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MWM
04-29-2010, 10:41 PM
A little background: about a year and a half ago I began sessions with a husband and wife personal trainer. These went on for several months and I prepaid 20 sessions at a time. One year ago when I still had 8 sessions remaining, for various reasons these trainers were no longer able to continue training me. They owed me $560 and committed to paying within a few months due to financial difficulties they were having trying to open a new gym.

Not wanting to be a jerk, I told them this was OK. The new place was supposed to open in July and they said they'd pay in August.

At the end of August I emailed them and their response was that they had no money to pay me. Here's a quote: "We have absolutely zero additional income at this point to reimburse your sessions at this time. Once we are in a financial position to do so we will follow through on this promise. Sorry for any inconvenience, but we are literally hanging on by the proverbial thread." Again, not wanting to cause undue hardship I said fine.

Fast forward almost 8 months later I've tried several times to contact them with no response. their email address is no longer active as is the phone number I had. But back in January they finally opened a new studio gym with a nice new website and everything. So I sent them an email through their website last month, and still no response.

Does anyone know of any resources I have to collect this debt. Sure, it's not going to make or break me, but it's not insignificant either. And more importantly, I gave them the cash and they spent it. It was my hard-earned money and now I think they're hoping I'll just go away. I may just be screwed here, but I'd be curious if anyone here knows how I can go about collecting this in a way that they have incentive to pay.

Chip R
04-29-2010, 11:02 PM
Small claims court?

Brutus
04-29-2010, 11:10 PM
A little background: about a year and a half ago I began sessions with a husband and wife personal trainer. These went on for several months and I prepaid 20 sessions at a time. One year ago when I still had 8 sessions remaining, for various reasons these trainers were no longer able to continue training me. They owed me $560 and committed to paying within a few months due to financial difficulties they were having trying to open a new gym.

Not wanting to be a jerk, I told them this was OK. The new place was supposed to open in July and they said they'd pay in August.

At the end of August I emailed them and their response was that they had no money to pay me. Here's a quote: "We have absolutely zero additional income at this point to reimburse your sessions at this time. Once we are in a financial position to do so we will follow through on this promise. Sorry for any inconvenience, but we are literally hanging on by the proverbial thread." Again, not wanting to cause undue hardship I said fine.

Fast forward almost 8 months later I've tried several times to contact them with no response. their email address is no longer active as is the phone number I had. But back in January they finally opened a new studio gym with a nice new website and everything. So I sent them an email through their website last month, and still no response.

Does anyone know of any resources I have to collect this debt. Sure, it's not going to make or break me, but it's not insignificant either. And more importantly, I gave them the cash and they spent it. It was my hard-earned money and now I think they're hoping I'll just go away. I may just be screwed here, but I'd be curious if anyone here knows how I can go about collecting this in a way that they have incentive to pay.

I'm not an attorney. My advice should not serve as a substitute for legal advice.

(yada yada)

Seriously though... first, I would type up a "demand letter." Put a date in the top right hand corner, their names & address in legal letter form on the left with a simple "Final Notice of Demand" in bold as a title.

Simply be brief and lay out all the terms. Put how much they owe, for what reasons they owe it and a chronological synopsis of the events that transpired. Be as direct and emotionless as possible.

At the end, give a stated date (usually 7-14 days) that they have to pay the debt and what method you want it paid (i.e. check, money order, etc.). Put an address for them to send you the money.

State that if the money is not received on 'x' days from the date of your letter, you will pursue further legal collection of the debts.

If they don't pay by that date, then file a claim with the small claims division in your state and in their jurisdiction. If you need any other help, I can help you locate the proper channels (I'm not an attorney as my disclaimer said, but I've had to go through these processes before).

Hope this helps!

westofyou
04-29-2010, 11:50 PM
Life's a lesson, is your time and resources going to equal small claims court?

If not then I'd paper their parking lot and walls of their new place (and neighborhood) with warnings of their less than scrupulous business dealings. If they have a chat board on their web site (or comments forms) FLOOD it with the truth you have about them.

My bet is you hit up the radius of their work place area you'll trigger their interest. In fact create a gmail account rippedoffbyINSERTNAME@gmail.com and place it on each flyer you hang up.

Harass them, make them sweat, make them think you're nuts. make them afraid to lose their business because of a bad reputation.

Razor Shines
04-30-2010, 12:34 AM
Life's a lesson, is your time and resources going to equal small claims court?

If not then I'd paper their parking lot and walls of their new place (and neighborhood) with warnings of their less than scrupulous business dealings. If they have a chat board on their web site (or comments forms) FLOOD it with the truth you have about them.

My bet is you hit up the radius of their work place area you'll trigger their interest. In fact create a gmail account rippedoffbyINSERTNAME@gmail.com and place it on each flyer you hang up.

Harass them, make them sweat, make them think you're nuts. make them afraid to lose their business because of a bad reputation.

And whatever you don't ever screw over WOY.

Homer Bailey
04-30-2010, 12:45 AM
And whatever you don't ever screw over WOY.

Might be the hardest I've ever laughed on this board.

P.S. It's threads like this that make RZ great.

fearofpopvol1
04-30-2010, 03:41 AM
I'm not an attorney. My advice should not serve as a substitute for legal advice.

(yada yada)

Seriously though... first, I would type up a "demand letter." Put a date in the top right hand corner, their names & address in legal letter form on the left with a simple "Final Notice of Demand" in bold as a title.

Simply be brief and lay out all the terms. Put how much they owe, for what reasons they owe it and a chronological synopsis of the events that transpired. Be as direct and emotionless as possible.

At the end, give a stated date (usually 7-14 days) that they have to pay the debt and what method you want it paid (i.e. check, money order, etc.). Put an address for them to send you the money.

State that if the money is not received on 'x' days from the date of your letter, you will pursue further legal collection of the debts.

If they don't pay by that date, then file a claim with the small claims division in your state and in their jurisdiction. If you need any other help, I can help you locate the proper channels (I'm not an attorney as my disclaimer said, but I've had to go through these processes before).

Hope this helps!

This is great advice right here. I was in a similar situation...although I was owed money for services rendered. They drug their feet, I wrote the demand letter. No payment, took them to small claims, they didn't show, judge awarded me what I was owed. Granted it was more money than you were owed, but still. One thing that Brutus didn't mention though is if you do decide to go that route, make sure you send your demand letter registered return receipt. This is very important as this is proof you sent it to them and will be needed in court.

WOY's idea is pretty awesome too...but sometimes it's about the principle.

Kingspoint
04-30-2010, 04:58 AM
Send Guido.

AtomicDumpling
04-30-2010, 05:10 AM
Go to the health club and talk to them so everyone can hear you -- employees and customers. Don't be rude or nasty, just tell them you want your money and you are not going to go away until the money is in your pocket. It is easy to ignore an email or phone message. It is harder to ignore face to face communication. Be calm, polite, honest and direct and good things will happen.

I have been in this situation more than once for my business and I have always been able to get my money.

If that doesn't work, make him an offer he can't refuse.

oneupper
04-30-2010, 05:23 AM
I have had great success with the Better Business Bureau.
You just go to their website and fill out the complaint online and they will "harass" these guys for you.

This isn't probably a good case for them, but I wanted to put that information out there, because it's a great resource.
I have enlisted the BBBs help on several occasions with success. Vendors, Doctors, etc.

They even got United Airlines to give me some miles that they had initially refused to.

Totally free.

RedFanAlways1966
04-30-2010, 07:17 AM
I had a situation that was similar. Small claims court was simple. I went there, got the paperwork, filled it out and paid $25 to file.

A date was set. My case, like yours, was pretty much an open-n-shut type of case. The other party did not show up. As a matter of fact they had moved from Dayton, Ohio to Arizona. They still owned a house in the Dayton area and were trying to sell it. They applied for a mortgage to buy a house in AZ and were denied because a lien was put on their property here in OH. Why the lien? Because after the judge awarded me the judgment, they never paid me. These idoiots went so far as to have an attorney contact me and threaten to sue me if I did not go to the courts and tell them that I was paid so the lien would be released. I laughed at the attorney (and the thought of how much money they spent for the attorney to avoid paying me the $600 they owed me).

Long story short... I got my money and they had to pay me the $25 filing fee. And to boot... they owed my 10% interest on the original amount of money due to the amount of time they held MY MONEY. Not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

As Doug Llewlyn (for those old enough to remember) used to say, "Do not take the law into your own hands, take them to court." Stay away form their new gym. Small claims takes about 1-1/2 hours of your life.

Roy Tucker
04-30-2010, 08:00 AM
I do the small claims court thing. If nothing else, a life lesson as to how to do that.

And I wouldn't go to the gym and confront them. Nothing to gain there besides a punch in the nose or getting shot.

And remind me to always stay on the sunny side of WOY. :eek:

bucksfan2
04-30-2010, 08:33 AM
I would go to the Better Business Bureau if they have opening up a new gym.

Small claims court is an avenue.

I know you can obtain a lawyer but I don't know if it would be worth it.

Do you have a signed contract?

As for advice I would go to their new place and see if you can't come up with an acceptable solution. Could you get the remainder of your PT classes? That would probably be the easiest way to get your money's worth. Meeting them face to face would put the most pressure on them. People are very adept at lying over the phone or via email, its not so easy when you are face to face. If they refuse then I would go with a version of the WOY method. I would talk to people at the gym and around the gym about their financial dealings and the money they owe you.

yab1112
04-30-2010, 10:38 AM
Introduce em to your two friends, Jack Johnson & Tom O'Leary

http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd85/LCenteno23/ron_burgundy_2.jpg

Just kidding of course. Brutus has some pretty sound advice, I'd go with that. I think the most important thing is that whatever action you take next, make sure to have a plan for where it's going.

KoryMac5
04-30-2010, 11:01 AM
Great advice so far all around. Folks always talk about what a hassle it is going to small claims court, it really isn't that bad. I just recently went over a landlord dispute and it was the best 10 dollars I have ever spent.

In the original post MWM you don't mention if the contract for the sessions was in writing or not. Much easier to prove your case if it was in writing. Save all your emails and correspondence with these folks. I know Yelp and Angies list are great ways to voice your displeasure with someone's service, as long as you are stating facts. Also the BBB might not be a bad idea in this situation. As the BBB has to contact them to discuss the situation.

I would definitely try and contact them in person, bring a friend as a witness, prove to them that you aren't going away. Much easier to ignore you through emails as they don't have to see you in person.

The demand letter has to be sent in most states 30 days prior to going to court. As folks have said it needs to go certified mail. Good luck and keep us posted!

Brutus
04-30-2010, 11:09 AM
One thing that Brutus didn't mention though is if you do decide to go that route, make sure you send your demand letter registered return receipt. This is very important as this is proof you sent it to them and will be needed in court.



Thanks for adding this. I meant to put that in there and forgot to do so.

It's definitely necessary to send by certified mail. Keep a copy of the notice and keep the return receipt.

TRF
04-30-2010, 11:21 AM
Life's a lesson, is your time and resources going to equal small claims court?

If not then I'd paper their parking lot and walls of their new place (and neighborhood) with warnings of their less than scrupulous business dealings. If they have a chat board on their web site (or comments forms) FLOOD it with the truth you have about them.

My bet is you hit up the radius of their work place area you'll trigger their interest. In fact create a gmail account rippedoffbyINSERTNAME@gmail.com and place it on each flyer you hang up.

Harass them, make them sweat, make them think you're nuts. make them afraid to lose their business because of a bad reputation.

I am so very afraid of you.

This is actually great advice, because if worded right, all you have is the truth. And that's something they can't refute.

Cant Touch This
04-30-2010, 11:34 AM
I'm dealing with a similar problem with someone who sub-leased a car from me. She stopped paying her monthly lease payment and by the end of the term owed me close to $6000 (more than that with accumulated fees and penalties.)

The short of it is, she filed for bankruptcy and I'll never see a penny of that, despite possessing a legal contract signed by both parties. I even have a copy of her driver's license.

Since I can no longer pursue her personally, I'm considering going after her employer. Through saved correspondence, I can prove she operated the vehicle while performing work-related tasks for her employer. Perhaps if I send a letter to the CEO threatening litigation he'll settle just to keep me away. After all, we're talking $6000 and the company just received a $2 Million grant.

The point here is - even if you take this to small claims court (which I was ready to file when I received the bankruptcy claim) there is no guarantee you'll ever get paid, even if the case is judged in your favor.

reds1869
04-30-2010, 02:55 PM
Also consider how hard it can be to collect should you win in court. I am owed $8,000 plus attorney fees from a case several years ago and will never see a cent of it. The man who owes me is currently in prison with no release in site. Even without jail (for a violent assault on a police officer), he was self-employed and simply chose to, ahem, stop making money. It can be quite difficult to collect a debt.

NJReds
04-30-2010, 04:09 PM
I have had great success with the Better Business Bureau.
You just go to their website and fill out the complaint online and they will "harass" these guys for you.

This isn't probably a good case for them, but I wanted to put that information out there, because it's a great resource.
I have enlisted the BBBs help on several occasions with success. Vendors, Doctors, etc.

They even got United Airlines to give me some miles that they had initially refused to.

Totally free.

The BBB helped me break free from America Online, which refused to cancel my account.

klw
04-30-2010, 07:39 PM
Another route to consider if you will accept a free membership at their new gym instead of payment. Have them do what would be the equivalent of twice the debt in free usage. Ex if they charge $56 a month membership you get 20 months free. Might be the easiest way to get something of value from this.

MWM
04-30-2010, 10:09 PM
Thanks for all the helpful ideas. This definitely gives me some options. I sent a concise text to both of their phones this morning as I'm pretty sure they still use them. I just let them know I tried to get in touch with them a few times but haven't heard anything back and that they need to contact me asap or I'll be forced to take legal action. If I don't hear from them by Monday, I think I'll start with a demand letter and then move on to the BBB and then to small claims.

At this point I think my only chance of getting anything from them would be if they don't want a complaint with the BBB for their new business. Otherwise, they have no real incentive to pay me.

I do have a signed contract, but I don't think it helps much. They are going to admit they owe me or deny it. If they deny it, all they have to say is they fulfilled their obligation. The proof that will show they owe me the money is the email where they said they will pay later where they pretty much confirm that they owe me the cash. But I'm not going to go away and I'm half-tempted to take the woy approach.

MWM
04-30-2010, 10:11 PM
Another route to consider if you will accept a free membership at their new gym instead of payment. Have them do what would be the equivalent of twice the debt in free usage. Ex if they charge $56 a month membership you get 20 months free. Might be the easiest way to get something of value from this.

Nah, I'm moving soon and won't live near here. Also, it's more of a studio for them to do their personal training than a full gym. Also, they've burned their bridge with me and I have no interest in any relationship with them in the future. So if they called and said they'd do the rest of the training sessions I'd decline. They need to pay me what the owe.

RiverRat13
04-30-2010, 10:19 PM
http://tvrecappersanonymous.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/paulie-walnuts1.jpg

fearofpopvol1
05-01-2010, 08:41 PM
Also consider how hard it can be to collect should you win in court. I am owed $8,000 plus attorney fees from a case several years ago and will never see a cent of it. The man who owes me is currently in prison with no release in site. Even without jail (for a violent assault on a police officer), he was self-employed and simply chose to, ahem, stop making money. It can be quite difficult to collect a debt.

It depends on the jurisdiction. Here in NYC...if you don't pay the owed debt within 30 days, you report it again and they will actually send a police officer to try to collect the debt to the business/residence. They then have another 30 days and if they don't pay, the court puts a freeze on their bank accounts, no joke. Another poster referenced that there was a lien put on them for not paying. So, it does depend.

fearofpopvol1
05-01-2010, 08:43 PM
Thanks for all the helpful ideas. This definitely gives me some options. I sent a concise text to both of their phones this morning as I'm pretty sure they still use them. I just let them know I tried to get in touch with them a few times but haven't heard anything back and that they need to contact me asap or I'll be forced to take legal action. If I don't hear from them by Monday, I think I'll start with a demand letter and then move on to the BBB and then to small claims.

At this point I think my only chance of getting anything from them would be if they don't want a complaint with the BBB for their new business. Otherwise, they have no real incentive to pay me.

I do have a signed contract, but I don't think it helps much. They are going to admit they owe me or deny it. If they deny it, all they have to say is they fulfilled their obligation. The proof that will show they owe me the money is the email where they said they will pay later where they pretty much confirm that they owe me the cash. But I'm not going to go away and I'm half-tempted to take the woy approach.

The signed contract absolutely helps astronomically. The burden of proof is on them to prove that they paid you. They can claim they paid you to the courts, but their going to be asked to produce proof of that. A cancelled check or money order. This should be an easy win given that you have written documentation.

MWM
05-01-2010, 08:58 PM
The signed contract absolutely helps astronomically. The burden of proof is on them to prove that they paid you. They can claim they paid you to the courts, but their going to be asked to produce proof of that. A cancelled check or money order. This should be an easy win given that you have written documentation.

They never had to pay me anything under the contract. They can say that the contract was for 20 training sessions and that they trained me for 20 sessions. If they agree that they EVER owed me $560, then I'm golden. But the contract has nothing to do with how many sessions I actually had. They won't be able to claim they paid me, but what they could claim is that they don't owe me the money.

Reds4Life
05-01-2010, 10:13 PM
They never had to pay me anything under the contract. They can say that the contract was for 20 training sessions and that they trained me for 20 sessions. If they agree that they EVER owed me $560, then I'm golden. But the contract has nothing to do with how many sessions I actually had. They won't be able to claim they paid me, but what they could claim is that they don't owe me the money.

The follow up emails confirm the debt, and imply a breach of contract on their part, and they will be considered in court. Contract + emails = you win.

reds1869
05-02-2010, 08:08 AM
It depends on the jurisdiction. Here in NYC...if you don't pay the owed debt within 30 days, you report it again and they will actually send a police officer to try to collect the debt to the business/residence. They then have another 30 days and if they don't pay, the court puts a freeze on their bank accounts, no joke. Another poster referenced that there was a lien put on them for not paying. So, it does depend.

Ohio is very different. We can keep renewing the lien every five years but basically all it does is put a mark on his record. We can't garnish wages because he doesn't have any. We can't pursue accounts or assets because he has none. If the person who owes money can prove insolvency, it is near impossible to collect in Ohio. That isn't likely the case for the gym owners, but you have to ask yourself if the cost of pursuing the debt is worth what will be collected.

Razor Shines
05-02-2010, 08:17 AM
http://uweb.und.nodak.edu/~kaylee.nesdahl/charlie_bar.jpg

"I know a lot about the law, and various other lawyerings, if I were you I'd filibuster. Unless they want to go toe to toe on bird law."

Yachtzee
05-02-2010, 12:24 PM
I like the BBB route myself, and small claims is also good. Those types of complaints will, at the least, show up on the BBB's website or in the public court dockets so that others who might want to hire these folks can see it. You can also call the state's Attorney General to see if they've had any complaints against these folks. It might not get you anywhere, but it might be another way to put pressure on them.

cincinnati chili
05-02-2010, 12:27 PM
The follow up emails confirm the debt, and imply a breach of contract on their part, and they will be considered in court. Contract + emails = you win.

I agree with this, and as amused as I was by WOY's post, I don't agree with it. You don't want them to counterclaim for libel. Either do nothing or file in small claims court.

Chances are they will not show up, in which case you will get a judgment. If they do show up, then as R4L says, their lack of denials in the emails coupled with their statements of inability to pay the debt suggest the validity of a debt. I've met you. You are believable. In a he said-she said, a judge has to make a call on your credibility. But even so, you have some documentary evidence as well.

Once you get a judgment, you have several collection options, depending on what type of assets they have and whether those assets are underwater (i.e. slapping a lien on their house, if they own a house and if the value of the mortgages don't exceed the value of the house). If either of them are employed in a regular job, then garnishment may an option. The fact that they are back on their feet in another business suggests to me that they won't declare bankruptcy anytime soon. If they do, as suggested above, you are probably out of luck. As stated above, in most state you'll get interest on your judgment plus filing fees, plus the fees for a process server (if required by your state in small claims court). It won't be worth your time and effort, but it might be a good life lesson in how this stuff works.

if Minnesota is like most states, you'll probably need to hire a process server after you file, even in small claims court (Check into this). Find out where they live and/or a good place where a process server (or you, if your state law allows) can serve them with the papers. Once you've got that plan in place, then you'll want to file in the small claims court that provides proper jurisdiction. In Colorado, this means you would need to file (and go to court) either where they live, where the contract was signed, or where the process server will actually serve them. Minnesota may be different (ask at the courthouse).

TRF
05-03-2010, 09:59 AM
I agree with this, and as amused as I was by WOY's post, I don't agree with it. You don't want them to counterclaim for libel. Either do nothing or file in small claims court.

Chances are they will not show up, in which case you will get a judgment. If they do show up, then as R4L says, their lack of denials in the emails coupled with their statements of inability to pay the debt suggest the validity of a debt. I've met you. You are believable. In a he said-she said, a judge has to make a call on your credibility. But even so, you have some documentary evidence as well.

Once you get a judgment, you have several collection options, depending on what type of assets they have and whether those assets are underwater (i.e. slapping a lien on their house, if they own a house and if the value of the mortgages don't exceed the value of the house). If either of them are employed in a regular job, then garnishment may an option. The fact that they are back on their feet in another business suggests to me that they won't declare bankruptcy anytime soon. If they do, as suggested above, you are probably out of luck. As stated above, in most state you'll get interest on your judgment plus filing fees, plus the fees for a process server (if required by your state in small claims court). It won't be worth your time and effort, but it might be a good life lesson in how this stuff works.

if Minnesota is like most states, you'll probably need to hire a process server after you file, even in small claims court (Check into this). Find out where they live and/or a good place where a process server (or you, if your state law allows) can serve them with the papers. Once you've got that plan in place, then you'll want to file in the small claims court that provides proper jurisdiction. In Colorado, this means you would need to file (and go to court) either where they live, where the contract was signed, or where the process server will actually serve them. Minnesota may be different (ask at the courthouse).

It's not libel if it is the truth.

Yachtzee
05-03-2010, 03:21 PM
It's not libel if it is the truth.

Whether it's truth or not would have to be determined at court. You have to watch out for different standards for libel too. The law provides somewhat better protection against libel for private citizens than it does public figures.

Sea Ray
05-03-2010, 04:32 PM
Thanks for all the helpful ideas. This definitely gives me some options. I sent a concise text to both of their phones this morning as I'm pretty sure they still use them. I just let them know I tried to get in touch with them a few times but haven't heard anything back and that they need to contact me asap or I'll be forced to take legal action. If I don't hear from them by Monday, I think I'll start with a demand letter and then move on to the BBB and then to small claims.

At this point I think my only chance of getting anything from them would be if they don't want a complaint with the BBB for their new business. Otherwise, they have no real incentive to pay me.

I do have a signed contract, but I don't think it helps much. They are going to admit they owe me or deny it. If they deny it, all they have to say is they fulfilled their obligation. The proof that will show they owe me the money is the email where they said they will pay later where they pretty much confirm that they owe me the cash. But I'm not going to go away and I'm half-tempted to take the woy approach.


How can they deny they owe you the money? In your initial post you quoted an e-mail from them where they admitted owing you the money. Just pull out that e-mail if they deny it

TRF
05-03-2010, 05:32 PM
If the facts are:


he owes the money
he won't pay
He's opened a new gym and still won't pay


I see no libel.

fearofpopvol1
05-04-2010, 12:54 AM
Ohio is very different. We can keep renewing the lien every five years but basically all it does is put a mark on his record. We can't garnish wages because he doesn't have any. We can't pursue accounts or assets because he has none. If the person who owes money can prove insolvency, it is near impossible to collect in Ohio. That isn't likely the case for the gym owners, but you have to ask yourself if the cost of pursuing the debt is worth what will be collected.

Yeah, I can appreciate that point of view. For some people though, it's about the principle.

Mario-Rijo
05-04-2010, 06:22 AM
Interesting stuff guys, try this one on for size and tell me what you think I can do if anything.

I had a friend who borrowed 760.00 bucks from me in July '08. We had no contract of any kind, just a gentlemans agreement as I had no reason to doubt him returning the funds. At the time he had just been let go from a job and was about to lose his apartment and what not. I told him to take his time paying me back, no rush just get back to me once he got on his feet. Well in November that same year he had been back to work for about a month although at a much lesser job and he was able to give me 50 bucks, another several months went buy and I started calling/texting asking for anything extra he might have because I was now in a tight spot (this was like May of '09). He finally gives me a check (IIRC) for 150.00 dollars briefly thereafter. Now we chatted briefly around that time about a laptop computer he had and that I was interested in taking it for a portion of what he owed me. He suggested some inane price for it and I said no, but if he changed his mind I would take it for a much lesser price, he said he'd let me know. In like mid July I started calling/texting again and seeing if he could promise some in the near future, I didn't hear from him until early September. He said if I was still interested he has this laptop. I go over and check it out and he has no cord for it, I said I'll take it home and see if I have a power supply cord that I can use on it and if it works fine after I check it out for a while I'll offer you something for it, he says "it's no good to me so just go ahead and take it". Well I had a cord and checked it out and quickly realized the battery was complete toast and the wireless internet card was trashed. So I go and find a cord/battery and external modem (costs about 120 bucks, I got lucky and found them used) and get it going fine. I then shop it around and was able to sell it for 320 bucks. So I figure I would go ahead and knock 200 off what he owed me even though he seemed to just give it to me. Well I can't get him on the phone anymore so I went to his house and left him a note detailing where we were and that I went ahead and managed to get 200 bucks out of it plus what I had in it so I'd knock that off leaving him to owe me 300 bucks, he doesn't respond so I send him an email. After a day he returns me an email suggesting he thought we were now even because he "thought" giving me the laptop resolved the issue. Now he knows doggone good and well we never came to that agreement. So I write this long nasty email really tearing him apart and then I don't send it, instead I simply sent one stating "If that's what you think, then consider it resolved". Hoping that it might guilt him into making amends. It never did and that was around January sometime and I haven't heard from him since and I haven't communicated with him either.

Now I know this doesn't really hold much water in court but I wonder if anyone knows how far back I can get text messages that I have already deleted from the phone company, which would strengthen and perhaps even prove my case. And since he is playing dirty pool I can as well, he is a police officer and a lawsuit wouldn't be a good thing on his resume. So I wonder what would you guys do? Just so you know I am extremely angry with this guy and I am having a really hard time chalking it up to experience. It would be almost worth it to file the suit just to teach him a lesson.

Redsfaithful
05-04-2010, 07:30 AM
And that's why you never lend money to friends or family. Either make it a gift or don't do it at all. Mario-Rijo I'd chalk that up to a $300 lesson as personally I wouldn't go through the hassle of small claims court, but others might feel differently.

KoryMac5
05-04-2010, 07:54 AM
Mario, it is too hard to prove things in court without a witness or without a written contract. When I went to claims court I had folks who could testify to the conversation my landlord had with my wife. Without these witnesses I would have had a really hard time proving my case. If you don't have anything in writing and nobody witnessed this transaction it is your word against his. The judge than has to decide who is more credible between the two of you. I would chalk it up to one of life's lessons learned.

cincinnati chili
05-04-2010, 09:07 AM
It's not libel if it is the truth.

As Yachtzee pretty much said, it doesn't have to be the truth for someone to sue you. Also once defamation is in play, the whole thing transforms from an inexpensive and simple small claims matter to a matter for a higher court where you have to hire a lawyer.

I see this happen a lot. MWM's best two options are to either forget it and put this behind him or to go to court on principle. I think he'll probably win. The bad option (though humorous) is the reign-of-terror-bad-publicity option.

oneupper
05-04-2010, 02:25 PM
MarioRijo's problem sounds like something more for Judge Judy.

Forget it, dude. At $300, it was a very cheap lesson. I could tell you stories... (and I'm guessing most of us could, too).

Brutus
05-04-2010, 03:10 PM
As Yachtzee pretty much said, it doesn't have to be the truth for someone to sue you. Also once defamation is in play, the whole thing transforms from an inexpensive and simple small claims matter to a matter for a higher court where you have to hire a lawyer.

I see this happen a lot. MWM's best two options are to either forget it and put this behind him or to go to court on principle. I think he'll probably win. The bad option (though humorous) is the reign-of-terror-bad-publicity option.

100% agree.

Libel is not an open-and-shut case even if you know it to be the truth. You open yourself up to a very nasty lawsuit - costing much more than you could ever hope to gain by getting less than $500 back - by taking the "smear campaign" approach. It might result being the most effective method - but also the most costly.