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  1. I am interested to know if there are any laws (federal or state) protecting small businesses with respect to Commercial Debt Collection in NJ? My company has been contacted by an investigator with Kearns, Brinen & Monaghan regarding a breach of contract. As I understand it, we had a service contract with a communications service provider called Line Systems. We were also provided with phones from the company, which I am not sure if we rented or received free with service contract or what. In any case, when it was time to renew the contract we chose not to and went with a new service provider. For us, Line System's service was spotty, reception was crackly and cut in and out, and we were just unhappy with the overall product and the service provided. There was also downtime. Sometimes we were a few hours without phone service - it happened often enough that we decided to move on rather than continue to lose business. We have since discovered the contract had an automatic renewal clause. The person that negotiated the contract is no longer with our company and nobody else realized the clause existed. We did not notify Line Systems in time for whatever the cutoff date was and they rolled the contract and are coming to us for $17,000 for breach of contract. But we contend that the downtime and service problems resulted in loss of business for us and if anything they owe us money for lost business. I realize that commercial collectors are a lot less restricted than consumer collectors. They can act despicably without repercussion. The only real regulation I have found is collector bonding required by particular states. The collector is threatening a law suit, liens, etc. I have requested a copy of the contract from my team for more details. Can I request proof of debt from them or does that only apply in consumer collection? Not sure which steps to take --- Anyone familiar with this field?
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