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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13291
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney / Criminal Law Mentor
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Theft of services in FL. We are an advertising firm. We distributed

Customer Question

Theft of services in FL. We are an advertising firm. We distributed the materials, based on a verbal ok, and 9 years of doing business with this client. Now, payment refusal. Any recourse?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
Alex Esquire :

Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be glad to help you.

Alex Esquire :

So let me make sure I understand this correctly. Your company has been distributing advertising material for this client for 9 years, and he has paid his bills up to now. You do not have a written contract, and now all of a sudden not only he has cancelled your service but also refused to pay his current bill for what is outstanding?

Customer :

Thank you.

Alex Esquire :

so is this the case? Did I get the facts right?

Customer :

Correct. While calling me vile names in the process. He lacks communication. We were texting him distribution the whole time with no feedback, positive or negavitive.

Customer :

yes

Alex Esquire :

ok, well you can have a verbal agreement with this client, the problem is that this would not be classified as a theft of services and would not be generally a criminal matter, but rather a civil one.

Alex Esquire :

What is the amount that this client owes you?

Customer :

$951.

Alex Esquire :

Theft of services charge is more applicable where an immediate payment is expected and customer refuses to pay, such as restaurant or a taxi.

Customer :

We usually work on a prepay basis, but because of previous relationship, trust and good faith that he would pay was extended.

Customer :

What would it be classified under instead of theft of services?

Alex Esquire :

this would be a small claims court case

Alex Esquire :

Do you have any paper trail to show that you have done services for this client on continious basis?

Customer :

ok. under what statute?

Customer :

oh yeah

Alex Esquire :

There is no statute

Alex Esquire :

this is not a criminal matter

Customer :

ok. I understand. It does feel criminal when it helps desolve our business for non payment of services

Alex Esquire :

if your client gave you a check that would have came back insufficient that might make it criminal, but just because a client refuses to pay it is a collection/small claim court matter, I know this is not what you were hoping to hear bur the law is the law....

Customer :

ok. So refusal to pay your bills is legit. I understand.

Alex Esquire :

I understand and sympathize with you, many successful companies fall apart when an established client does not pay what is due and owed, unfortunatelly in a case like your it is not considered criminal

Alex Esquire :

no, I never said that

Customer :

I know. But it takes us down as a small business that employees.

Customer :

I'm not looking for criminal charges. At all.

Alex Esquire :

in our legal system actions and claims are classified as criminal and civil depending on the set of circumstances and what took place, as well as the intent.

Customer :

I'm looking to be paid for our services that benefited his company while jeopardising ours.

Customer :

ok. frustration reigns. I am familiar with our justice system.

Alex Esquire :

Now think about this, if every person who refuses or unable to pay a bill would be criminalized and put in jail we would run out of jail space in a day

Customer :

that along with the drug dealers, tax evaders, etc. thank you anyway. Can we talk about a mortgage issue?

Alex Esquire :

Well, generally in a situation like yours, one would send a demand letter for payment via certified mail return receipt requested and give this client 10-30 days to pay what is owed. If he still does not tender a payment, one would file a small court claim against him, it does not cost a lot to file, and if you prove your case and prevail you would also get the court fees and costs awarded to you.

Alex Esquire :

Unfortunately I am only allowed to answer to the main question and any related follow up questions, but if this is a brief question that does not require a long explanation I will try to help you.

Customer :

I appreciate that information. I suppose that would be our next recourse. \

Customer :

Property valued at $25K (condo). Initiall mortgage $75K. Refi at 96K. No hope.

Customer :

back to criminalized and put in jail, except running out of space for debit in a day

Alex Esquire :

ok, so you owe 96K on a property that is only worth 25k currently and struggling with your payments?

Customer :

yeah, struggling because there is no hope in the situation. It won't even regain it's initial value of $75K in my lifetime. Haven't lived in property for a couple years, mortgage prevents it from being an investment property, and even if it could be, it still wouldn't cover my expenses for the property.

Alex Esquire :

Well, you have options you can apply for a loan modification (if approved it would lower your interest rates and possibly extend the length of the mortgage, but not the principal amount). Also you can try to either short sell it (sell it for less than you owe to the bank) or offer the bank a deed in lieu (title to the property in exchange for a release from mortgage liability).

Customer :

I am all for deed in leiu or short sell. With our market, it will not sell soon. Deed in leiu.

Customer :

different between $25K and $96K leaves me responsible for a whole lot of nothing.

Customer :

Can I walk away and what are the repercussions?

Alex Esquire :

if you just walk away without doing anything the bank will foreclose and will obtain a deficiency judgment against you for the amount of the difference between what you condo sells for at the courthouse auction and what is owed plus interest, costs and legal fees.

Alex Esquire :

once they get the judgment they can go after your assets and the only way to stop them is to declare bankruptcy if you are insolvent and qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy

Customer :

I have no assets other than the porperty.

Customer :

Which is no longer an asset

Alex Esquire :

sounds like someone in your position would be able to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy that would discharge the deficiency judgment. But please keep in mind I am prohibited from giving a legal advice by JustAnswer.com and by various state laws, just legal information. You should always consult an experienced local attorney for a specific legal opinion pertaining to your personal situation.

Alex Esquire :

If I have answered your question please click on green accept button as this is the only way I get compensated for my time and effort. Bonus and positive feedback are always appreciated. Thank You.

Customer :

We are done, is that what you are saying?

Alex Esquire :

unless you have related follow up questions?

Customer :

I will click accept and give you kudos. I can't do bankruptcy.

Customer :

I have about $5k to my name. They want it all.

Alex Esquire :

who are referring to when you say "they"?

Customer :

The bank, courts, whatever. I have nothing other than the 96K on the condo. car is old and paid for. No retirement, savings, etc. I want out of the condo.

Customer :

without them taking my petince of cash

Alex Esquire :

well, there is really no way out of the condo without a deficiency judgment hanging over your head, unless the bank agrees to a short sale or deed in lieu. I deal with these type of cases on a daily basis here in south Florida

Alex Esquire :

well, it is a tough economy and a worst real estate crisis in a history of the US in my opinion

Alex Esquire :

And I know first hand that we here in Florida took one of the biggest hits

Customer :

what is the agreeement ratio? I am prepared to tell them my options. Deed in leiu or short sale. No reason for them to spend the expense of foreclosing against me because I am not (going) to fight it.

Customer :

Total paradigm shirft societaly.

Customer :

shift

Customer :

If we didn't spend the money, and giving the property to the bank, why are the banks so hell bent on holding us to something? Oh, money. I've paid less than $500 toward the pricinpal in 8 years. Yet they are holding me hostage for years of interest.

Alex Esquire :

there is really no statistics on this, each bank has its own criteria and make their decisions based on many factors, such as current market value of the property, your ability to pay the mortgage, their ability to go after you for deficiencies, etc... no set approval ration

Alex Esquire :

I do thinks that banks are more inclined to approve short sales than deeds in lieu

Alex Esquire :

I agree with you, banks should do more to help distressed home owners and they are only really looking out for their best interest

Customer :

caught up in the bubble, paper is still totally, and inappriopratly held without consideration. Two edged sword. Banks played, we pay.

Alex Esquire :

Also banks were irresponsible in making loans to people who should have never qualified

Alex Esquire :

Right, but this is really a discussion that we can continue for days...trust me I have represented the banks and now I am on the defense side and I do feel better about helping struggling folks than greedy banks...but there are some people who were not responsible and borrowed as long as banks were willing to loan without even thinking of paying the loans back, I do come across a few of those.

Customer :

Oh I qualified, as did every one else. And my best interest is to walk away. Based on conspiracy between loan makers, inspectors and appraisers.

Customer :

I've have always tried to be fiancially responsible, and have been, until the tables become totally uneven.

Customer :

How can I even begn to get my "invest" back going from $75K, not even the inflated price, what I bought it for, and $25K. It takes too long to recover that investment.

Alex Esquire :

Well I do wish you the best of luck and please do look into the options that I have mentioned to you.

Customer :

certainly. Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I do have a myriad of issues, including divorce issues, but I will let you go. Thank you very much for your time an advice. Best of luck to all.

Alex Esquire :

Thank you and I would suggest that you post any additional question in the proper caregories such as family, estate, etc...to make sure that they are answered by attorneys who specialize and are experts in those particular fields of law.

Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13291
Experience: Experienced Licensed Attorney / Criminal Law Mentor
Alex J. Esq. and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you

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