How to Write a Back-Off Letter

by Natalie Smith; Updated September 26, 2017
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In some instances, a businessperson must be firm and request that a customer or another business cease and desist its actions. For example, if a neighboring business is actively attempting to take business away from you by targeting your existing customers with its sales pitch as they leave your establishment, you might write a letter requesting that the business ceases its activities or you will take legal action against it. A back-off, or cease and desist, letter must be firm and clear to be effective.

Step 1

Type the date, and skip a line space. Type the manager's name, the business's name and the business address on separate lines. Skip another line space.

Step 2

Create the salutation by typing the person's name, followed by a colon. Do not type "Dear" before the name because that will soften the firm tone your letter needs.

Step 3

Tell the recipient to immediately cease the harmful actions. List the actions, with the relevant dates and times, and be specific about what you would like the recipient to stop. The specific details are important in case you need to take the recipient to court later; you will have evidence that you told the recipient to stop its activities. Use clear, matter-of-fact language, and avoid attacking the recipient personally.

Step 4

Explain what you will do if the recipient does not stop its actions. Do not make any threats that you are not willing to follow up on. For example, if you state that you will take the recipient to court, be prepared to do so.

Step 5

Provide your contact information, such as your telephone number or email address. If the recipient contacts you, save the email or write down the details of the call. Keep these communications as evidence in case the matter goes to court.

Step 6

Type "Sincerely" and skip three lines. Print the letter on your company letterhead, and sign your name above your typed name.

Step 7

Mail the letter with signature confirmation so you have evidence that the recipient received your letter.

About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

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