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Small Claims Court

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DucksRock2727

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
California
Does anyone know or have any experience filing in Small Claims court? I have never done it and I want to make sure I get it right the first time. Do you know if I have to petition the person who ordered the appraisal or can I petition the broker on file/manager?

I have one really old one and I think the loan officer is no where to be found. The company he worked for is still in business and the manager and broker on file are still with the company and knew about the transaction and knew I never got paid.

Any info is appreciated.
 

panappr

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Hey, try this. Sometimes they will pay as soon as they are served with papers, worked for me twice and I never had to leave the office.

LegalZoom.com
 

Greg Bell

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Louisiana
Just go your your local county and file a claim.It's cheap.Then pay the extra money for the sheriffs to serve the subpoena.It doesn't matter where the person or company is located.You were contracted within the your county.I did it twice and was paid in both cases.If you don't get paid just file lien on any property the deadbeat owns immediatly..Have fun..
 

Flygirl 152

Senior Member
Joined
May 3, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Hey, try this. Sometimes they will pay as soon as they are served with papers, worked for me twice and I never had to leave the office.

LegalZoom.com

Sometimes going to the courthouse is the biggest pain. Before I was married I filed in small claims court against a roommate that skipped out on paying rent and utilities, then had a friend serve her (had a check in my hands within 24 hours). The hassle was going to the court house, finding parking and writing all the paperwork out. If you can do it on-line, that's great! The link should be posted under one of those sticky threads.
 

Mike Boyd

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
California
I have started small claim actions several times. Each time, except one, I was paid before it actually got to court. The time it did go to court, the defendant was an attorney. The judge took my testimony and then asked the defendant if he did order the appraisal. The attorney/defendant said "yes, but....." The judge said "judgment for the plaintiff. Case closed."

Sue EVERBODY. It will take a little more time and cost a little more. But, you can add those costs to your claim. I even include the loan processor and the borrower.
 

ZZGAMAZZ

Elite Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Mr. Boyd: My company just experienced a loss when a commercial client reversed his $2,000 credit card charge because he said he never received the narrative report, that the secretary mailed to him without return receit (US Mail). Surprisingly the credit card company upheld his plea when my company had no record of mailing the completed report. Do you think this might be a case for small claims court?
 

Flygirl 152

Senior Member
Joined
May 3, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Mr. Boyd: My company just experienced a loss when a commercial client reversed his $2,000 credit card charge because he said he never received the narrative report, that the secretary mailed to him without return receit (US Mail). Surprisingly the credit card company upheld his plea when my company had no record of mailing the completed report. Do you think this might be a case for small claims court?

If you go to small claims, you will have a copy of the report you completed for the judge. That would be proof enough. I believe you wouldn't be violating USPAP if the judge requests the report for proof, but correct me if I'm wrong.

The time to file the claim and go to court would be worth it for a $2,000 appraisal.
 

Mike Boyd

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
California
Mr. Boyd: My company just experienced a loss when a commercial client reversed his $2,000 credit card charge because he said he never received the narrative report, that the secretary mailed to him without return receit (US Mail). Surprisingly the credit card company upheld his plea when my company had no record of mailing the completed report. Do you think this might be a case for small claims court?

If you have a copy of the report showing the date of transmittal, that should be sufficient. I would also raise the issue of fraud since they rescinded the CC transaction for no cause.
 

CANative

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2003
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
California
Agree with panappr. You can download the forms on line in most places I believe. Just fill them out and fax them to the deadbeat with a note on when they will be filed. A check usually comes pretty soon.

I haven't had this problem in a long time, but it did work in the past.
 

Pete Humphrey

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
I went to small claims for a mortgage broker that owed me for two appraisals for the same owner. They didn't close and the owner wouldn't pay, and the l.o. wouldn't pay. I met with the small claims court advisor who was extremely helpful. I had to name the broker, the l.o., and the husband/wife who were owners of record. Only the l.o. and the wife showed up and the judge gave me the option to re-schedule, but I went ahead. I had a notebook with my appraisals, my emails to and from the l.o. who called me many colorful 4-letter words (which I highlighted), and about 20 letters of reference from my other l.o.'s who said they always paid me when the loan did not go thru since it was not my fault and I did my work as requested. The idiot l.o. had the audacity to actually say to the judge, "if I had to pay the appraiser for every appraisal for a loan that I couldn't close, I'd be out of business" Yes, "STUPID" was written across his forehead! The homeowner's gripe was that I never even came to the house to do the appraisal! - I explained that it was because her husband told me when to show up, and that her nanny, who didn't speak English, let me in. My interior photos were proof enough that I had been there. She and the l.o. were two peas in a pod!

Anyway, the whole thing was pretty hilarious. I won, I actually got payment for my fees + all my costs to take him to court (server, admin fees, etc.) From it I learned to put a late fee statement on all my invoices. I tried to collect a late fee of 10% per month, since I'd waited about 6 months for payment but the judge said since my invoice didn't indicate any charge for a late fee, I couldn't collect for that. Now all my invoices say "late fees of 10% per month will apply after 30 days from invoice date."

My advice for you - go for it and have fun!
 
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