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Old 09-18-2007, 06:31 AM   #1
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Small Claims info anyone?

I am curious if anyone knows enough about small claims court and jurisdiction to answer a question for me.

I shipped my Caravanner to the port in New Jersey a few weeks ago, but the transport company delivered outside of operation hours for the exporter. The transporter left the trailer there in the parking lot where anything could have happened to it, or it could have been stolen.

I received a call from the export company manager the next day and was told that the transporter never called her that day until after they were closed, and that the dropping of the trailer in the parking lot was completely unacceptable. She told me she had called another transport company to come in, and move the trailer down to port where it was supposed to be delivered originally. This is going to create a new fee to be paid.

I hired the transporter through U-Ship, and paid a 10% up front deposit. I have been back and forth with this shipper several times, and he will not accept that he was wrong in what he did. He is telling me to send him $185.00 by the 21st or he is filing in small claims court.

He told me that the $185 would turn into thousands before he was done with me, and that he was a law enforcement officer in New York. This transportation was put together from Uship. An online service where transporters bid on shipments similar to on ebay.

My question is, that if I live in Missouri, he lives in New York, and the shipment occured completely in the state of New Jersey...which court has jurisdiction over it? Will I be mandated to dispute this be travelling to New York or New Jersey? I always though you had to file where the defendant resided. Many of you are thinking, $185.00...big deal, but add the fees from the other shipping company I will pay and my fees have doubled or more.

The transporter is not receptive to working it out, and said he will not take less money since he used his time and gas to move the trailer. Although I cannot dispute the fact he did move it from Point A to Point B, he didn't leave it with the recipient who would have directed him on where to put it, or even make contact with them.

Anyone know who would have jurisidiction in this case? If it was Missouri, could the transporter sue for his transportation to Missouri in addition to the $185.00 and court fees?

Thanks everyone.

Steve
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Old 09-18-2007, 06:57 AM   #2
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Although I can't answer your question I think I would bite the bullet and just pay the $185 rather than go through the headache and stress that this will all cause you.

At least you still have the stream and it didn't dissappear...we've read horror stories in here about them vanishing from parking lots.

I think the law enforcement officer thing is BS and he's just trying to bully you... interested to see how this turns out...good luck.
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:01 AM   #3
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Hi Steve,
I'm assuming that the buyer asked you to handle the transport to NJ for him. Don't know too much about the jurisdiction issue. My gut tells me you can file in either your home town or where the event took place (NY or NJ for the shipping co., Missouri or NJ for you. Looks like you paid him a large portion of the fee if the balance is only $185. I think that would weigh heavily in your favor in the magistrates findings especially if you had a corresponding invoice for $185 from the 2nd transport co. that "finished" the job for the first transporter. If you are found to be responsible for the debt, collection is always another issue. I believe the person who is awarded damages, then needs to file for a judgement against the other party to enforce it. Don't know if that judgement would be a "credit bureau" item or not and thereby affecting your credit. You may also be able to file your responses by mail and not attend the hearing saving considerable expense. If it gets to that point, see if you can get a statement by the exporting company that the transporter didn't follow routine procedures etc. If $185 is the total owed and disputed, I would be surprised if the transporter follows through on the claim - but who knows?? Good luck - sorry I'm not more help. Hopefully someone will give you(us) a better resonse.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldiermedic
I am curious if anyone knows enough about small claims court and jurisdiction to answer a question for me.
Anyone know who would have jurisidiction in this case?
Steve
Hi Steve,
Sorry you are going through this. If you file an online complaint with your attorney general's office the staff will direct you to the appropriate path, here's a link to the Missouri Attorney General:
Consumer Complaints

They should be able to tell you where to begin or who has jurisdiction, even if its something they can't handle themselves. Best of luck. We've had good luck in Michigan doing this, as we were advised of specific laws, as well as other places and people to contact when we needed help.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:20 AM   #5
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I just recieved this email from him.

Steve,
I have had my fair share of run ins with guys like you too ... and I know I have to file in missouri ... that is where I will call the your local police agency to file charges of theft of services too and i will push to fulleist extent of the law ... and i will see to if neccassary to have you arrested and believe me I know I can do that ....... and the thousands I am talking about isnt for my travel expenses to missouri it will be for the travel and expenses to pick up and deliver the trailer and my attorney fees for him to travel to missouri and for him to represent me as well .... which should be around 2500 for him alone not including his expenses..... so once again here we are ... i will not contact you any further from this point on ..... I will give you til friday the 21st to make good on this arrangement .... if I dont get my payment by then I will have no other choice but to press charges against you first thing monday morning ..... take care and I wish you luck

Frank

I cannot believe that any lawyer would travel to Missouri from New York to file a small claims court petition. I am also unsure if he can request a claim for all of the attorney expenses on something like this. I am really unsure how the local Police can arrest me when someone just calls them and inquires about it.

Any ideas anyone?

Steve
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:28 AM   #6
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Steve,

If you want to fight this moron, it might be in your best interests at this point to see a lawyer and find out exactly what your rights are and exactly what this creep can do.

That said, it will cost significantly more to go this route than the $185 that he seeks, but the decision is totally up to you which way to go.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:36 AM   #7
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I doubt if he is a cop. He is trying to threaten you with BS. This is a "Civil Matter". Here in America we don't lock people up for not paying bills. We sue. Now, I doubt that an attorney would consider traveling all that distance for $185.00. Instead they would turn it over to a collection company and that could prove to be worse.

Is it enough money to be worth going the way of the credit thing? I would have to think about that for a while.

You got some good advice in "Call your Attorney General's Office". I have done that in the past here in the land of the Mosquitos with good results.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:38 AM   #8
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As I understand Small Claims Court usually does not involve lawyers, and it is actually a pretty good way to drag him in front of a judge, state your case, and work things out.

That being said, if you signed a contract for him to deliver the trailer to a particular place and he did, then you should pay up, and take him to small claims to get back the extra fee from the second company who finished the job.

If he did not fulfill the original contract, then I would withhold the final payment and then take him to small claims court to drop the final amount and get the extra amount paid back.

I think he is bullying you by claiming it will cost you thousands, small claims isn't like that from what I understand. I think he is also bullying you by claiming he will have you arrested. I don't think the cops will touch it, they aren't into collections, but that's just my understanding around here. Might be different in other states.

This might be a good time to talk to a lawyer who knows his stuff to get the details worked out.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:46 AM   #9
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Here is what I would do, but I'll give you the "I'm not a lawyer...." stuff first.

Call his bluff.

First, no way will an attorney take this case unless he is really hurting for work. This usually means that he isn't very good. Second, this guy probably isn't going to risk paying a lawyer for a case that he will actually probably loose.

Second, document exactly what happened, all conversations, and everbody involved. Send this to him in a well written official document with an undisbutable reason for your non-payment along with your willingness to go forward with a substaintial countersuit if he does not immediatley provide you with documentation of release of any liability to him.

This will cost you nothing but time and searching out on the net for a good letter to copy. (plus registered mail fees)

If that doesn't work. Go to a lawyer locally. I'm betting a quick letter (read cheap) on official letterhead will stop this numbnut in his tracks.

Been there, done that. Cost me lunch & the promise of future work!
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:47 AM   #10
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Bite the bullet

Those type of jerks are not worth the hastle. I am sure its a principle thing with you at this point. Legal Services at the Fort may be able to advise you and even send him an officious type response to his intimidating letter to you. This is a great place to advertise the shipping companys' name. I would never use them and pass the word to others as well.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:04 AM   #11
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But remember, we do not allow vendor disputes on the forum. So keep the specific name to yourself.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:13 AM   #12
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I did sue someone in small claims court one time and I had to file the charges in the county in which he lived. This was all in my state so I'm not sure how interstate actions are covered.
His letter sounds like a lot of bluster and BS to me but any action on his part may not be worth the $185 in your time or trouble. I hate to give in to stuff like this (I did go to small claims court) but sometimes it's better to cut your losses. FWIW, I had a slam dunk case in my suit but I had an cop that did not tell the truth, an unsympathic judge and I did not win. While all I was out was the filing fee, it really wasn't worth the hassle. Good luck!!
Slim

I forgot to add that the other guy had a lawyer and I represented myself. You've heard that the person who represents himself has a fool for a client. In my case, that may have been true.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:50 AM   #13
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A New York lawyer wont be worth a lot in Missouri if he is not credentialed to practice law in that state – which is not likey…

IMH (and non legal) O - he just demonstrated he is full of baloney, call his bluff.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:57 AM   #14
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Thisperson istrying to bully you into paying, but you have issues that need to be resolved first. If I were you I would file a dispute with U-Ship.

Quote:
To report a dispute if you are a Shipper:

1. From My uShip go to My Shipments.
2. Select 'Show Details' next to the title of your shipment you would like to cancel.
3. Select the button titled 'Report a Problem”.
4. Follow the instructions to report a dispute.

At that point I would notify the "Service Provider" that you have filed a dispute with U-Ship and that you will be waiting for their decision on the dispute. This should protect you from any possible legal action since they are the agency involved. If U-Ship says to pay, you are pretty stuck with that. You may want to mention to the "service provider" that you will be giving him a fair and acurate feedback based upon the job he did.
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:17 AM   #15
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Steve,

I have dealt with many small claims actions as a deputy sheriff in NY. My recommendation is to pay the guy. Do you have a contract? If so read the very fine print. He may be right. I would only pursue it through your the consumer affairs agency(local or state) that his company is located in. Also the local district attorney and state attorney general. The fact that he threatened you via the internet with monetary harm may constitute a crime. Maybe federal or state. I am not certain.
You need to find out his company's corporate name, not his doing business name. You can't go after Joe Blow's Towing if that is a dba. You need to check with the state government's Dept of State. Here is NYS' site for corporate entities:
NYS Department of State Corporation and Business Entity Database
Under Search Criteria, Name Type use; ALL. For Search Type use; CONTAINS.
New Jersey should have a similar site.
The more information that you can provide consumer affairs and DA's and state AG's the easier it is more them.
If I remember you are a SM. See your JAG and give him a sit rep. Maybe a federal crime was committed if not it maybe harrassment on the local level. the JAG should be able to give you some COA's. Also, as an active duty serivce member your are almost immune from such judgements.
When I was deployed to Bosnia 97-98, there was a female SM at Cmp Dobal that was being blackmailed by her boy friend near Ft Drum, NY. I found the exact NYS charge and the number for the county Sheriff. I gave the JAG the info. Just as I was leaving the JAG's office it dawned on the blackmailer sent the SM his demands via the USPS, BING BING. Now it was federal. The blackmailer was arrested a couple of days later and charged with by NYS and later by feds.
Do all the research you can on this guy and his company before taking any action.
I do not like when someone takes advantage of service members.Let me know if you need a hand.

Mark
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:29 AM   #16
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hi steve

reading this again i've got another view slightly different from last evening.

1. there is a transporting invoice from transporter A that is partly unpaid?

2. you are withholding part of the payment to transporter A because another transport fee was generated,
BECAUSE transporter A left the trailer near, but NOT IN the exporters lot.?

3. the exporter had to pay transporter B 185$ for that 300 feet of towing?

4. you have a written contract with transporter A that includes the address for the delivery.
he claims the address he dropped at is correct, even if it really isn't the exact location and even if he delivered it after business hours?

5. the contract doesn't stipulate that the trailer is to be delivered during business hours and that someone needs to "sign" for it?

is this close to correct?

IF it is then pay the remaining fees to transporter A.

yes he screwed up and yes withholding the 185$ seems reasonable

but it will appear that you have left a bill for services unpaid.

so it looks like you are at fault on the surface.

also the 185$ may be what transporter B charged for the last 300 feet, but it isn't what transporter A's costs would have been.

once you have paid the bill in full, you do have the option of taking A to small claims for recovery of the additional transport fees.

but then you'd be the one chasing him, after fulfilling your obligations to the bill.

with legal issues, i'd rather chase than be chased.

i'll wager both transporters and the export company have this happen regularly.

no doubt the export company has had to do this many times with transporters who come in after hours and leave'em across the street.

cheers
2air'

this thread really should be in the 'global streamin' shipping import/export section.

it's an excellent example of yet another issue folks who do this need to be aware of,

and shouldn't be buried in 'off topic' clutter.
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:51 AM   #17
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did the contract specify delivery during normal business hours? it would depend if a parking lot is considered "delivery".

i might try sending him a check for 3/4 the amount. i think there is something about writing "payment in full" on it somewhere to prevent him from trying to collect the balance. you might just send him a dollar a month ;-) if you get sued you could always counter sue for the extra cost.

10 years ago i would have fought tooth and nail, today, i'm not so sure.

i'm just the and this is not legal advice. this story sounds like my life!
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:04 PM   #18
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Steve,

Small Claims Courts handle amounts up to about $5000. The rules normally allow individual to represent themselves. You can have a lawyer represent you if desired
The transporter can hire a NY attorney who would assemble the all the info and charges against you. Then he would check the bar association in your area and hire a local attorney. Even the big corporations do that.
There are people that are incarcerated for none payment of debts. Some examples are child support, and matriominal. If someone is ordered by a judge to pay and does not he can be held in contempt.
is this guy claiming he is a NYPD cop?

Mark
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halimer
Steve,

Small Claims Courts handle amounts up to about $5000. The rules normally allow individual to represent themselves. You can have a lawyer represent you if desired
The transporter can hire a NY attorney who would assemble the all the info and charges against you. Then he would check the bar association in your area and hire a local attorney. Even the big corporations do that.
There are people that are incarcerated for none payment of debts. Some examples are child support, and matriominal. If someone is ordered by a judge to pay and does not he can be held in contempt.
is this guy claiming he is a NYPD cop?

Mark
Good info all around. yes Mark, this guy is saying he is law enforcement in New York, but did not specify what law enforcement, or where in NY. Only that he has friends that can help him get me arrested (BS). I do feel that his email is threatening in nature, and not standard for business practice. If there is anything that you can find for me about harassment I would appreciate it. I agree that the trailer was moved, but I told him that he would arrive and receive instruction from the export company.

Richard, I filed a dispute with UShip and this is what they said.

Hi Steven (soldiermedic),

Thanks for the email. I’m sorry to hear that your shipment did not go as planned with your service provider. uShip is a neutral venue; we do not engage in dispute resolution or disbursement/collection of funds. If you feel that the shipment was not executed as agreed upon and wish to withhold compensation then you will need to express this directly to your service provider. Since uShip is a 3rd party venue we cannot place blame or award compensation, etc. It is completely up to you and the service provider to work out any issue regarding the transaction.

If you see that you need to take legal action to resolve the issue uShip can provide you with all contact information that the service provider has associated with their uShip account. Notify us via email if you would like this information. I hope this information helps and that the service provider is responsive and works to resolve the issue. Let me know how I can be of assistance.

Regards,

Heather


Seems like Uship won't do anything about it.

I heard back from the exporter and the charge to move the trailer the additional distance was $100.00. She is asking me to pay it, but will add it to the bill of the client if I do not pay it. I could pay the rest of the $185 I owe him, but then to get the $100 back I would have to travel to NY to file suit. Not worth my time. He is the one who was wrong.

When I spoke with this individual on the phone (Transporter). I told him that he had to contact the person signing for the trailer. I told him it was a business and that he should contact them immediately. This all happened because he did not communicate with the recipient.

Mulling options.

Steve
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:24 PM   #20
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I'd say that if all you have are verbal instructions, no written contract to show he did not fulfill his part, then pay him and write it off to experience. Without a contract in writing, there's not much to show a judge, and it will just be your word against his.
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