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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot x-termin8or's Avatar
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    Need Legal Advice - Someone scams me, then threatens to sue me!

    Let me explain an overview of what happened...

    Basically i buy some leads from a company for around 50 in December 2008 via Google Checkout but don't receive anything. After e-mailing the company, the company says they will give me a full refund. But i still don't receive anything.

    So i e-mail them and phone them but they never respond to any e-mails or phone calls. So then on 4th march 2009 i post this.

    And now today the guy finally gets back to me claiming he already sent me a refund and his now suing me for 5K for damaging his companies name! But i have checked all my accounts and Google checkout account and he for a fact did not send me any refund whatsoever and i'm even more annoyed now that he not only scammed me but now his saying he is going to sue me!

    Please give me advice and let me know if someone can sue me for making that thread and what you think i should do next...

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
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    The best advice I can give you is to get a lawyer on your side right away. The earlier you have legal representation the easier it will be to scare this guy away.

    I don't know what it's like in the UK but in the USA if he sues you and loses you can sue him for your legal fees. Then again, we'll sue just about anyone for anything.

    Sorry to hear this happened to you. Good luck!
    TAKE A WALK OUTSIDE YOUR MIND.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    As explained in this sticky this forum is not a substitute for legal advice nor is the advice here anything you should act on as it is merely educational discussion and individual opinion.

    What you're describing could be nothing more than an idle threat, hot air or an attempt to scare you away from pursuing your refund, or it could be the first step in a legal action. You may want to wait for an actual notice to show up indicating you've been sued or you may want to assume you're being sued -- many people threaten, far fewer actual do anything. It's hard to respond without a complaint or notice as you don't know the exact grounds being claimed but a lawyer may still be able to help you at this point should you wish to engage one.

    If you do receive a notice you'll likely want to contact an attorney for advice immediately.

    If you have not been refunded and still feel you should be you can pursue that through your payment provider or potentially the courts.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy Slackr's Avatar
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    Did you follow up with the chargeback scenario from your creditcard company as suggested?

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot x-termin8or's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slackr View Post
    Did you follow up with the chargeback scenario from your creditcard company as suggested?
    No, that was my next step. I was going to do that this monday, but then got an e-mail from him saying his going to sue me.

    Now i'm not sure if i should still go with the chargeback until this issue gets sorted out.

    @ Ted S: Thanks, ill be speaking with a lawyer tomorrow and then see what options i have. Either way i definitely want to get my money back (even if its just 50... its the principle that counts).
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy Slackr's Avatar
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    OPINION only (I am no lawyer)

    Honestly I doubt whoever sent you the email has any legal basis to be trying to sue you for a forum post outlining their failure to either provide goods you paid for or give you the refund they said they would. Your original forum post would not have been written (and it really isn't that defamatory) had they sorted out your problem. If you can document your attempts to contact them and the fact that no money has been refunded they will shoot themselves in the foot if they attempt any sort of legal avenue.

    My guess is they are just trying to shoo you away with scary legal speak. An email with scary legal threats is free, lawyers aren't. For the sake of the amount of money involved they would be better giving you a refund than even picking up the phone for a lawyer.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard LiquidReflex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x-termin8or View Post
    No, that was my next step. I was going to do that this monday, but then got an e-mail from him saying his going to sue me.

    Now i'm not sure if i should still go with the chargeback until this issue gets sorted out.
    I would not wait until the lawsuit issue is resolved, because it may never even happen. Even if it does, it will be a while. You agreed on a purchase, they agreed that they did not provide the product and thus you are entitled to a refund. If they are not responding with it, then file the chargeback. No matter what happens with the lawsuit, the chargeback will just be another item to bring up in court.

    Best to look out for yourself first and get your money back. If they really want to take you to court, wait for official papers from a legal entity before giving it any merit. Everyone can threaten they'll take you to court and try to scare you into doing something they want.

    Of course, IANAL, so it may be good to talk to a lawyer just in case.
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist Unit7285's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x-termin8or View Post
    So i e-mail them and phone them but they never respond to any e-mails or phone calls. So then on 4th march 2009 i post this.
    Where did you get the company information shown in your DP post? There is no limited company of that (exact) name on the official Companies House register (www.companieshouse.co.uk). Also, there is no St James Street at that postcode, or anywhere near it.

    So that data appears to be inaccurate, for whatever reason.

    (I've turned into a StreetView addict since it arrived in the UK the other day, and just couldn't resist looking )


    Paul

  9. #9
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    That post of yours is almost entirely a factual account of your situation, and the truth is always a defense against a libel claim. Libel only exists when it's both false and malicious. They've got no case.

    Plus, damages are calculated by the harm you've done, and are not arbitrarily picked out of the air by the plaintiff. They can't "sue you for 5k".

    It's an idle threat to keep you from scaring off customers with the story of how badly they handled you. If it were me, I would go through with the dispute process at Google Checkout. Only if Google won't rectify the situation would you do a chargeback, since you're charging back Google, not this company. You don't want to be on their bad side.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict CWebguy's Avatar
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    Someone can sue you for a stupid post on a forum? Does he not have better things to do with his life? So if I buy a product from Amazon, and I'm not happy, I can't post a negative review without worrying about getting sued. Sounds fishy.

    P.S. If I were a laywer I would pick up your case pro bono.

    Praying for you.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot x-termin8or's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for the advice and feedback everyone. It does look like a case of someone scamming me and then trying to make sure i don't post on forums, etc and exposing his company by threatening to sue me.

    Where did you get the company information shown in your DP post? There is no limited company of that (exact) name on the official Companies House register (www.companieshouse.co.uk). Also, there is no St James Street at that postcode, or anywhere near it.

    So that data appears to be inaccurate, for whatever reason.

    (I've turned into a StreetView addict since it arrived in the UK the other day, and just couldn't resist looking )
    Yep, your right. Since i live in London i was going to pop into his office to see him and then when i checked out the address in London it doesn't even look like its a real address.

    As for the company, apparantly the guy owns multiple websites or companies and they are all under the company name: T T N - L I M I T E D (with no spaces or dashes)... and a search for T T N - L I M I T E D will reveal the company is either the T R U S T E D - T R A D E S - A L L I A N C E or the T R U S T E D - T R A D E S - N E T W O R K (obviously with no spaces... i added the spaces so there's a less chance of the guy reading this post and finding it on Google).

    To be honest i doubt he will actually take me to court. If he does though I'm ready. I have proof that he did not refund me and therefore what i said in that forum is accurate and can not be libel/slander.

    Someone can sue you for a stupid post on a forum? Does he not have better things to do with his life? So if I buy a product from Amazon, and I'm not happy, I can't post a negative review without worrying about getting sued.
    Exactly that's what i thought at first. I would like to tell everyone, everywhere about him and all his companies/websites and to avoid them... but i'm going to hopefully get this issue with him resolved first.

    Oh and finally encase anyone is interested, while doing some research on him and his "companies" i also found the guys facebook profile :

    http://www.02.01.snc1.facebook.com/p...lty/1017253790
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  12. #12
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    As Dan Grossman rightly pointed out, the truth is the ultimate defense for libel. It is my understanding that in Australia, the UK, and other common law countries, you can recover your legal expenses for vexatious litigation. That is of course if you prevail.

    There was some discussion in earlier posts about pretending an attorney. Personally, I wouldn't bother, if he were to file an action I would defend myself. I expect all you would need is a copy of the transaction where you paid him, and an unabridged paper trial of subsequent statements to demonstrate that a refund was not received.

    This thread included some side notes on the remedies for Internet libel. In the USA it is a hotly contested subject, and frankly very frustrating for victims. I have written an essay on the subject, I'm not an attorney, or First Amendment expert, but the essay is the result of considerable research.

    For those that are interested, you can read the essay here on my profile website, click the link at the top right hand corner "When free speech is costly"

  13. #13
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    If getting screwed on such a small bill gets your attention like that, how are you going to grow? Don't sweat the small stuff too much!

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist Fergal's Avatar
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    I agree with Sagewing. Personally I'd go through dispute resolution with Google, if you get your money back great, if not move on and forget about it.

    In the very unlikely event that they do bring a case against you, you might want to consider whether or not they can prove that you were the person who created the thread on DP.
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Zealot stikkybubble's Avatar
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    Go through the dispute resolution / chargeback asap.
    These sound like idle threats to me. There are plenty of sites devoted to outing online scammers, and many reputable companies allow negative comments about them to be left on their own sites (Amazon, Apple). Of course you can say whatever you like if it's true! Apparently a difference between UK and US is which side has the onus of proof, as far as I remember in the UK you have to prove what you said is true.
    Good luck!

  16. #16
    Headed Home! KM Richards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x-termin8or View Post
    Please give me advice...
    Yeah, next time pay using a credit card (not a debit card)
    and if they don't deliver, make your bank do a chargeback.

    This is your right under Visa / MasterCard rules that your
    bank has signed a contract to adhere to.

    And...why bother to publisize how you got took???
    How is THAT going to help your business???

  17. #17
    SitePoint Evangelist Fergal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KM Richards View Post
    Yeah, next time pay using a credit card (not a debit card)
    and if they don't deliver, make your bank do a chargeback...
    Is there any concern that Google Checkout or PayPal (if you were using them) might penalize your account in some way for doing that?
    Fergal Crawley (Previous Username: Proudirish.com)
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