The Proper Way to Serve a Cease & Desist Letter

By Elizabeth Stock
A process server should serve a cease and desist letter in person.

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A cease and desist letter tells an individual or company to stop doing something or legal action will be taken. For example, a cease and desist letter might be sent if an intellectual property infringement occurs, such as if an author’s work is used without the author’s permission. In addition, a cease and desist letter might be helpful to stop harassing phone calls from a credit card company. Because a cease and desist letter is not a court filing, the state’s service of process requirements applicable to legal filings, such as in-person service, do not apply.

Determine the individual or corporation’s address. You can locate the address online, through your secretary of state’s website, or through previous mail correspondences. If you are sending a cease and desist letter to a creditor to stop harassing phone calls, address the letter to the collection agency if the original creditor has sent your account to collection.

Address the letter to the party, and send the cease and desist letter through certified mail. Certified mail will ensure the party receives the cease and desist letter. You can pay extra to receive a return receipt, which will confirm the party received the letter at the address.

Contact the other party with a phone call or email to confirm the party received the letter. In addition, you might want to ask how the other party intends to respond to the cease and desist letter. Open communication will help the parties to reach a resolution of the issue.

Retain a copy of the cease and desist letter for future reference. For example, if the party fails to stop the requested action, you might need to file a lawsuit to stop the offending action. At that time, the court will want to see a copy of the cease and desist letter you sent.

About the Author

Elizabeth Stock began writing professionally in 2010. Before pursuing a career as a freelance writer, Stock was an editor and note writer for the "Thomas Jefferson Law Review" while attending Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Stock recently graduated magna cum laude from Thomas Jefferson earning a Juris Doctor.