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Suing Company Will Not Be Easy

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM # LAW 692

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A reader worked with a debt management company in another state that did not provide the services they promised. Now the reader is trying to get a refund for those services. Ilyce and Sam explain that the reader has done all the right things by filing complaints with various agencies, but that the difficult task of suing the company may be their only resort.

Q: I am in the eleventh year of a 30-year mortgage in which I have always made extra payments.
(article continues below useful links)

The Nevada company is a debt management company and they failed to keep up their end of the contract. So, I canceled my account with them and requested a refund.

At first they we helpful but now they are ignoring all my calls and emails and won’t issue my refund. I have filed numerous complaints with the attorney generals in New York, Arizona, Nevada, the Better Business Bureau and state banking commissions. No one is helping me.

I have heard that the owners are closing up shop and moving to another state. Skipping out pretty much says it. Anyway, can I put a lien on their home in Arizona?

A: I’m sorry for the trouble you have gone through. While some companies have legitimate reasons for going out of business, others, unfortunately, have learned to play the system and make money from unsuspecting consumers only to go out of business before performing the services they have agreed to provide.

It’s particularly tough for folks who have fallen on hard times and need help getting out of a financially difficult situation.

It seems you have taken quite a few steps in order to get your money back: You have made repeated calls, written letters, and filed complaints with the state authorities and non-governmental agencies.

Your one last resort is to sue the company. If you can prove fraud against the company and its owners, you might even be able to get money from the owners of the company.

Unfortunately, in many cases, legal action can be expensive and time consuming. And, in some instances, you might pay more in legal fees and costs that what you recover.

In order to file a lien against a company owner’s home, you might have to file suit against the company and its owners, obtain a judgment against them and then file a lien against the home and other of the owner’s assets. Depending on how much money is involved, you might want to consider talking to a law firm with multiple offices that can handle litigation in various states.

You might find that filing a suit in New York will do you little good and that you have to file in Nevada to get any results at all.

For details, talk to an attorney with expertise in litigation.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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