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LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Research Attorney; Private Practice; Attorney Mentor; Mediator
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Hi there, I bought something from a website about 8 months

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Hi there,

I bought something from a website about 8 months ago. In June, the product was not working as they described. So they promised to refund me the total amount of 8.5k. They said it would be between 1-2 months because their payment processor is over seas and they are slower at reversals and such. Now comes September and I emailed them several times with them saying its coming and they cannot find out why the bank is taking so long. Basically, I think they are playing games with me. Is there any way I can scare them with Legal papers or something giving them an ultimatum. I am very frustrated and need the money ASAP.

Thanks

LegalGems :

Hi! LegalGems here. I have extensive consumer law experience and will use this to assist you with your issue today. How can I help you? I am sorry to hear of this. Since you mention you are in California, this would be within the jurisdiction of small claims court (the amount for small claims is $10,ooo). You can send a demand letter, detailing the situation, and advise that you will be filing suit if they fail to refund your money. Any email documentation or other documentation you have re: the refund should be attached to the demand letter. Some people also prefer to fill out the court paperwork, stating that the papers will be filed if no response is received in X days (generally 10 business days). Would you like me to get you a sample letter?

LegalGems :

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm - this is the information for small claims. I would agree with you in your assessment that they are playing games, because a company can instantly reverse charges.

LegalGems :

Here are the forms you will need if you decide to enclose them (that's strictly a personal choice - I think it shows serious intent to follow through): http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm In case I'm away from the computer when you reply, I am linking you to a sample complaint letter - you can use this and conform it to your specifications. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0296-sample-consumer-complaint-letter Should you have any further questions, please post them here and I will reply as soon as I see it. Thanks!

Customer:

Thanks for the information, but let me give you more information on it. It is a offshore gambling website. Basically, I told them to block me from blackjack tables because I had a problem, 3 times, they declined. Then I lost a large sum. I told them I was filing a report because legally they have to stop letting a player play if they admit to having a problem. So they said they would refund me all of my losses from the past 6 months. Since you know the situation now, what would you recommend?

LegalGems :

Oh I see, Good for you for getting a handle on this - I know it can be quite challenging. You mentioned it is offshore, so I'm not sure what regulations would apply. However, if they are in violation of the regulation you mentioned, you should bring this to their attention (via the letter) stating a claim for negligence - your damages being the money you lost due to them allowing you to participate in their operations despite them being on notice. If there is an organization that oversees (either voluntary or involuntary) they likely have a complaint process, and possibly a restitution plan, for issues such as this. However, since you have it in writing - their acknowledgment that they will refund the money, you should be able to pursue this. There are some US organizations that deal with internet issues. Let me get that information for you.

LegalGems :

If they acted fraudulently, the following organizations will investigate. : www.ic3.gov www.consumerfraudreporting.org www.usa.gov/citizens/Topics/internet-Fraud.shtml www.ftccomplaintassistance.gov The first one (ic3) gets involved when there is a crime so I am not sure if they will consider this a crime - there is conversion and fraud; but often times criminal agencies will advise the plaintiff to pursue it in civil court simply due to a lack of resources.

LegalGems :

Since they are offshore, it will be difficult to sue them. If they do business in the US (via internet) the courts would have jurisdiction over the subject matter, but it would be very difficult to properly serve them - unless they have a registered agent here in the US.

Customer:

Ok, So what would you recommend me doing to get my money back. I mean, what is the best way to scare them or to push them to a resolution for this. Is there a letter I can get a lawyer/attorney to write that would say something like, You had made a promise to this customer and have not filled that obligation. Something that will get them moving.

LegalGems :

Yes, that would be a demand letter. I linked you to a sample above, that is a model. But under the circumstances, I would think you'd be better off having it on an attorney letterhead. You can find an attorney - Unbundled Legal Services, Limited Scope Representation - that will write a demand letter (as opposed to requiring a retainer and taking you on as a full-fledged client). You mentioned you're in California. Just a second - I'll get you the link to the state bar website which has a referral program. You want a civil litigation attorney (same thing as consumer protection).

LegalGems :

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/LawyerReferralServicesLRS.aspx - I'm going to see if I can find any probono organization for gambler's that help with these problems. Just a moment please.

Customer:

Ok, Could you possibly help me right it out? I can send you all the emails and conversations we have had and you can write me the demand letter. When they send the money back I will pay you 800$. If you have time of course. I can imagine your busy.

LegalGems :

Actually, we aren't allowed to accept outside business from the customer's on the site -and I would not accept $800 as it should only cost around $150-200 :) But I am sure you can find an attorney that will write you a demand letter. I'm still looking into a pro bono option -so far no luck. Just another moment please.

LegalGems :

No luck in finding a pro bono organization dedicated to this. You may want to contact a gambler's anonymous and see if they have attorneys they recommend.

Customer:

That's why I like you. Your honest and knowledgeable. So there is no way I can send you these emails I have and you can email me back off the website?

LegalGems :

No; very sorry. It is truly against the T&C's of the site. But if you contact the state bar you should be able to find someone in your county.

Customer:

Ok

Customer:

I appreciate it

Customer:

Thanks

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