What is a “Drop Dead Letter” and When Should I Use It?

Consumer Rights Under the FDCPA, FDCPA Claims, Illegal Debt Collection Practices, Stopping Harassment

One of the tools available to consumers under the FDCPA is the right to demand that bill collectors stop contacting you.  Under Section 1692c(c) of  the law, if you notify a collector to stop contacting you, he must discontinue contact or be subject to statutory damages and reasonable attorney’s fees under the law.

Note that this provision in the law only applies to third party bill collectors.  It does not apply to the original creditor.

A good way to assert your rights under this provision is to send the bill collector a “drop dead letter.”  My Bankruptcy Law Network colleague Carmen Dellutri has posted a sample drop dead letter on his blog that meets the requirements of the statute.  I use a different version of the “drop dead” letter that asserts additional rights – you are free to use it.

You should send this letter using return receipt.  Keep the proof of receipt and if the bill collector calls you again, you have a claim for money damages.  Note that under the law, the bill collector can call you to acknowledge receipt of the drop dead letter but cannot use that call to collect on the account.

In states where telephone recording is permitted, an FDCPA lawsuit supported by a drop dead letter, a return receipt and proof of a collection call after receipt leaves little room for argument that your rights have been violated.


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Jonathan Ginsberg

For over 25 years, Jonathan Ginsberg has represented honest, hardworking men and women facing financial troubles.

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