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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  I am a businesses law attorney, with experience advising and representing owners and investors.
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Can a person sue an internet company in which purchases were

Customer Question

Can a person sue an internet company in which purchases were made under duress, sort of.
I'm a 78 year old woman and I believe that I've been taken advantage of. People seem to be popping out of the woodwork and telling me that I paid for this or that and I'm wondering what the heck is going on.
Evidently, I've paid some of these people money from my credit cards and now I can't purchase things that I need because the credit cards seem to be maxed out.
What would you suggest that I do? I'm on Social Security and I just can't afford to spend any more money.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 12 months ago.

Dear Customer,

This is kind of billing dispute can be complicated (complaint over applicability of charges), however there are some steps that can help you go about clarifying your disputes (start getting everything in writing - start with a letter summarizing your conversations/texts/emails to date), then follow up with the following flow chart to help you resolve the matter. There is a series of escalating things you can do to deal with this situation.

These steps are all optional - you don't have to do every one (and if they don't apply to your situation you can disregard them), but I do hope that by giving you each of them in order it helps provide you with a framework to approach this matter in a logical manner, and hopefully bring about a resolution more rapidly.

  • *First: start with the company's customer service and dispute the claim. Keep your complaint in writing. If you speak to someone by phone, follow up promptly with a "confirmation letter" (see my note below).
  • *Second: (you can do this at the same time), if you paid by credit card (not debit card) you can open a dispute with your credit card carrier (follow the instructions with your credit card company). (Some banks do allow for charge disputes on your debit card - but not all, the laws are not the same and debit card purchases do not have the same protections, if you paid by debit card, contact your bank and see if they do have dispute resolution remedies).
  • *Third: open a dispute with the BBB. The BBB offers consumer dispute resolution that is fast, free to consumers, and is usually effective, they have no enforcement authority, but all BBB disputes result in a public report regarding resolution so businesses do respond to them. You can open a BBB dispute here: bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
  • *Fourth: if you believe that the company is acting fraudulently (not just charging high rates), you can report them to the state Attorney General. The AG's office does not prosecute individual claims (so they will not get your money back for you), but they will investigate and potentially take administrative and/or criminal action against the company.
  • *Finally: you can file a small claims action against them for breach of contract. Small claims actions take approximately 3-8 months to go to trial. There is no guarantee of success in these disputes, but filing a small claims action does open an opportunity to negotiate a resolution (in addition to the above opportunities and can lead to mediation - many courts offer mediation programs for their small claims docket).

Confirmation letters: Keep written records of all communications - so if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a follow up "confirmation letter" summarizing your conversation, who you spoke to, when, and any agreements you reached. Keep copies of your outgoing correspondence, as well as anything that you receive.

I wish you the best of luck with this dispute, and hopefully a speedy resolution.

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