can try a different approach; apply for chapter 13 bankruptcy. It is one of the best rules available to debtors. Under this option, there is a section where you will work out a repayment plan where you pay in installments over five years. However, you should go into such negotiations with as much leverage as possible. You can learn more about Chapter 13 bankruptcy from this site.
The debt collector may challenge it. That is why it is important to force them to settle with leverage. Any violation you can find will prove quite beneficial. Chapter 13 gives you the protection you need to sort out your debts without being left destitute.
Utilize the small claims court to your advantage. At times, you may want an issue resolved fast without involving a lawyer. A lawyer may cost your business in terms of wasted time and money. The court will award the consumer a single hearing to argue out their claims. It is the best option when the collection agency has brazenly violated the law. However, in a small claims court, there is a limitation on how much you will get.
You can also report the issue to the state attorney general. If he or she feels that the debt collection agency is out of line, the attorney general’s office will take legal action. You have a high chance of being awarded handsomely if the prosecution is successful.
The Federal Trade Commission is another good place to seek help. They will receive your complaints and review it. There is a higher chance of the collector being found guilty. The reason is that this is the FTC’s area of specialization.
What Happens if they Do Not Stop
Firstly, ensure that you make a copy of any communication between you and the collection agency. Please ensure that everything is properly documented. The FTC has a strict policy of going after debt collectors that violate the law. However, the collection agency is allowed to contact you one more time after you tell them to stop.
If you do not wish to hire a lawyer, look for an article that gives a sample of such a letter. Debt collection agencies are quite crafty. They will shift your debt around without informing you. As a result, if the letters and calls appear to continue, inquire if this is a new agency. If so, write a cease and desist letter to them as well. It will usually go one until someone slips up and the debt is canceled.
At times, they may feign having not received your letter. In such a case, send mail with a return receipt. The person who delivers the mail is obliged to give you a return receipt indicating that the other party put their signature on the letter. You may also use certified mail. The person who receives the mail will have to sign for it. It will be kept in the permanent records of the post office. However, a simple call asking them if they received your mail will usually suffice.
How to Avoid Debt Collectors
The only way to ensure debt collection agencies leave you alone is to avoid debt. Although you may successfully keep them at bay, you need to plan your finances better. Simply put, you need to avoid spending more money than you earn. Most people go about their adult life without a tangible financial plan. It is why you may find that someone who earns less than you do seems to have a better lifestyle. There are many tools available today. You can either download an application or buy a book on financial planning. Plan for every penny you spend to ensure you live within your means.
Building an excellent credit rating can take years. You never know when having a very good credit score could be useful to you. For instance, you may need to undergo emergency treatment, which is not covered by the insurer. Without a good rating, you may have a very hard time getting the right funding.
If you find yourself deep in debt, you have many options. For one, there are organizations dedicated to helping people manage their debt. Read as many articles as you can find about debt management. If you are deep in debt, there is a good chance you cannot afford the fees of a good lawyer. Thus, reach out to family members and coworkers. At times, you may find that talking about the problem is all you needed. They may have faced similar situations in the past, and they have the right solutions to help you change. In general, the only way to have a stress-free life is to manage how much you spend and look for ways to earn more than you do now