Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Can I sue in small claims court across the country?

For many disputes, small claims court seems to be the way to win a dispute. Whether the dispute is personal or business, you can get your case decided with legal authority.  But there are some drawbacks:

  1. You might win. But you might also lose. In a substantial number of cases, the judge "splits the baby," compromising both parties and leaving neither with satisfaction.
  2. Court fees and serving summons are going to cost you money, up to a few hundred dollars.
  3. Assuming you win, collecting the money could cost you even more, assuming the other party pays.
  4. If the guy you're suing is across the country, all bets are off. The person you sue has to be in the same jurisdiction as the small claims court. If he's not, you can't sue him.
That last one is the big small claims court killer. These days, with everyone doing business on the internet, there's a much better chance the person giving you trouble is out of state or across the country.  In that case, you have two choices left:

  1. Call a collection agency, wait a few months and maybe get 60% of whatever they collect.
  2. Use an online settlement service.
Online settlement services are relatively new, but solve a lot of the problems plaguing small claims court:

  1. Because they're not a court, they can settle any dollar dispute between any two parties anywhere in North America.
  2. They're as fast as e-mail. Totally online.
  3. They're way less expensive than small claims court and collection agencies.
  4. Because there are no lawyers or judges, the whole process is managed between the two of you without either of you having to contact the other.
  5. The is motivated to pay the plaintiff because he gets a small discount and he can pay be credit card (which small claims courts don't allow).
  6. Once the matter is settled, both parties download a legally binding Certificate of Final Resolution, enforceable throughout North America.
If you have business outside your city or county, you no longer are out of options. Try using an online settlement service to see how fast and effectively you can win and get on with your life.

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