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Cease & Desist Letter

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______________________, VA, __________

________________ ____, ________

______________________, VA, __________

Ref No: __________

Dear ______________________:

This will serve as your legal notice pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, to cease and desist all further communication with me in regard to the above referenced debt or debts.

I have decided that I do not want to work with your collection agency or any other collection agency under any circumstances. I will contact the original creditor directly in order to resolve this matter. By sending this letter it is my intention to stop all your calls and collection activity from this day forth.

I also reserve the right to file suit against you for any future violations of this law.

Please give this very important matter the utmost attention.



Last updated November 15, 2023

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What is a Cease and Desist Letter?

A Cease and Desist Letter is used to resolve a dispute between yourself and other parties. A request to cease and desist means you’re asking another party to stop a behavior (cease) and never do it again (desist). The letter requests that an individual or business immediately stop a behavior that you believe infringes on your rights.

Some actions that can lead to a Cease and Desist Letter include:

  • Cyberbullying and defamation
  • Duplicating or reproducing copyrighted material
  • Threatening behavior (e.g., stalking)
  • Identity theft or online impersonation
  • Aggressive or excessive communication
  • Property disputes
  • Fraud

A Cease and Desist Letter has no legal power, and you don't file it with the courts. However, the letter is a formal step towards a resolution. It typically comes with the threat of future legal action if the recipient doesn't comply with the request to cease and desist.

Is a Cease and Desist Letter enforceable?

A Cease and Desist Letter isn't enforceable or legally binding because it only reflects your opinion on alleged illegal behavior. The letter's recipient hasn't been found guilty of the conduct in court, and therefore they aren't forced to comply with your request.

However, even though the letter doesn't guarantee results on its own, it still has value. You do have the option of taking the matter to court if the recipient doesn't comply with your request, and the letter can act as proof that you made a good faith effort to resolve the problem. If your lawsuit is successful, courts may issue a legally binding cease and desist order. In this case, the recipient (defendant) must comply with the order or face legal repercussions.

When should I use a Cease and Desist Letter?

You can use LawDepot’s Cease and Desist Letter template to create a customized letter for situations such as:

  • Debt collection: Request that a collection agency ceases communications with you because you plan to resolve the debt with the original creditor.
  • Copyright or trademark infringement: Demand that an infringing party ceases the use and distribution of your work by asserting your rights to copyrighted or trademarked material.
  • General harassment: Demand that inappropriate behaviors or actions outside of debt collection or intellectual property issues stop.

How do I deliver a Cease and Desist Letter?

There are a few ways to deliver a Cease and Desist Letter. If you're doing it yourself, the best way is to send a certified letter through U.S. mail. Doing so means the recipient needs to sign for it, which is evidence that they received the letter. This method is valuable because recipients will sometimes plead ignorance of the dispute and claim they didn't receive the letter.

Other ways of delivering a Cease and Desist Letter include:

  • Delivering the letter in person and obtain an Affidavit of Service
  • Hiring a process server to deliver the letter on your behalf (they will provide an Affidavit of Service or its equivalent upon delivery)
  • Sending a copy of the letter to your attorney, if you have one
  • Sending the letter through email

Once you’ve sent your Cease and Desist Letter, it’s always a good idea to keep a copy for yourself and record the time, date, and place of delivery.

How do I write a Cease and Desist Letter?

Write your Cease and Desist Letter in a concise and professional manner. Describe your grievances and explain what the other party can do to correct the action. Stick to the relevant details only. Leave out any information that is not absolutely necessary, such as foul language, bias, or petty commentary, and simply present the facts.

You can easily create a Cease and Desist Letter by filling out LawDepot's questionnaire. Using our template will ensure you complete the necessary steps:

1. Select the letter type

Our Cease and Desist Letter template lets you create four types of letters.

General letter

General letter can be used to demand that an individual or organization stop an action or behavior, such as:

  • Defamation
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Property, boundary, and neighborhood disputes

Defamation is an untrue statement of fact that hurts a person or company's character or reputation.

LawDepot’s Cease and Desist Letter template lets you notify the recipient of your intention to record telephone conversations and keep a log of any contact with them after they receive the letter. You can also inform the recipient that you intend to file a lawsuit if they don’t meet your demands.

According to federal law, it’s legal to record a telephone conversation in the U.S. as long as one of the conversation’s participants knows the call is being recorded. However, the following states require all parties in a telephone conversation to consent to a recording:

Debt collection letter

Debt collectors will sometimes use aggressive practices, such as threatening language or constant calls at odd hours, with debtors. You can use a debt collection letter to stop debt collectors from inappropriately harassing you.

In a Cease and Desist Letter, you can request that debt collectors only contact you through your legal advisor or in writing, if you believe they’re harassing you. You can also specify that you don’t want them to contact you at your place of employment and you plan to file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, if they don’t comply with your demands.

Copyright infringement letter

Copyright infringement is when someone reproduces, plagiarizes, performs, or publicly displays your copyrighted work without your authorization. You can use a copyright infringement letter to demand that an individual or organization stop infringing on your intellectual rights.

Your Cease and Desist Letter should include the name of your original work, when and where you published it, and the infringing work's title. It also helps to provide examples of when your work was directly copied or unfairly used.

A copyright holder has exclusive rights to:

  • Produce and sell copies of the original work
  • Create derivative works (works based on the original)
  • Display or perform the work publicly
  • Sell or assign the above rights to others

Copyrights in the United States generally last the creator's lifetime plus 70 years.

Trademark infringement letter

A trademark is an intellectual property like a logo, phrase, symbol, or word that you register and own the exclusive rights to use. Trademark infringement is when a person or company uses your trademarked work without authorization.

Your Cease and Desist letter should state your trademark’s name and where the infringement occurred. Include the trademark registration number if the work is registered. Otherwise, give the year you first used the trademark.

Providing as many examples of trademark infringement in your letter as you can help the recipient understand their error and quickly correct the issue.

2. Provide both parties’ information

Provide the personal information for both you and the recipient, including:

  • Name
  • The type of party (an individual or company)
  • The city, state, and address
  • ZIP Code

3. Date your letter

Dating your Cease and Desist Letter reduces the chance of confusion regarding the dispute's timeline of events. Select the “unsure” option in the questionnaire if you don’t currently know when you’ll date the letter.

What happens if a cease and desist letter is ignored?

If the recipient ignores your letter, you have the option to commence legal proceedings. However, you should give the recipient a reasonable amount of time to comply with your request.

What constitutes a reasonable timeframe depends on:

  • Delivery method: Email or a process server can deliver a letter immediately, but a standard postal service will take longer. In this case, three to five business days to respond is reasonable.
  • The behavior or activity you want to be stopped: It might take time for the recipient to remedy the situation depending on the activity or behavior that needs to stop. For example, if they're running an ad online that illegally contains your company logo, they may need time to contact the advertising company and remove the ad.
  • Response method: If you mailed your Cease and Desist Letter to a collection agency, they would most likely respond by sending you a letter in return. Since it took time for them to receive your letter, it's only fair to give them the same amount of time to send their response before you proceed further.

Can a cease and desist letter be considered harassment?

Sending a single Cease and Desist Letter to a recipient isn't harassment. However, sending an unnecessary amount of letters to the same recipient could be harassment, especially if the letter contains threatening language. In that case, you might be guilty of the same behavior you're using the Cease and Desist Letter to stop. It’s also never a good idea to send a Cease and Desist Letter that contains false information or misrepresentations.

Related Documents:

  • Affidavit: Make a notarized written statement of facts under oath.
  • Confidentiality Agreement: Protect sensitive information that's exchanged between parties by prohibiting its disclosure to others.
  • Demand Letter: Request payment or action from a recipient to resolve an issue.
  • Letter of Intent: Outline a mutual understanding of a future agreement.
  • Release/Waiver Agreement: Make a written promise to another party to not pursue a legal claim in exchange for money or other compensation.
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