How to write a cease and desist letter

A cease and desist letter is a document used to ask formally to someone or a business to stop unlawful and unwanted behavior.

It is a way of saying your infringing or harassing activities or you will be facing the consequences in court or legal actions will be taken.

Causes for making a cease and desist letter:

  • Stalking
  • Libel
  • Slander
  • Copyright infringement
  • Trademark infringement
  • Harassment from debt collectors
  • Defamation or character
  • Any action that negatively affects a person’s life, name or ability to do business

This document is a tool to warn a person to stop the activity that it’s affecting you or legal action will be taken into court.

This gives a certain amount of time to desist or otherwise face the official cost.

This is how you write a cease and desist letter:

Step1: Name the reasons for a cease and desist letter

Step1 Name the reasons for a cease and desist letter

The first things to have in the letter are the reasons for writing it in the first place, the identification of the motives have to be clear since the beginning.

The act itself that the individual it’s doing that it’s affecting you, the action that you want to stop.

Elements of the cease and desist letter

  1. Recipient: The individual or company that needs to stop the harassment, defamation, unreasonable debt collection, or copyright/trademark infringement
  2. Sender: The person or business asking the recipient to stop their unlawful behavior or infringement, the offended individual.
  3. Unlawful Behavior: The description of the violation made towards the sender.
  4.  Legal Action: The legal action that you are going to take if the behavior does not stop or continues.
  5. Date: Day, year and month when the letter was sent.

For samples and examples of a cease and desist letter click here

Step 2: Include details

The action that is affecting you have to be detailed, you must include dates and evidence of the harming behavior.

The objective is to support your claim the best way you can, including the relevant information and why it is a distress to your persona.

Step 3: Use the law

An important thing to put into writing it’s the legal standards that you are basing on your claim.

It must contain the legal basis of your rights and how they are being violated.

You have to be able to fully understand the law, for this, you can seek a lawyer’s assessment.

Step 4: Give guidelines to fix the situation

Step 4 Give guidelines to fix the situation

The cease and desist letter have to also contain the action to be taken in order to fix the situation and make it right again.

This should include a timeframe to do the “cease and desist”.

In addition, be specific on the legal action that will take place if the recipient does not follow the actions that you asked.

Step 5: Deliver the letter

Even though there is no formal method to deliver a cease and desist letter, there are ways to do it efficiently to make sure the message it’s indeed received.

Keep in mind that the method you use will depend on the situation that makes you write the letter.

But the most important thing is to keep a record, so there is clear evidence that the letter was sent and received.

Step 6: Choose a method

Step 6 Choose a method

An example situation it’s when a cease and desist letter is made to stop harassment from a debt collector.

In that case, the letter it’s addressed to the company where the collector is working and it should be sent by certified mail.

By using certified letter mail you are going to receive confirmation from the mail’s office, when the letter is delivered or when the delivery attempt is made.

Another case is when there is a copyright violation

For example, a company is using your logo or name, the best way to reach the company it’s through email.

It can be fast and by using software that lets you know when the email it’s been received and even when it’s was read. Most email services provide this feature.

When you make a cease and desist letter is with the objective of stopping a harassing behavior or use of your intellect without your permission.

The purpose of the letter is to inform the recipient that legal action will be taken is the violations of your rights do not end.

There is not a designated time frame to end the violation or correct the infringement.

The period should be reasonable, according to the method used to deliver the cease and desist letter; this will dictate the response method as well.

Take into account:

The method to send the letter

If you use certified mail it is more likely that the recipient uses the same method to respond, so the window of time it going to be longer.  If instead, you use an email, the answer should be received quicker because it is more direct.

The behavior or infringement

It is going to depend on the actions that you want to stop.

For example, there it’s a difference if you want to stop the calls or harassment from a debt collector in comparison if you want a company to stop using your logo

Because this it’s going to mean that they are going to have to call the advertisement company and remove the logo from the database and the direct relation with their business.

The method to receive the respond

You have to make sure the letter was received and to wait for a response if they use a certified mail the response is going to take longer. That will reflect on the “cease and desist” procedure.

Therefore you should wait for an answer before taking further legal action.