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We became clients of a reputable adoption agency in 2011,

Customer Question
and applied to their Ethiopian...
We became clients of a reputable adoption agency in 2011, and applied to their Ethiopian adoption program. We signed the contracts, went through the home study, required training, and completed the dossier. Soon after those steps were completed, adoptions from Ethiopia slowed down and eventually came to a halt. In the meantime, we successfully adopted a child from a different country through the same agency. The agency has now informed us that they are closing down their Ethiopia adoption program, and we can pay to switch our contract to a different country, or choose to leave the program and receive a refund. We have over $15k into this failed adoption attempt. About $5k was for services that were completed - home study, immigration paperwork, etc. The rest ($10k) is listed on the contract as being for three categories: Pre-placement fees, Adoption Fees in the US, and Country Fees. The contract is short and vague only saying that you cannot receive a refund for services already rendered, and that 1/3 of the Adoption Fees in the US shall be refundable. The adoption agency has offered a refund of $1100 (1/3 of the Adoption Fees in the US). They say the rest is not refundable because it was already invested in the program for things such as rent, answering our questions, personnel costs, operation costs, administration costs. The contract that we signed does not state what each fee covers. It doesn't seem right, but I'm not sure how to respond to the agency. Is their refund offer appropriate?
Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Answered in 4 hours by:
3/19/2018
Consumer Protection Lawyer: WiseOwl58, Lawyer replied 4 months ago
WiseOwl58
WiseOwl58, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,561
Experience: Consumer Protection Expert and Advocate
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I recommend that you make a demand of $15,000 to be returned to you because the adoption agency did not come through. You can file a claim against them in small claims court and the burden of proof will be on the adoption agency to justify their fees, and the judge will decide. I believe that the judge will award you the maximum amount permissible in small claims court in your state because of the failure of the adoption agency to produce. You will end up doing much better than the $1,100 that has been offered as a refund. The fact that the agency is offering a refund can be used by you in court to show that the adoption agency is admitting liability , and you will get more money in small claims court.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I had considered small claims court, but I think the language in the contract may prevent me from winning. It says, "Because the availability of children is contingent upon International laws, there is no guarantee that a child will be placed with me. We have been informed of the risks and uncertainties of adoption. If for any reason beyond the control of the agency, a child will not be placed in our home after the completion of the home study, 1/3 of the charge "Adoption Fees in the U.S." will be refunded to us." Given this, would you still recommend small claims court?
Consumer Protection Lawyer: WiseOwl58, Lawyer replied 4 months ago

yes, you can argue the case and the judge has the discretion to award you up to $6,000 under Michigan law and it will only cost you the $65 filing fee. You really have nothing to lose and are likely to do better than the $1,100 they are offering you now.

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Consumer Protection Lawyer: WiseOwl58, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

Please rate five stars ***** by clicking on five stars ***** and press SEND.

A bonus is appreciated after you rate.

Good luck to you. I wish you all the best.

Ask Your Own Consumer Protection Law Question
Consumer Protection Lawyer: WiseOwl58, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

Please rate five stars ***** by clicking on five stars ***** and press SEND.

A bonus is appreciated after you rate.

Good luck to you. I wish you all the best.

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