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I received a mail correspondence on May 27, 2010 from Pettinato & Associates, saying that they knew of unclaimed property that was owed me in the state of California. The reported an old address from California, and said they could claim the property for me at 10% of the value. I never provided Pettinato & Associates with any documentation or information, besides my signature that I was interested in attaining this money. I did not provide the documentation, because I thought that they might be a scammer or committing fraud for any money owing to me from the State of California.
In August 2010 the State of California State Controller John Chiang informed me that indeed I had shares from previous work due to me. So I proceeded with that information, assuming that I could get the money directly from the state.
On March 21, 2011, I received a notice from Pettinato & Associates, that since I had decided to not "work exculsivey" with their office, I "breached the terms of the agreement".
Now, even though, I have not being paid any money from the State of California for these shares, and did not provide further documentation for Pettinato & Associates, they submitted me a bill in the letter for a total of $237.50 which said it was due on receipt with a date of March 21, 2011 with a warning that "Past due balances 30 days or greater may be subject to late fees and finance charges.
Can you give me some advice on this matter, it seems to me to be a scam and is fraud.
Thanks for choosing JusAnswer®. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and assist you.
To provide you with accurate information, could you please clarify these points so I can best address your inquiry:
Please tell me more about this "signature" that you provided. On what document did you sign? Was it a contract?
Once I hear back from you, I will be glad to let you know my answer.
I have a scanned image of the original correspondence with my signature. I cannot attach it here as it is too big of a jpg.
I have just sent you a copy of the original correspondence by email.
I believe since I don't even know the status of the moneys from the State of California, and have not heard from them in quite a while, why should I pay this Pettinato & Associates any moneys related to this. I provided them with no documentation after the original correspondence.
Thank you for sending the Agreement through, it was definitely helpful. However, it leads me to a couple follow-up questions:
1. They have not done anything that I know of, they requested more information and I did not give it to them. I was worried about them possibly being an illegal scam.2. No contact besides the first mail asking for more information. This led me to believe that the matter was completed for them.3. I was contacted by the State of California, so I submitted a claim by going to www.sco.ca.gov/scocontactus/claimstat.aspx.4. The State of California approved of the claim, but said the funds will take perhaps a long time given the "tremendous volume of claims received, last year the Unclaimed Property Division received over 300,000 claims.5. I have not received any moneys for this claim, yet Pettinato & Associates want me to remit $237.52 immediately within 30 days or they it will be "subject to late fees and finance charges".I am concerned about what this firm may do to my credit rating, if they turn in any devisive information (or already have for all that I know). Therefore, this is the reason I contacted you. I have not received any moneys, yet this firm wants me to pay forward 237.52 which is %10 of the claim itself.
Unfortunately, by signing the Agreement, you entered into a valid contract with the company. As such, they certainly have a legitimate claim. I would suggest that you have a few options available to you:
You can do nothing. As the amount that they are seeking is rather minor, they may very well forgo taking any action against you, there is a compelling argument that the money isn't worth the effort for them.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can pay the requested amount. While I suspect the $237.50 has more meaning for you than for them, it still is not a lot of money. The easiest, and safest, thing to do would be just pay the money and put the matter behind you.
Or you can contact them and make an offer of settlement. You could call, or write, and let them know that you are willing to resolve the matter. However, you can certainly point out that they have done nothing for you and have not even contacted you in the year since you signed the Agreement. Then you could state that you are willing to pay something just to bring the matter to a close. While the amount would, of course, be up to you, a reasonable offer would be about 1/2 of what they are seeking.
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