Harleybeachbride
Master May 2017

Experience in small claims court?

Harleybeachbride, on September 3, 2017 at 5:43 PM

Posted in Etiquette and Advice 60

Since my wedding in May, I have been working through a very unpleasant experience with one of my wedding vendors. Some of you may recall my dissatisfaction with my wedding photographer (AKA: the CROC hunter) who I am now taking to small claims court because she didn't care to take any accountability...

Since my wedding in May, I have been working through a very unpleasant experience with one of my wedding vendors. Some of you may recall my dissatisfaction with my wedding photographer (AKA: the CROC hunter) who I am now taking to small claims court because she didn't care to take any accountability and was unprofessional when I approached her about it. My court date is in just a few weeks, and I wonder if any of you may have experience in small claims court (be it a wedding vendor or otherwise) or maybe you know someone who has been through it? If so, I would love to hear your experiences (good or bad) and/or any tips you may want to share? This was the last thing that I wanted to be dealing with and worse....to have associated with the best day of my life but on principal alone, I decided that I must see it through. Any advice or words of encouragement would be much appreciated! Smiley smile

60 Comments

  • Harleybeachbride
    Master May 2017
    Harleybeachbride ·
    • Flag

    @Sarah - I'm glad you settled out of court, i tried! I requested a partial and very fair refund via certified letter after she ignored my email. Gave a date i wanter it by....that's when she got her lawyer so now I'm requesting a full refund at the suggestion of a court clerk who I filed with since now I'm having to be bothered. I paid her in two checks. What do you think could happen if she had my bank info? To direct deposit my refund maybe? Lol

    • Reply
  • BohoRN2017
    Expert November 2017
    BohoRN2017 ·
    • Flag

    Good luck. I took a roofer (he was just an individual) to small claims court in NC. I won my case but was never paid. It would have cost me even more money to try and get my money. So it was a total bust for me. For myself unless I was dealing with a real company or dealing with a larger amount of money (my case was $500) I would just accept the lost.

    • Reply
  • Harleybeachbride
    Master May 2017
    Harleybeachbride ·
    • Flag

    @Boho-I hear ya. That's why I'm not hiring an attorney (I'm not going to waste the money) but if at a minimum, I get to say my peace and she has been inconvenienced having to confront me face to face.... that'll have to be good enough if I don't win monetarily. On principal alone I had to see it thru so maybe she'll think twice b4 doing the things she's did at my wedding or not take people's money if she's. incapable of producing the pictures she is hired to take.

    • Reply
  • Harleybeachbride
    Master May 2017
    Harleybeachbride ·
    • Flag

    @jojess- thank you! :+)

    • Reply
  • Harleybeachbride
    Master May 2017
    Harleybeachbride ·
    • Flag

    @mrs Potts - thanks so much. Yes, throughout the whole planning process I was super excited and my wedding was the best day of my life. I'll have great memories that she can't take away. Although I don't have any pics that I paid HER to take showing that gorgeous ocean from all angles....our guests took alot of great ones! I'll keep you posted and still plan on doing a proper BAM (as I was always so excited to do one after my wedding) but have held off due to this whole thing. It's the content of the pictures thatc really matter in the end, and that is my husband, family and friends and the rest won't matter once this is over and done!! :+)

    • Reply
  • Harleybeachbride
    Master May 2017
    Harleybeachbride ·
    • Flag

    @Melissa -

    that must have been so

    frustrating?! We're prepared that it could happen. It sucks because two of our main witnesses are not able to make it on that date, and the only way I can postpone is if they agree ( I'm not going to give them the pleasure of denying it) so I'm going with my husband and hoping pictures speak a thousand words as the saying goes.... because that is what this is all about, unless I get a blind magistrate I'm hoping they see what everyone who has seen the pics did....and that's a horrible final product that we paid money for.

    • Reply
  • Melissa
    Expert October 2018
    Melissa ·
    • Flag

    I work in the court system from civil to criminal. You must always be the calm pleasant one. Your attitude can throw your case. If they lie, address you rudely or otherwise try to get an rise DO NOT react! If you state figures or promises you better have the documentation to back it up. Be brief, accurate, and thorough enough to get in pertinent details, but not drawn out so that the judge misses something.

    • Reply
  • kahlcara
    Master August 2013
    kahlcara ·
    • Flag

    Having been to small claims in MA, I suggest having a clear and simple statement of what happened. Obviously, bring your evidence also, but the magistrate may ask you for a summary first and may want to have an idea of the scope of the case before getting into evidence. You also may want to reconsider talking to her attorney because it's possible that they are interested in a settlement. If you're interested, write him an email/call him. You can always end the discussion if it's unproductive.

    • Reply
  • Harleybeachbride
    Master May 2017
    Harleybeachbride ·
    • Flag

    @Kahlcara - in summary the pics weren't acceptable based on the ocean being the focus in pics as background. The rest (her attire, reeking of weed, and texting on my time) all happened but will be my word against hers. The lawyer requested i call but didn't mention to settle or reach a compromise as he said they are denying all in my claim so wasn't sure if my calling would be wise or productive? :/

    • Reply
  • kahlcara
    Master August 2013
    kahlcara ·
    • Flag

    @Harley, my thought is that you don't know what he's calling about if you don't call back. It's possible they would agree to a settlement but not admit liability--that's pretty common with settlements actually.

    I remember your issue with the pictures. Good luck!

    • Reply
  • SuperStuelke
    Super September 2017
    SuperStuelke ·
    • Flag

    Have all of your documentation ready. Basically have all your ducks in a row before you go into the court room. The judge does not want to have their time wasted. Be calm, be honest and factual in your responses.

    • Reply
  • Harleybeachbride
    Master May 2017
    Harleybeachbride ·
    • Flag

    @kahlcara-I suppose that's true. I guess I wanted to avoid confrontation or going back and forth with him about how she's not liable or responsible for any of it which based on what he said in his email will be exactly that. That will just annoy me but how will I know for sure unless i call. I suppose I could email him back and ask what he would like to discuss on the phone?

    • Reply
  • Harleybeachbride
    Master May 2017
    Harleybeachbride ·
    • Flag

    @Kate.... no parades here to rain on! LOL. I have not heard anything about a countersuit. I'm not worried about it I've not slandered or harassed her (voiced my opinion about a service I'm unhappy with yes) harassment and slander... nada! Guess I'll have to just wait and see.

    • Reply
  • Mrs. Sitz
    Master July 2016
    Mrs. Sitz ·
    • Flag

    Make sure that everything you say & write on any documents is completely accurate and can't be twisted to mean something you didn't intend it to mean. Also, if you have a hearing, be prepared with questions you'd like to ask the other side. Good luck!

    • Reply
  • Harleybeachbride
    Master May 2017
    Harleybeachbride ·
    • Flag

    @Mrs Sitz - good ideas thank you. :×)

    • Reply
  • Sarah
    VIP July 2018
    Sarah ·
    • Flag

    Keep us updated!

    • Reply
  • Red2018
    VIP August 2018
    Red2018 ·
    • Flag

    Good luck! No advice but I hope it goes well for you. Keep us posted!

    • Reply
  • AJ
    Expert July 2018
    AJ ·
    • Flag

    No advice other than agreeing with PPs that remaining calm and composed is important. Good luck OP!

    • Reply
  • Lauralou
    Devoted November 2017
    Lauralou ·
    • Flag

    I wish I could see the original thread but since it's hidden I can only speak on what you've written. I think you should make note on contract items to show what she was in breach of. If it states in your contract that she will dress professionally and she didn't, you've got her. Focus on showing the legality of why she owes you a refund.

    Just my two cents without a law degree.

    • Reply
  • kahlcara
    Master August 2013
    kahlcara ·
    • Flag

    I think emailing would be fine. Like I said, I think it's possible they'd rather settle than fight about it. I completely understand not wanting to get into it with her lawyer though.

    • Reply

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