Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
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Since the dealer is clearly not responding to your demands for payment, you'll need to file suit against the dealer. Filing the suit will give you the collection options and leverage you need to collect the debt owed you. That's because once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the dealer doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the dealer for a debtor examination. That forces the to meet you in court again and answer questions under oath about the dealer's assets. After that information is obtained, you have the power to attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any real property the dealer owns to satisfy the judgment. In my experience, simply filing the suit is typically all you need to do to resolve this outside of court because most of the time, once served with a summons the dealer is being sued, your dealer will want to pay the debt rather than spend time and money defending a suit that is a sure loser.
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You have a couple of options. One, if the dealer is doing business in Florida, then you can file the suit in Florida alleging that the dealer has sufficient contacts in Florida that justifies the suit being filed in Florida. If you file it in Florida, it will then be up to the dealer to contest the Florida jurisdiction. Two, if the dealer successfully contests the Florida jurisdiction, you don't have to actually go to Chicago to file the suit. You can file it by mail or have someone file it for you remotely. Then, you would only have to go to Chicago is it goes to a hearing; but, as I mentioned, in my experience, the dealer will pay this once the dealer is served rather than fighting a suit the dealer can't win.