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January 2021 - Consumers Beware: Debt Collection Rules are About to Change

Debt - Past DueAnyone who’s ever been contacted by a debt collector knows the stress those phone calls evoke. Imagine if the calls were followed by emails, text messages and even private posts via social media. That’s what consumers can expect as the result of a recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ruling.

About 70 million people, or one out of every four consumers, have a debt in collection at any given time, according to the National Consumer Law Center. The business shutdowns and work furloughs of 2020 can only increase that statistic.

Currently, the law allows debt collectors to contact consumers only by phone and regulates the number of calls and hours during which they can be made. The new ruling, effective October 31, also allows for unlimited emails, texts, and private social media messages. While consumers can opt out of receiving electronic messages, the details of how have yet to be announced.

Until then, the following can protect you from undue harassment.
  • Verify the debt – The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977 gives you the right to know who the original creditor is and how the debt total was calculated.
  • Beware of “zombie” debt – New Jersey’s statute of limitations for most debt is six years. By making a payment on expired debt, you revive the debt (a.k.a. ‘zombie’ debt) and your responsibility for it.
  • Protect sensitive information – Don’t reveal personal information (i.e., social security number, birth date, bank and/or credit card numbers) until you verify the debt and are setting up a repayment plan.
  • Check credit reports – Look for accidental errors (i.e., debts incurred by someone with the same name, or paid debts not properly recorded), and evidence of identity theft whereby someone opened accounts or took out loans in your name.
  • Negotiate – Explore the possibility of settling for a lower amount of debt that you can afford to repay.
  • Automate repayments – Automated payments can help you meet your obligations but be aware of any renewal terms that may apply.

Hiding from debt never works; but do ensure you’re only paying what you owe.

What Our Clients are Saying
★★★★★

The absolute BEST!!! I have a family of attorneys but needed someone local. Victor was recommended to me and words cannot describe how pleased I was with his firm. The outstanding service and attention each member of his staff gave to me surpassed any and all expectations. Victor surrounds himself with a hardworking team that he leads. I felt it was money spent wisely. I will continue to recommend Victor and his associates.

- Stephanie
★★★★★

Mr. Rotolo has helped me numerous times in legal matters and has continued to support and help me through countless hardships. He is dedicated to providing the best service and is a true professional. I will continue to consult with him regarding any legal issues in the future. He is a respectable, hardworking, kind hearted man and I would recommend his legal services to anyone.

- Matthew
★★★★★

I am an attorney and have practiced law for 26 years. I hired Vic to handle a very difficult family matter because I do not handle family law. Vic was extremely competent and obtained a result far beyond my expectations. Without his counsel my son's and family's life would have been changed forever. Thank you Vic for your good lawyering. I very much appreciate the personal attention and time dedicated to this matter. I highly recommend Vic.

- Anthony
★★★★★

We recently had a situation where we needed to hire an attorney. We selected Rotolo Law Firm and I can honestly say that we were above and beyond satisfied with Vic and his team. We would absolutely recommend this firm to anyone should the need arise. We blindly picked the firm out of the phone book because I liked his ad. Now I believe that God was pointing us in the right direction. Thank you Vic and the Rotolo Law Firm for being there for us in our time of need.

- Kim
★★★★★

Victor's expertise, due diligence, and empathy for his client made my first experience with the law (and last) a non-stressful one. Before the case, I did my research and looked over about 20 lawyers before choosing Victor. All my sources pointed to him as the best and they weren't off even a bit. Victor treated my case like it was his own and kept me up to date with all my appointments, breakthroughs in the case, and guided me step through step in a process that I never thought that I had to come to endure. If Victor's not available Susy will go out of her way to take care you. The productivity and efficiency in that office is second to none. Thank you Victor!

- Michael