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Steinlaw
Steinlaw, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 1811
Experience:  Consumer law attorney, author of California Debt Blog, Businessweek.com top foreclosure attorney
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We are a small business with limited funds and are involved

Customer Question

We are a small business with limited funds and are involved I a dispute with a service provider. We approved a Terms of Agreement and a charge to our credit card online with an electronic signature. The services were not provided as they were agreed. We have disputed the charge with our credit card company.

In their response to the credit card company to the dispute/charge back the company involved submitted an altered version of the Terms of Agreement that they claim we signed. I did save the Terms of Agreement that I copied into a word document, but I do not have an original copy, because it resided on the server of their shopping-cart/checkout. The Terms of Agreement are shown in a small box on their website and there is not a way to print them.

They have changed the Terms of Agreement they now show on their website to include this wording (likely because of our dispute with them). I am not sure of the technology involved with electronic signatures and if the agreement that corresponds to my electronic signature can be altered.

1. Is there any way we can prove that the Terms of Agreement corresponding to our electronic signature did not included this wording and that they submitted falsified information (by mail) to the credit card chargeback department?
2. Are there any recommendations about what action we can take to prove they falsified the original Terms of Agreement?
3. Does this alteration of the original agreement cause it to be void?
4. Did this company commit mail fraud or another criminal act?

I would be extremely grateful to anyone that can provide us any information about if the documentation that corresponds to my electronic signature can be altered. What they provide to the credit card dispute department

Thank you!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Expert:  Steinlaw replied 3 years ago.
What state is the other company in?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Jonathan,

We are located in Colorado and they are located in Minnesota. The Terms of Agreement state that disputs will be resolved in by arbitration in Mankato, Minnesota and in accordance with the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association.

We will likly win the credit card chargeback for now and later might have to go to arbitration.

Thank you,
Lyle Sheftel
Expert:  Steinlaw replied 3 years ago.
How much money is in dispute?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
$4,000.00
Expert:  Steinlaw replied 3 years ago.
I am sorry you are going through this.

The problem, quite franlky, is the cost. An arbitration with AAA is going to cost you more than you are disputing once you hire an attorney. The fees to AAA alone are probably going to cost you $1,500. Then add in an attorney and you are over the amount in dispute. I would fight it with your credit card company and if you win, great. If they then demand arbitration you can at least use the credit card company decision in your favor. If you lose, then I would let it go. Its just not going to be cost effective for you.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I agree. Are you able to answer any of the questions below?


1. Is there any way we can prove that the Terms of Agreement corresponding to our electronic signature did not included this wording and that they submitted falsified information (by mail) to the credit card chargeback department? 2. Are there any recommendations about what action we can take to prove they falsified the original Terms of Agreement? 3. Does this alteration of the original agreement cause it to be void? 4. Did this company commit mail fraud or another criminal act?

Thanks,
L. D.
Expert:  Steinlaw replied 3 years ago.
1. You can hire a computer forensic consultant to pull the meta-data off of their server and verify this. It will cost you a few thousand dollars but can be done in discovery.
2. See #1. You would need this information to prove they falsified it.
3. Yes.
4. Probably not. But it is an unfair business practce.
Steinlaw, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 1811
Experience: Consumer law attorney, author of California Debt Blog, Businessweek.com top foreclosure attorney
Steinlaw and 11 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
thank you

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