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6 Most Common Ways to Use a Cease and Desist Letter

CEASE AND DESIST LETTER - 04/24/15

There is a reason why cease and desist letters are so popular. It is due to the great variety of circumstances in which they can be used and the weight they carry with those who receive them. These letters are the best way to make a formal request for someone to stop an activity you believe is in violation of your legal rights. The threat is clear: “Stop what you are doing or face the consequences in court.” Here are six of the most common reasons for using a cease and desist letter.

1. Stop Debt Collectors

Dealing with debt collectors can be tough. A cease and desist letter is often the most effective way to force debt collectors to stop their harassing phone calls and surprise visits to your home. Once you send a cease and desist letter, debt collectors may only contact you one more time in order to tell you that they are in fact ceasing communications with you.

2. Stop Trademark and Copyright Infringement

If someone is infringing your trademark or copyright, use a cease and desist letter to make a formal request for them to cease the infringing activities. This shows that you mean business and are prepared to pursue legal action if necessary. Importantly, you are not waiving any present or future rights to pursue legal action based on the infringement. This means that you may still choose to sue for damages you have already sustained even if the recipient immediately complies with the letter.

3. Stop Harassment, Stalking, and Invasions of Privacy

Stalking and other forms of harassment are often tricky to deal with. If the person harassing you is attention seeking or quick to anger, sending a cease and desist letter may only provoke that person more. However, people can be quite dense sometimes, and a cease and desist letter will be a good way to show them that you are serious about being left alone. Most people will decide that harassing you is not worth suffering costly legal fees over, and, if they still are not getting the hint, sending the letter can be used as evidence against them in court.

Sending the Letter


Note that it is best to send the letter via US Postal Service Priority Mail or FedEx with delivery confirmation, or certified mail, return receipt requested so that you have evidence that you did, in fact, send the letter.

4. Stop Breach of Contract

Oftentimes cease and desist letters are necessary to prevent someone from interfering with your contractual rights. For instance, say you have an employment agreement with Jessica. You would likely to be justified in sending the letter if a competitor hires Jessica, knowing full well that you have a contract with her, simply in order to hurt your business. In the legal world this is referred to as “tortious interference of contract” and can bring you hefty awards in court.

5. Stop Libel or Slander

You can also use a cease and desist letter to demand that someone stop making false and damaging written or oral statements about you. It is useful to explain in the letter why the statements are false and how they caused you damage. Damage may include:

  • monetary losses;
  • reputational humiliation; and
  • emotional distress.

6. Stop Property Boundary Encroachment

If an adjacent property owner is encroaching across your property line, a cease and desist letter probably should not be your first response. Because of your close proximity, it is probably in your interest to maintain good relations by first trying to resolve the issue through talking informally. However, if your neighbor is stubbornly refusing to comply, then sending the letter is a good way to help them put their actions in perspective. He or she can either remove the encroachment or face costly legal fees defending their actions in court.

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