Here’s how to send a “drop dead” letter to a collection agency – KIRO 7 News Seattle


If you have problems with collection agencies, you have strong rights under federal law to prevent these agencies from harassing you.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are prohibited from threatening to harm you, your reputation, or your property, as well as using profanity or falsely claiming to be an attorney. or a government official.

The law also prohibits claims that collection agencies might try to threaten you with arrest or jail if you don’t pay, and it further prohibits late-night phone calls and/or repeated phone calls intended to harass you.

But how do you let collection agencies know that you mean business and want the harassment to stop? This is where a “drop dead” letter can help.

What is a “dead” letter?

A “dead” letter is a written notification from you to any collection agencies that are harassing you. It tells the agencies that you are aware of your rights under the FDCPA and that you are requesting that they stop contacting you about a particular debt – effective immediately!

You can prevent collection agencies from contacting you at home, at work, or at all by sending them this letter.

Here’s a tip: it’s a good idea to send it by certified mail so there’s no doubt they’ve received it. And don’t forget to keep a copy too!

A “dead” letter should be very simple and direct to show that you really want the harassment to end. Here is an example of a letter that will suffice in most cases:



I have been contacted by your company regarding a debt you claim to owe.

I ask you not to contact me again about this debt.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal law, you may no longer contact me once I notify you not to.



Account number: ___________

Once a collection agency receives your letter, the company is only allowed to contact you for two reasons.

The first would be to acknowledge receipt of your letter and say that they will not contact you again. And the second would be to inform you that they are filing a complaint against you. More on that in a moment.

The bottom line is this: If you’ve reached the point where you’re sending this letter to a collection agency, you want the harassment to stop and you want it to stop immediately. Fortunately, the law provides recourse if the collection agency chooses to ignore your request.

Under the law, if a company continues to harass you, you can sue for actual and punitive damages up to $1,000, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Wait…did you just say I can still be sued for my debt?

Yes you can.

A “dead” letter, while keeping collection agencies out of your face, does not erase your responsibility to pay a debt you rightfully owe.

The collection agency can always choose to sue you against this debt. Persistent misconceptions circulating on social media would have you believe otherwise. But that’s just not true.

However, there are three instances where a debt can actually be forgiven – with many caveats attached to this forgiveness. These circumstances include:

To learn more about when these three conditions apply, read our article “Do you still have to pay your debts if they are sold to a collection agency?”

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