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Small Claims Procedure

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vargasteve

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
I have a 'realtor' client that screwed up the paperwork in escrow, he's not working the same broker any more and can't be found - however, using my appraisal they funded a purchase. The broker won't pay even though he collected his commision.

I've not taken anyone to small claims, anyone know of the procedure or steps?
 

EDWARD BERRY

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
SORRY, i hit the wrong keys,

It is easy in our State, just fill out some papers, costs about $55 to start, if you win you get that back, provided you win.

If you win, the other party has 30 days to pay, if not then IF -IF -IF they have any property we have to get a execution order by the sherif (sic) to collect.

IF, IF they have any property the sherif will take enough to satisfy the claim. Usually when he starts to take the TV they come up with the cash.

Hopefully-ed
 

Ross (CO)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
We are....in the other 49 states. Your process will depend on your state and the county in which the defendant or defendant's business identity is located (at least that's CO). It's a tedious process, it will cost you up-front fees to file, and to serve the individual, your drive-time to that court......and the other person may not show up ! They must be "served" first, and YOU can not do that (at least in CO). At best, you can eventually secure the judgment against them, and it gets recorded in civil court records, and perhaps against their credit records, etc. but that might be something you pursue intently with the Clerk and Recorder office for that county. Many feel that a properly worded letter mailed or faxed will "scare" the pants off the individual.....and they will pay up. Don't count on that as any guarantee. Real sleazeballs know how to run their scam....and they are good at being un-touchable. How do I know ? I got scammed in October by a mortgage broker. He sent me a signed order, with a bogus (3-yr.old) business address, defunct phone number. Promised to send the check on the day of the order......and I got tripped up. I fell victim to my own diligence, for I e-mailed the report before the check arrived. I would not have done that for someone out-of-state, but since he was 50 miles and 45-min. drive from here I knew I could "pursue" him if things went sour. I pursued, he did not show in court......but that $350 original fee has been racheted up to a $615 judgment against him with all cummulative costs by me and the court.

Here's where our system has failed the citizens (of CO). We do not have licensure of loan originators and mortgage brokers. There is nothing to take, to pull, to rescind or something with which to fine them. This individual took the homeowner's advanced fees for appraisal and credit report, pocketed the cash, ordered an appraisal with a signed order (yes, it IS his signature), and then never paid me for my fulfillment of contracted service. The loan deal for the homeowners simply evaporated in thin air around mid-November. That judgment was the last week of March. I can still serve him again to answer an "interogatory of the court" to explain what assets he has, or income he receives, such as to meet the $615 amount recorded now as his debt. I have been flat-out too busy making real money since mid-March (busiest 3 months in 5 years !) to pursue further this guy's funny-money. He lives with a girlfriend, and she owns the house, and he owns nothing.....maybe not even the car he drives. I may file that interogatory one of these days soon......but for sure, if and when the day comes, that our Legistlators get some sort of enactment to license this crowd.....I will have my voice heard in a manner to prevent him from ever getting his license. I have mellowed on the matter over these last few months.....but he will not ever be forgotten and maybe his "day" will come. Of course, by now he might have dropped the girlfriend, and moved on to another state which does not license these practitioners, and there are several others like CO, and he is scamming other homeowners and appraisers there. The good book says to forgive, now and then. For sure, I have learned from the experience. "Lost" about $350 in each of 1998 and 1999, and none till this event. Not too bad, perhaps. Good luck.
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Obviously your state laws will vary but here is it very simple! $45 filing fee and we are entitled to interest and ANY collection fee's incurred. So I always include every penny I spent, like certified letters.

Sheriffs Office servers the papers and they have to appear in court. All but one of mine paid up once they got served. If you go to court all you have to do is prove you did the appraisal. Thats easy enough, you have the order sheet right? A copy of the report? Get a statement from the someone the loan closed, would be hard to loose. AT least here that is.

If they don't show up for court you win by default. I had one like that and it took a while to collect but I got a sizable interest payment out of that one! AND I THROUGHLY ENJOYED COLLECTING IT TOO!
 

Rich Hahn

Senior Member
Joined
May 2, 2003
Professional Status
General Public
State
Colorado
I remember reading about ROSS(co) driving to Denver for $350
and wandering why the F would this guy do this????
sitting/waiting in a sheriffs office while there are homes needing appraising??

Ross Im glad you finally figured it out.

ROSS YOU GO BOY!
 

Ross (CO)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
The last word in your footnote could use some correction. And, while you bring it up.........what's this "F" stuff all about ? You go boy ! !
 

Indiana Jones

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Indiana
What about late fees? Are you able to collect on those too? I've got a former (obviously) client that I'm about to sue.
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Originally posted by Mike Simerly@Jun 26 2003, 07:32 PM
What about late fees? Are you able to collect on those too? I've got a former (obviously) client that I'm about to sue.
Our small claims form don't say. But try it! The worst that could happen would be that judge wouldn't allow it. Assuming it goes that far. I have only had one make it that far, well actually they didn't respond so I won by default.

I would suspect that if you had on your invoice from the beginning info about late fee that it would hold up. I don't know that for sure. But if you didn't have something warning of it and just now want to tack it on it might get kicked off.

I filed suit on one a week or two ago and got the check today. Minus the court costs and interest. LOL Like I am going to cash that check! I will wait till they call or the court date rolls around. :mrgreen: I will get all of that one, trust me!
 
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