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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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For William B. Esq. Only Hi Bill, Thanks for sending me

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For William B. Esq. Only

Hi Bill,
Thanks for sending me the link about filing a small claim (no service an no-refund for driveway work). I tried to call that business yesterday and today, but can no longer reach them. I am afraid that the business may no longer be there or filed bankruptcy. If that's the case, I may not be able to collect the money. Do you have any suggestion for this situation?
Amy

William B. Esq. :

Hi Amy, Thank you for requesting me. I posted a response regarding following up on PACER (the Federal Bankruptcy website: http://www.pacer.gov/ ) to ensure (1) whether or not the business has actually filed bankruptcy; and (2) that your claim against them is listed (if it is not you need to ensure that you submit a claim - all creditors, listed or not must submit their claim to the Trustee, but you must be proactive if the debtor fails to list your claim).

William B. Esq. :

You also need to determine the type of business entity that you are dealing with (sole proprietorship, LLC, Corp) to find out what who is filing bankruptcy, and where your claim lies. If it is a sole proprietorship or a partnership you have more leverage as the business owners are personally liable for the debt.

Customer:

I am not sure yet. Just guessing what's going with that family bussiness.

William B. Esq. :

It is more of a business judgment call on your part in that case. It is very easy and inexpensive (I believe it is free to open a consumer PACER account), to check on bankruptcy status of both the individuals and the business (if it is a separate entity - LLC or Corp.). You can check on whether or not the business is incorporated or an LLC using the Maryland Secretary of State's Business Portal: http://www.secstates.com/MD_Maryland_Secretary_of_State_Corporation_Search/ and the decision as to whether or not to proceed with a small claims case to get a judgment is up to you (it takes about 2-3 months to get a default judgment in your favor assuming they do not contest the matter).

Customer:

In worst case scenario, I may not get any money back from them. Is it true?

William B. Esq. :

That is true, and it is a realistic possibility (I hate to be blunt, but I do not want to skirt the issue).

William B. Esq. :

(I say that with the understanding that their business is folding and you have reliable information that they already have, or are in the process of declaring bankruptcy).

Customer:

Thanks very much for your advice and opinion. This is the first time I have to face with a bad business. At least I know what to do in the future.

William B. Esq. :

You are very welcome. Thank you again for using our service, I truly appreciate it. I am sorry that you had such an unfortunate experience (perhaps you will be lucky in getting a return here). If you have any future questions please do not hesitate to let me know and I will be more than happy to follow up.

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