The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, came out with a decision in the case

of  Avila v. RIEXINGER & ASSOCIATES, LLC, 817 F. 3d 72 – Court of

Appeals, 2nd Circuit 2016.



The Court held the following:

a collector sending a letter needs to disclose that the consumer’s balance

may increase due to interest and fees if the collection notice either

accurately informs the consumer that the amount of the debt stated in the

letter will increase over time, or clearly states that the holder of the debt

will accept payment of the amount set forth in full satisfaction of the debt

if payment is made by a specified date.


In simple terms, if there is going to be interest and late fees added to a

balance due on an alleged debt, the collector letter must state this fact.


A collection letter should use the following safe harbor information:

“As of today, [date], you owe $____ This amount consists of a principal of $____, accrued interest of $____, and fees of $____. This balance will continue to accrue interest after [date] at a rate of $____ per [day/week/month/year].”


In Connecticut, failure to properly disclose any fees and interest, which

continue to grow after the date of the letter will likely result in a Fair Debt

Collection Practices Act violation.

Attorney Robert M. Singer

Law Offices of Robert M. Singer, LLC

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT  06518





The State of Connecticut deregulated the electricity market.   What this means is that Connecticut residents can use third party electricity generation suppliers.

I remember when I was at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, and the electric company representative assured everyone that deregulation would lower rates.

It didn’t work out that way.  Connecticut has some of the highest rates for electric power in the country.

I had  switched to a third party supplier, several years ago.  As is common, the supplier offered a low rate for several months.  The low rate is a teaser rate.   Watch out after the teaser rate end.  You may be surprised to find that your rate goes way up, higher than you have ever seen.

After reviewing my bill, I switched back to United Illuminating.

Attorney Robert M. Singer

Law Offices of Robert M. Singer, LLC

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT  06518




The Federal Trade Commission has information on dealing with debt on

its Website at



As an attorney, I have seen too many clients pay too much money to

companies which claim to be “credit counselors.”   There are things you

can do to ensure that you get good counseling at a reasonable price.


First of all, make sure that any credit counseling agency is a “non profit

corporation,” recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.  You can contact

the IRS, to determine if the service is recognized.


Second, use a credit counseling service with a local office.  In many

instances, people send money to an agency which is out of state, and

getting very little, if any help in return.  This reminds me of the Nigerian

scam, where you are promised millions, if you only send a small

processing fee of a few hundred dollars.


Third, the credit counseling service should be paid as you are paying off

the debt.  I will now describe what I call ripoff scene #1.

  1. A debt management company tells you that you should stop paying all of your unsecured debt
  2. The company tells you that you need to save money to pay off the debt.
  3. The company claims that they can get the creditor to take 10% to 25% of the amount owed.
  4. The company indicates that you need to save money to pay off the debt, at the reduced amount
  5. The company claims that you can put the money into a trust account which they will establish for you.


  1. The company makes most of its money up front, from the fees you are paying.  Often you will first pay the company $2,000 to $3,000, before any money goes into the trust account
  2. There is no guarantee that any creditor will accept 10% to 25% of the principal and interest due.
  3. The interest charges continue to grow, while you are not paying the creditor.
  4. If you have many creditors, some of the creditors are likely to sue you, before you have enough money in the escrow account, to cut a deal

With a reputable credit counseling agency, such as Money Management

International, you pay no up-front charges. The agency works out a

payment plan to pay off of the creditors.  Many of the creditors accept a

reduced interest rate, in exchange for regular payments.


A honest credit counseling agency will tell you that you need to file

bankruptcy, because you cannot afford to pay off your creditors.

Attorney Robert M. Singer

Law Offices of Robert M. Singer, LLC

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT  06518






I have been told, many times, by clients that they have “full coverage” for their automobile.  What I have learned is that “full coverage” is not often the same as good coverage.  There are different types of coverage.  I am going to review some of the different types of coverage.

  1. Collision Coverage – Collision covers damage to your own vehicle, such as hitting another vehicle, a parked car, or an object (such as an item in the road), by collision or upset. When getting collision coverage  you need to first consider the deductible amount; raise the deductible and you lower the premium costs.  Also, for very old cars, with little value (under $1,000), collision is a waste of money.

However, I had a car with approximately 110,000 miles and a value of under $3,000.  I decided to drop the collision coverage, just before a hit and run driver totaled my car.  Fortunately, the hit and run driver was arrested by the police, and he had insurance.  I was lucky to get the $2,400 insurance reimbursement.

  1. Comprehensive Coverage –  covers damage to your vehicle from anything besides collision or upset.  Some common comprehensive situations include water damage, hail damage, theft, or fire damage.  You will have a deductible for comprehensive coverage.  Consider raising the amount of deductible, or eliminating comprehensive coverage for an old vehicle.
  1. MedPay (Or PIP in some states) is auto insurance coverage which pays for medical bills incurred as a result of an accident.  MedPay covers for people in the insured car, regardless of who causes the accident.

For people without insurance, this can be especially important, to get the necessary medical care after an accident.

In general, I have seen insurance with MedPay amounts of $5,000 to $10,000 per person.  In most situations, this is sufficient.

  1. Property Damage – This covers damage to personal or real property.   The most common situation is damage to another person’s vehicle.

Generally, in auto accidents cases, the damage is below $20,000; however it is wise to have at least $50,000 in coverage.  I have seen a property damage bill is excess of $100,000 where the damage was to a prototype vehicle, and custom made parts needed to be replaced.

  1. Bodily Injury – covers other peoples bodily injuries as a result of a driver’s fault (negligence).  If you are at fault, the bodily injury coverage does not cover your injuries; rather you can get medical care under your MedPay.

Many people have the state minimum amount of bodily injury coverage.  In Connecticut, the state minimum coverage is only $20,000 per injured person, and $40,000 per incident (to cover all person’s injured in an accident.  (“20/40” coverage)

Unless you have no assets to protect, you need to get more coverage.  “Full coverage” is not 20/40.   In my opinion, the minimum amount of protection a driver needs to $100,000 per person, and $300,000 per incident (often it is wiser to have even more coverage).

  1. Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM).  For your financial health – you must understand UIM coverage. The situation where you need this coverage can be described as follows

Mr. John T. Klutz is driving his 1998 Chevy Impala, with 258,000 miles on it.  John drives through a red light and slams into your car, a 2016 Buick, which just came off the dealer’s lot.  You are rushed to the hospital for car.  After treatment, your medical bills are $28,000.  You have a 14% permanent disability to your back, due to a problem in your back (disc), which was evaluated by a neurosurgeon.  In your state, you are entitled to recover your medical bills and money for pain and suffering.  Your attorney tells you that he thinks the total value of your case is $85,000.

If John has no insurance , and no assets, you will need to look to your own uninsured motorist coverage for recovery of your personal injury claim.

If John has insurance – a policy with a limit of $20,00 per person, his insurance company will likely pay you the $20,000, and you need to look to your own underinsured motorist coverage for further recovery.

The UIM coverage protects you, if you are in an auto accident, in which someone else is at fault.  Get UIM coverage of at least $100,000 per person, and $300,000 per accident, to protect yourself from other peoples negligence.  (To fully understand the terms of your policy, you need to talk to a property/casualty agent, preferably one who is not captive, works for only one insurance company).

  1. RENTAL COVERAGE – covers rental vehicles. This vehicle comes in handy when you are renting a car.  Don’t double pay for rental coverage, to a rental agency.

Attorney Robert M. Singer

Law Offices of Robert M. Singer, LLC

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT  06518




Unfortunately, too many former students are unable to pay back their loans, under the regular terms of the loan.

Anyone with too much student loan debt should consider a income based repayment plan.

For general information about the plans, see the webstie below


What the plans provide is that someone who owes money on a federal student loan may be able to get into a payment plan to pay back the loan based on income.

These plans can be very helpful in a situation in which a debtor has a large debt load with not enough income to make the regular loan payments.

What is important to understand is that the payment plan is based on income, not the amount of the debt.    Therefore, the plan can drastically reduce the amount of the payment.

Attorney Robert M. Singer

Law Offices of Robert M. Singer, LLC

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT  06518