I was impressed by Ms. Gunderson's wish to help her readers and explain things to them correctly -- a difficult task when writing about the law in the few words allowed in a column. I wrote her a note thanking her for mentioning me, and added two suggestions: One, we didn't discuss the small claims court limit, so I didn't know she had found something with the old, lower limit of $7,500. The current limit for small claims court is $10,000. Second, I wish I had thought of NACA.net when we spoke and she asked me how consumers could find an attorney to help with a defective product or service. NACA -- National Association of Consumer Advocates -- attorneys are likely to be much more experienced in handling consumer problems, and NACA attorneys (like me) are all committed on the consumer side of things: to join NACA, you have to agree that you won't represent any business against a consumer.
"Never forget, the law is never settled until it is settled right, it is never right until it is just, and it is never just until it serves society to the fullest."
Note the attempts to make it seem to come from a government source
The folks who prey on the elderly -- the Elderscammers -- never tire of trying to make their scam letters appear to come from an official source (anything that will get you to open them). When you get mail in an envelope that looks like this, your best bet is probably to recycle it immediately without even opening it.
If you are really torqued about their deceptive technique and want to make it a bit more expensive for them, here's one thing you can do: Open the envelope, but only so that you can find out if there is a postage-prepaid "Business Reply Envelope" inside (there often are). If there is a BRE, take a dark marker and write "STOP SENDING ME JUNK" on the reply card, and draw a big X over the part where they want you to give them all your personal information. Then stuff everything they sent you into the BRE, seal it, and drop it in the mail. This has proven remarkably effective at getting them to stop sending me any such junk. Sadly, all my elderly neighbors and friends keep me well supplied in examples of this kind of scam. (This one was another come-on for funeral expenses insurance, the biggest ripoff this side of waterline insurance plans.)
John Gear Law Office -
LAWYERLY FINE PRINT:
John Gear Law Office LLC and Salem Consumer Law. John Gear Law Office is in Suite 208B of the Security Building in downtown Salem at 161 High St. SE, across from the Elsinore Theater, a half-block south of Marion County Courthouse, just south of State Street. There is abundant, free 3-hour on-street parking throughout downtown Salem, and three multi-story parking ramps that offer free customer parking in downtown Salem too.
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