Debtors Prison in Utah

Is debtors prison real? Can I go to jail for debt? Many consumers ask the same questions and the answer may scare you a little. Actually, the answer may scare you a lot.

You can be arrested for debt or sent to debtors prisons

Debtors Prison

Historically, debtors prisons were used to incarcerate debtors who were unable to repay debt. Although it defies logic to lock someone up instead of letting them remain free to earn the money needed to repay the debt, that is how our forefathers handled the problem. Many states allow consumers to be arrested for debt under certain circumstances.

Jail for Unpaid Child Support

In Utah, failing to pay child support payments can get you arrested. It only happens in extreme cases however. Judges are understandably reluctant to jail someone for debt, even child support, because doing so deprives that person of his earning ability. Debtors prisons defy logic in that sense. Accordingly, failing to pay child support usually results in garnishment of wages rather than incarceration.

Jail for Debt

Strictly speaking you cannot be arrested for failing to pay a debt in Utah. Unfortunately, you can be arrested for failing to obey a court order. This de facto debtors prison occurs when a creditor sues you successfully and you fail to appear at a hearing for a supplemental order. Even if the debt is relatively small most judges will issue a bench warrant for your arrest for failing to appear at that hearing. The warrant is typically around $300 but can be thousands of dollars if the situation deserves a higher amount. If you are arrested under a bench warrant the police will indeed take you to jail for debt. You will be released only upon payment of the amount of the warrant. That amount will then go to your creditor to apply it to the outstanding debt.

Jail for Bad Checks

You can also go to jail in Utah for writing bad checks. In this case the punishment is actually more of a criminal penalty but deserves a mention here because a lot of consumers write checks they cannot cover not realizing that doing so can land them in jail for failing to repay a debt.


The sad fact is that although debtors prison doesn’t technically exist in Utah you can go to jail for debt under certain circumstances. Use caution in your financial dealings and you should be fine. Of course, always appear when a court summons you. Ignoring a court order is the fastest way to go to jail for debt.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - Kozzi Image

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a new government agency created to handle consumer complaints about deceptive or fraudulent companies. In the past I have advised clients not to waste any time filing a complaint with any government agency. The CFPB may change my mind, though the jury is still out.

Consumer Complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Consumers can file a complaint directly with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In the past, consumers could file similar complaints with the FTC, FCC, and their State Attorneys General but those complaints rarely resulted in relief for individual consumers. Indeed, each of those agencies primary purpose in gathering complaints is to search for only the largest scams and even those are rarely pursued.

The CFPB however appears to be different. Filing a consumer complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may actually result in a refund or other relief for the consumer. I say may because the CFPB is still very new and largely unproven.

Company Accountability

One reason why a consumer complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may be good for consumers is because the CFPB contacts the companies involved and expects them to respond. This is similar to filing a complaint with the BBB but with the added backing of the federal government.

CFPB Data Sharing

Another advantage of filing a consumer complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is that the CFPB shares data with federal and local law enforcement agencies. This should result in better prosecution for criminal acts and better enforcement in administrative proceedings. Shared data means less privacy for deceptive companies and less privacy makes it harder to defraud consumers.

CFPB Congressional Reporting

One area that greatly concerns me is that the CFPB reports to congress. No, this is not a good thing. Reporting to congress is highly likely to result in tighter regulations and more oppressive government restrictions. Yes, scam artists should be held accountable but no, congress should not get involved. When it does we get more laws, rules, and regulations which inevitably require higher taxation and less liberty. Simply put, congress should keep its hands off our business. Individuals, not government, should hold companies accountable if necessary.


Until we have more information about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau we cannot know for sure whether or not it is a useful consumer tool or just another bloated, useless, oppressive government agency. My initial guess is that, on some level, the CFPB is both. Until we know for sure it would be prudent to file consumer complaints with the CFPB as one part of the consumer complaint process. A CFPB complaint, however, should not be used as a substitute for hiring a consumer protection attorney. Like the BBB the CFPB has no authority to enforce state laws protecting consumers and therefore cannot adequately represent consumers’ legal interests. For now, file the CFPB complaint but do it only after consulting with a good attorney for best results in your individual case.

Door to Door Salesman Knocking? Don’t Answer.

Is a door to door salesman knocking at your door? Here are some simple tips to help you deal with door to door salesmen.

Stopping a Door to Door Salesman Before they Knock

The best method for keeping a door to door salesman at bay is to put a “No Solicitation” sign on your door. The sign is like garlic to a vampire. With a sign posted, door to door salesmen are legally prohibited from knocking or attempting to sell to you at your home. Yes, some will break the law and knock anyway but read on to learn how to stop them.

Stopping a Door to Door Salesman After they Knock

Ok, someone is knocking on your door but you don’t know who. What next? Don’t answer. That is your simplest solution. Just don’t answer the door. They will eventually go away. The problem with that approach is that you often don’t know the person knocking is a door to door salesman. It could be a package delivery, neighbor, or family member at the door. You get more visits from people you know than people you don’t know after all. So in most cases you answer the door. Now what? Read on of course.

Ok, You Answered. Now What?

Once you have answered the door and realize you are facing a door to door salesman what are you supposed to do next? First, be polite. They are people after all. Once you are face to face you should politely decline to buy whatever garbage the solicitor is selling. In many cases the door to door salesman isn’t even selling garbage, he is selling a scam.

Whether it is an alarm system, painting by a foreign exchange student trying to earn his way through school, or a miracle cleaning solution it is essentially a scam. That’s why the product is selling door to door. Indeed, I once had a client who paid over $3,000 for a vacuum cleaner from a door to door salesman that was only worth about $600. Indeed, the vacuum and the deal both sucked.

Not all home solicitation sales are scams however. Small businesses and school groups often go door to door to legitimately pitch lawn care services, concrete refinishing, charity collection drives, and cookies. High school age students just starting out or working part time through school are a prime example of when home solicitation sales are a valid sales method. Even in these cases, however, don’t buy anything unless you know the person and don’t pay anything unless they have already fully performed the agreed upon service.

After the Purchase

You opened the door and just couldn’t resist. You bought the cleaning solution, vacuum, or other garbage and now you realized it is overpriced, cheaply made, or just an all out out scam. The good news is that you can cancel the purchase and get a full refund as long as you cancel in writing within three days. Yes, the time frame is short but you shouldn’t have bought anything from a door to door salesman in the first place.

First, call the company and cancel the purchase. Don’t stop with just a phone call. Always follow up the call with a written notice of cancellation and confirm the telephone call in the letter. They are required by law to cancel and issue a refund. If they refuse, call me. If the door to door salesman gave you false contact information and you can’t contact the company then you have been scammed. Cancel payment on the check or credit card you used to pay. You didn’t pay in cash did you? If so, you won’t ever see that money again.

Way After the Purchase

If you made the purchase more than three days ago but have realized what you purchased is garbage you should still be able to get a refund in some cases. Contact the door to door salesman and request a refund. If he refuses be persistent and contact his supervisors and even the company owner if he won’t budge. If all else fails follow through with a small claims lawsuit as a last resort.

Business Consumer Complaints

Every year consumers file business consumer complaints in droves. The FTC receives millions of consumer affairs complaints every year. In Utah, the attorney general also receives thousands of similar consumer affairs complaints. Other consumer bureaus receive complaints each year in similar numbers.

The shocking part of this story is not how many consumer complaints are filed each year. No, the shocking part is that almost all of these millions of consumers who file consumer affairs complaints do nothing to actually resolve their complaint. Sure, they asked for a refund from the company who scammed them but filing an FTC complaint, attorney general complaint, or other business consumer complaint is simply a waste of time. These agencies will rarely, if ever, help individual consumers. Consumers should stop wasting time with these business complaints and start helping themselves.

Small Claims Courts

Small claims courts are one excellent way consumers can help themselves to resolve a business consumer complaint. Small claims court is easy and affordable. Most consumers can even represent themselves in a small claim without hiring an attorney. Excellent information on filing a small claim is also readily available online to help. Even the FTC and Utah’s Attorney General would agree that small claims court is an excellent venue for pursuing a consumer affairs complaint.

Consumer Protection Attorneys

For consumers who are uncomfortable filing a small claim court case on their own, consulting with a consumer protection attorney is a good choice. Most will consult for free and handle cases on a contingency basis so consumers pay nothing out of their own pocket. Instead, the company who scammed the consumer pays the bill. A good consumer protection attorney can also generally get a consumer more money to compensate them than a consumer can get on by filing his own consumer complaint. Consumer laws and common-law legal theories exist that attorneys can use to increase awards beyond merely getting a refund. Savvy consumers will at least consult an attorney to discover whether or not they have a legitimate consumer complaint to pursue.

Class Actions

In some consumer complaints a class action lawsuit is the best way to solve the problem. For the individual consumer these cases often yield lower results than individual lawsuits but for consumers as a group and for the class representatives these lawsuits can be very fruitful. In the never-ending pursuit of maximizing profits businesses frequently abuse consumers in small dollar amounts making it impossible or difficult for one consumer to pursue a consumer complaint on his own. As a class representative, however, the consumer serves everyone harmed the deceptive practice and literally changes the world by protecting consumers everywhere from the same abuse.


A savvy consumer will carefully weigh his options before filing any consumer complaint. Whether it is with the FTC, an attorney general, some other consumer bureau or agency, or in court, consumers can get refunds and additional compensation for being a victim of an unfair or deceptive sales practice. Don’t give up. Do it right. Talk to an attorney or research your consumer complaint online but don’t let a company get away with a consumer scam against you.

Penny Auction Scams

Penny auction scams are rampant and insidious. Don’t gamble away your hard-earned money.

Penny auction scam websites are gambling sites, not shopping.

Penny auction websites purport to offer consumer goods at steeply discounted prices. They advertise pretty much everywhere that consumers can save up to 95% off of retail prices on popular electronics and other consumer goods. With prices that good many consumers ask me if penny auctions are a scam. If you are shopping rather than gambling then the answer is an unabashed and resounding yes. Penny auctions are a scam. There is simply no other way to put it. Read on if you disagree with my opinion.

Penny Auction Scam: Reviews on Penny Auctions

If you search for penny auction websites online you will see literally hundreds of websites with what look like positive reviews. Don’t be fooled. Most of the websites posting positive reviews about penny auctions are actually paid advertisements on websites owned, operated, or controlled by penny auction companies or one of their paid affiliates. Those ads and fake reviews are typical marketing practices used by many online businesses and I consider the practice to be a scam. Unfortunately, those fake reviews are just the tip of penny auction scam iceberg.

Penny Auction Scam: How Penny Auctions Work

The penny auction scam works like this. Penny auctions put a consumer product up for “auction” on their websites. Consumers bid on the purchase price of the item while a clock counts down to zero. The bidding starts at $0.01 and raises by another penny every time a consumer (sucker) places a bid. Once a new bid is placed, the clock resets to 20 seconds to allow more bids to occur. Since the clock resets, penny auctions typically go on for hours with 20 or fewer seconds showing on the clock. Eventually the clock expires giving one, and only one, consumer the right to buy the item for pennies on the dollar. It sounds good if you are that one customer that won, but what about the others? What happens to all the money they paid to “bid” on the right to purchase the items?

Let’s do the math. Each bid costs the consumer $0.60. Yes, you read that right. Consumers purchase bids at a rate of $0.60 each. Astounding isn’t it? Now let’s say an item is worth $300.00 and you buy it for $22.00 on a penny auction site after making 200 bids. Those 200 bids cost you $120.00 so you did in fact save money if you win the auction. If you lose the auction you lose all $120.00 you paid for your bids. How can anyone argue with a straight face that such a process isn’t gambling?

More math reveals how the penny auction scam works. To get an item from $0.01 to $22.00 requires bidders to place 2199 bids. At $0.60 each that $300.00 item cost consumers collectively $1319.40. The worst part is not the obscene profit penny auction companies make by selling each product at such an inflated price, however. Remember there are other bidders and they all lost. If the auction had 100 active bidders then they each paid an average of over $22.00 for absolutely nothing.

Under my reading of Utah law, the penny auction business model is plainly considered gambling. The players all paid money for a chance to win something and all the losers walked away with nothing.
That is the definition of gambling. No, I don’t know why the Utah Attorney General allows penny auction scams to operate. Vote for me; I wouldn’t allow it. Many other states have similar gambling laws which is why legitimate contests always allow you to enter without making a purchase. They have to. It is required by law. Because penny auctions have no process for entering to win an auction without paying for the chance it is gambling.

The Penny Auction Scam: QuiBids Response

Not surprisingly, one popular penny auction website, QuiBids, does not consider it’s business model to be gambling. At least not publicly. Instead, QuiBids calls its service “gamification” and argues that their auctions are a game rather than gambling because the QuiBids auctions somehow take “skill” to win. Shame on you QuiBids. Poker takes skill too but if you pay to play it is considered gambling.

Even if the involvement of skill somehow changed the definition of gambling (which it doesn’t), what skill could possibly be required to win a penny auction? Bidders can’t possibly have any insight into when the bidding will stop on a particular item and there isn’t any way to bluff other bidders into giving up. If bidders did have some special system for winning a penny auction that system would have to be called cheating and I doubt QuiBids has ever banned a user for cheating. Sorry QuiBids, this argument doesn’t fly. Your bidding process is pure luck.

Penny auction scam sites also argue their services are not gambling because they offer a “buy it now” option on their products. The buy it now option allows consumers to purchase the item at full price minus the bids they already placed on that item. Nice try, but the penny auction model still reeks of scam. Think about it. Consumers are led to the penny auction websites by representations that the sites are discount shopping outlets. They are drawn to penny auction sites by the promise of saving money on a purchase, not to pay full price or to play games. As a result, the buy it now option actually places the consumer in a lose-lose situation. They either have to walk away from a product they just wasted money and time trying to win or they have to pay full price (or higher). That isn’t a meaningful choice at all. Penny auction sites are basically forcing their bidders to pay full price for an item they were led to believe they could purchase for a steep discounted price. Bait and switch anyone?

Avoiding the Penny Auction Scam

Here is how to avoid the penny auction scam. Don’t bid at penny auctions. Avoiding the scam is that easy. A savvy consumer should simply buy consumer goods from legitimate shopping sites and be done with it. No batteries included. No scam included.

Keep Debt Collection Lawsuits Out of Small Claims Court

Debt collection lawsuits can be filed against abusive debt collectors in small claims court in many cases but I recommend against it. You will almost certainly get a lower damages award or settlement by handling your case alone and by filing in small claims court. Instead, hire an attorney who will properly advocate your debt collection lawsuit in federal court where it belongs.

Now I don’t want to discourage you from taking your debt collection lawsuit to small claims court. I really don’t. Indeed I have previously discussed the issue in other consumer blog posts and even explained to you how to do it. The reason for that is simple; many people want to pursue their consumer complaints on their own. They don’t want to hire an attorney and often falsely believe they have to pay for an attorney in debt collection lawsuit cases. The problem is that there are just too many reasons why you should not sue a debt collector in small claims court. My simple advice is to keep debt collection lawsuits out of small claims court. Other authors agree that there are pitfalls in taking debt collection cases to small claims court.

Attorneys’ Fees in Debt Collection Lawsuits

You can get a free lawyer when you sue a debt collection company. That sounds incredible but its true. When you successfully sue a debt collector you are entitled to an award of your attorney’s fees and court costs so good credit attorneys take FDCPA abuse cases on a contingency basis. That means your attorney pays all your courts costs up front for you and takes no fees at all if you lose. If you settle the case or win at trial the attorney will then take a percentage or hourly rate out of your award or settlement for his fees. Essentially, that means the debt collector pays your attorney’s fees and you pay nothing out of your own pocket.

In contrast, when you sue a debt collector in small claims court you generally represent yourself. Obviously, in that case there won’t be any attorney’s fees to award you. Even if you are an attorney you cannot generally get an award of attorney’s fees for work you performed in your own case. In many states you can hire an attorney to represent you in small claims court and in those cases you can get an award of attorney’s fees. Sadly, however, the attorney’s fees will be capped at the statutory maximum; a decidedly bad idea.

Capping attorney’s fees would very harmful to your case because it limits your potential award and your ability to negotiate a higher settlement. It also creates an incentive for the debt collection attorneys to make the case as difficult and time consuming as possible because they know their liability will be limited to the statutory maximum amount no matter how much it actually costs you. Indeed, for this and many other reasons, no credible credit litigation attorney would ever file an FDCPA abuse case in small claims court.

Damages in Debt Collection Lawsuits

Another reason to never sue a collection agency in small claims court is that damages are too low. Considering that the statutory limit in Utah small claims courts is $10,000 that sounds wrong, but hear me out. When you sue a debt collection agency you sue under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It is a federal law meant to allow consumers to hold abusive and deceptive debt collectors accountable for their illegal actions. Under the FDCPA the maximum statutory damages award allowed is only $1,000. That’s it. Unless you have some verifiable actual damages you won’t get more than $1,000.

In many cases, however, consumers have actual damages in addition to statutory damages and those actual damages can easily exceed the limits allowed in small claims courts. It is not uncommon for actual damage awards to be well-above the $10,000.00 mark and many even exceed $100,000.00. The reason actual damage awards can climb fairly high in FDCPA abuse cases is because actual damages often include financial injury that resulted from unfair, abusive, or harassing collection conduct such as wage garnishments, lost wages, or lost credit opportunities and can also include damages for physical and emotional distress arising as a result of the abusive collection.

In small claims court it may be more difficult to prove your actual damages and they will be limited to the maximum statutory cap no matter how much you actually suffered. To maximize your damages and assure that you are seeking damages that are appropriate to your situation you will need an experienced attorney. That is good. An experienced consumer rights litigation attorney can find additional damages where the average consumer, suing in small claims court alone, cannot. For example, actual damages such as anger, headaches, chest pain, panic attacks, feelings of helplessness, and other similar physical and emotional distress caused as a result of the unfair debt collection can be awarded. Lawyers are trained to find areas where consumers have actual damages but do not know they are attributable to the unfair debt collection.

The same is true for punitive damages. Attorneys can often assert additional causes of action in your consumer complaint that raise the possibility of an award of punitive damages against the debt collection agency. Punitive damages are meant to punish the collection agency but are not available in all cases. You will need an attorney to know if they are available in your case. Punitive damages in FDCPA abuse cases can be extremely high in some cases too. In 2015 for example, one jury hit Portfolio Recovery with an $83 million award for harming a consumer. Another court in New Mexico hit The Law Offices of Farrell & Sandlin and Target National Bank with a verdict of $1.26 million for their abuse of a consumer. Obviously those amounts are not typical by any means, but damages in FDCPA lawsuits are frequently higher than the small claims court maximum award amounts.

Settlements in Debt Collection Lawsuits

Most FDCPA cases handled by attorneys settle for more than the statutory maximum amount available in Utah small claims courts. The reason is that experienced attorneys who know the tricks, traps, and value of FDCPA cases. It is highly unlikely that you could get as much on your own as you could hiring an experienced credit attorney.

Discovery in Small Claims Court Debt Collection Lawsuits

Discovery is the process of obtaining information from the opposing side of the case prior to trial so you know what they will rely on to prove their case. In Utah small claims courts some limited exchange of discovery is encouraged but is not mandatory. In other words, it won’t happen in most cases. That can be devastating to your case because most debt collectors will argue that even though they violated the FDCPA and harmed you in their conduct, it doesn’t matter because they only did so as a result of a bona fide error.

The bona fide error defense is commonly used by debt collectors but usually fails when consumers hired experienced attorneys who can conduct discovery properly. Discovery in debt collection lawsuits is a complicated process and it takes time but is almost always better than going to small claims court without knowing anything the debt collector will present to prove their case. The bona fide error defense is, like the debt collectors themselves, a snake in the grass hiding and waiting to attack when the consumer is at his weakest moment.

Time Required to Litigate Small Claim Debt Collection Lawsuits

I don’t mean to discourage you with this discussion. If you plan to sue a debt collector and you want to handle it on your own then by all means consider filing in small claims court. Your case will almost certainly be resolved faster in small claims court even if your award or settlement is lower. Small claims cases usually take only four to six months to resolve but many federal FDCPA cases take longer. It is not unusual for an FDCPA case to take two years or more to fully litigate. The reason is defense attorneys. They are often very stubborn and want to push you to see how far you are willing to take your case regardless of how much more it costs their client to delay. They are usually paid hourly after all.

The good news is that the longer your FDCPA litigation takes the more it should be worth if you have an attorney. Your case value probably won’t increase if you are unrepresented though. The reason for the increase in represented cases is that attorney’s fees increase as time goes by. Trust me, your attorney is working hard in the background even if it feels like nothing is happening.


You really ought to sue in federal court for most FDCPA lawsuits. You will need an attorney in federal court and you will get higher awards for damages as a result. Your attorney will also take the brunt of the stress of litigation. Lawsuits are stressful and virtually guaranteed to result in a few sleepless nights. Let your attorney lay awake planning and strategizing the case. He will and you shouldn’t.

There are also procedural reasons to file your debt collection lawsuit in federal court but that discussion is best held for another day. For now, trust me. Hire a consumer protection attorney with experience in FDCPA litigation and be patient if you want to get a reasonable settlement or award.

Complaints and Reviews about Mortgage Investors Corporation

Online complaints and reviews about Mortgage Investors Corporation (MIC) are not looking very good for the well-known mortgage company. Indeed, a lot of consumers feel abused by Mortgage Investors’ heavy-handed sales tactics. Other websites including reviews on the the BBB confirm consumers seemingly widespread attitude about MIC.

Mortgage Investors Do Not Call Registry Complaints

One primary complaint is that Mortgage Investors (also known as MIC) is calling and harassing consumers listed on the do-not-call list. Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) many of these calls are illegal. Not all the calls are unlawful, however. Telemarketers like MIC can call a consumer listed on the do not call registry if it has a recent business relationship with the consumer or the consumer authorizes the call. Unfortunately, however, according to many of the complaints online, MIC is calling without a relationship or authorization.

Mortgage Investors Do Not Call Request Complaints

Another reason for the complaints about Mortgage Investors is that it continues calling consumers after the consumer explicitly requests it to stop. Once a reasonable time from the request has passed, any further calls are also unlawful under the TCPA. This is true even if the consumer is not listed in the do not call registry.

Complaints about Mortgage Investors Sales Tactics

Mortgage Investors is also getting a lot of complaints about being abusive during its in-person meetings with consumers. According to the complaints, salesman are often rude and condescending to anyone showing even a little resistance to the sales pitch. A couple of consumers also complained about dishonesty regarding the terms of the mortgage issued and the tactics MIC used to sell it.

Sue Mortgage Investors Corporation

The good news is that if you haven’t already taken out a mortgage with Mortgage Investors then you don’t have to be at its’ mercy. You can fight back and even make them stop calling. Here’s how:

First, put your name on the federal do not call registry. It takes time for your request to take effect so your next step is to tell Mortgage Investors to stop calling you. Request its internal do not call policy also. MIC has to honor your requests. If it doesn’t, start tracking the calls. Take notes on the date, time, number called from, name of the person calling, and any other details of the call that you can. Take pictures of the caller ID to support your claims. You should also obtain copies of your telephone records to prove each call occurred.

Once you have gathered your notes, pictures of the caller ID, and telephone records make an appointment with a consumer protection attorney. Even if you don’t hire him, his insight and evaluation of your case will be helpful. You should then either hire an attorney to represent you or you can file your own lawsuit in small claims court. If you have proof of more than 20 calls after you requested any telemarketer to stop contacting you please call an attorney. If not, you will be potentially losing thousands of dollars in damages.


Stopping MIC or any other telemarketer from calling you is easy. Tell it to stop calling, put your number on the do not call registry, and sue if necessary. If you need help, call me at 801-297-2494 today. I am an experienced consumer protection attorney with experience suing abusive telemarketers and can evaluate your case for free.

Credit Repair Scam – Fight Back

Are you a victim of a credit repair scam? Credit repair scams are rampant in the consumer credit industry. Even though credit repair companies are governed by both federal and state law, these companies often disregard their legal obligations. The main statute that governs credit repair companies is the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Also known as CROA, the Act prohibits credit repair companies from making false promises, requiring consumers to pay before work is fully performed, or helping consumers create false identities to repair their credit. Many state laws work with CROA to provide consumers with additional protection. Nonetheless, even with these consumer credit laws many credit repair companies continue scamming consumers.

If you are a victim of a credit repair scam here are some tips you can follow to get your fees refunded:

Keep All Documentation

First, keep everything you have pertaining to your credit repair service. Gather proof of your payments, credit reports, letters, notes, phone calls, text messages, and all other documentation you have regarding your case. Without documentation you will have a difficult time showing the credit repair organization scammed you. Even with documentation it may not be as easy as you think.

Request a Refund

Your next step is to request a refund. Many credit repair companies will freely give a refund to prevent you from taking any further action. If it refuses your first request keep trying. Once you escalate your refund request to a supervisor you stand a good chance of getting a refund. Be persistent and be polite.

BBB Complaints

One way to put pressure on the credit repair company to issue a refund is to file a BBB complaint. This non-governmental agency cannot file a lawsuit for the credit repair scam but filing the BBB complaint may get you a refund. Oddly enough, they actually have a better chance of getting you a refund than complaining to any government agency. It’s about pressure. The BBB puts public pressure on companies which often helps resolve consumer complaints effectively. Filing the BBB complaint also puts other consumers on notice that the company is perpetrating a credit repair scam.

Sue the Credit Repair Company

If the credit repair company continues to refuse to issue a refund you may choose to file a lawsuit against the credit repair company. You can do this on your own in small claims court or you can hire a consumer protection attorney to assist you. If you hire an attorney he will help you develop your claims and most will take your case on a contingency basis so you don’t pay them unless you win. If you go to small claims court on your own you should still consult a consumer rights lawyer who can evaluate your claims and look for possible defenses, tricks, and traps.

FTC Complaints

Another step you can take is to file a complaint with the FTC. The FTC will not take your case or file a lawsuit on your behalf but it is helpful to other consumers if they can track the companies committing credit repair scams. Do not expect them to help you individually. They won’t.

Attorney General Complaints

Filing a complaint with your local attorney general is also useful to other consumers. Unfortunately, however, like the FTC complaint, an attorney general complaint won’t get you individual assistance. The attorney general will not file a lawsuit on your behalf and, in most cases, won’t get you a refund. If you take this step file the complaint with your local attorney general no matter where the credit repair company is located.


If you are a victim of a credit repair scam, take action. Gather your evidence, file your complaints, and pursue a lawsuit if needed. Don’t let a rogue credit repair organization rip you off and get away with it. If you need assistance contact a consumer protection attorney who can help you.

Who Scammed You?

Today’s world is full of scams, rip offs, and cons. If you are a victim of a company who scammed you, you know exactly what I mean. Most companies who scam consumers target venerable consumers such as those who are elderly, uneducated, unemployed, disabled, or do not speak English as their primary language. Not all scams target these groups however. Some cons target affluent and educated consumers as their main victims. Some scammers saturate the market to pull in anyone they can regardless of education or income. Anyone hear from a Nigerian Prince lately? If a company scammed you the only thing that matters is how to handle it and how to get back the money you lost.

The worst approach in my professional opinion is to let it go. This is actually a very easy approach to take though it is not the approach I would recommend because you allow the company who ripped you off to keep your money. Why would you do that? I have had clients go against my advice and lose thousands of dollars as a result and I just can’t understand why. Don’t let it go. Don’t let a thief keep your hard-earned money.

Sue the Company Who Scammed You

The best way to handle a company who scammed you is to simply sue. Yes, it sounds harsh at first but suing a company who scammed you is far more effective than the alternatives. For example, you could simply ask the company who scammed you to give you a refund and you should to bolster your lawsuit. The problem with that approach is that when a company rips you off it has no intention of ever refunding your money. That’s the whole point of scamming you. Asking the company who ripped you off for a refund is likely to lead nowhere though it does strengthen your case when you sue the company who scammed you.

Suing the company who ripped you off also has the added benefit of helping other consumers. When a company is held accountable for its actions by a consumer watchdog it is less likely to scam other consumers. Yes, in some cases it actually regrets scamming consumers but in most cases simply wants to keep the public unaware of its scams. Filing a lawsuit makes the matter public and therefore sheds light on a scam company that would rather stay in the shadows.

File an FTC Complaint or Attorney General Complaint

Another approach is to file an FTC complaint or attorney general complaint. My advice is don’t bother. Both are a waste of time. FTC complaints are gathered and usually lead nowhere unless the company who scammed you has thousands of complaints. If the FTC gets enough complaints they may investigate and even fine the company but even then you won’t normally see a dime. An attorney general complaint is a little better but similar in outcome. The attorney general will gather the complaint and typically only investigate when it gets multiple complaints. Again, you don’t normally get a dime.


If you really want your money back you probably have to sue. Don’t waste time with FTC complaints or attorney general complaints. Ask for a refund but realize that the company who scammed you won’t give your money back. You ask only to strengthen your case and to give legitimate companies a way to resolve the problem without a lawsuit. Don’t be afraid to assert your rights in court but more importantly don’t let a company who scammed you get away with it.

Super Dell Kicked a Bird?

Super Dell, a local celebutard here in Utah is lighting up the news again. This time with video footage of him possibly kicking a bird in flight. The video may be fake so don’t come crying to me if you Super Dell haters don’t get to hang him on this one.

For the record I am not a Super Dell hater but I am concerned about his levels of maturity and intelligence. The simple fact is that most people don’t kick birds. Get with the plan Super Dell; don’t kick birds.

More importantly, however, is that I want this guy for a client. Super Dell seems to get in trouble with the law in fairly regular intervals but for decidedly irregular reasons. Interesting clients with interesting legal claims makes my law practice more interesting.

The most interesting aspect of this particular case, for example, is the footage itself. Legally it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to authenticate. To even admit the video in court the prosecuting agency would have to prove that the video is what it purports to be.

First the prosecuting agency would have to prove that the person in the video is actually Super Dell. That is going to be very difficult given that the videographer is also the perpetrator. In that case Super Dell himself would have to verify the date, time, and subject of the video. Hopefully, he isn’t going to say or do anything to authenticate this video.

Also critical to successfully prosecuting Super Dell for kicking the bird is proving that he actually kicked the bird. The video is unclear on this point. Yes, it appears that he kicked the bird but the lack of quality on the video makes it legally questionable.

The voice on the video also needs to be authenticated. Yes, it sounds like him but anyone can do a Super Dell impression. Just talk in your best whiny voice about how awesome you are and you are 90% there.

At this point the only real chance the authorities have of convicting Super Dell for kicking the bird is if the other pilot comes forward. If that pilot testifies that he was with Super Dell that day and that after the flight Super Dell bragged about kicking the bird, Super Dell’s goose is cooked. Pun intended. That witness could sink this case for Super Dell.

Unless that mystery witness testifies or Super Dell himself admits to kicking the bird I doubt very much that he will be prosecuted or convicted in any court of competent authority. As for the court of public opinion I think that conviction is already in.

Nonetheless, in the hopes of getting Super Dell to hire me I will offer him this advice for free. Please Super Dell, keep your mouth shut. Don’t talk to anyone about the video and stop kicking birds.

Call me.

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