The 0 down scam. Why there is no such thing as a free lunch or free civil legal representation.
Today's post is about the scam that is the 0 down or almost free legal service. As always, these post do not constitute legal advice, only legal information. My mission is to arm you with enough info to hopefully allow you to make better legal and financial choices for your future!
I'll be brief, I am sick of seeing these misleading marketing ploys that promise a 0 down payment for a variety of civil legal services.
Ok, well why would I care, I'm a lawyer....it must be ok to say and do if so many attorneys and law practices are making these promises RIGHT? Plus, to many low income individuals who need "free" or "no down payment" legal services, these promises are God sends. Why would anyone, whether an attorney or client see these types of advertisements as red flags? Or better, why should clients start looking at these types of situations with a side eye?
Well I will put it simply...from my experience, when anyone promises any type of civil proceeding for free....its is only to get the client in the door. Once in the door, the prospective client get bamboozled with tricky language, fast talk, paperwork, and a smile which ultimately results in a client signing a document that ultimately results in them paying at least 2-3x times more than they would at a small firm or with a solo attorney altogether. Typically, the client leaves the legal exchange a bit confused as to what has happened, and many are concerned about what they just did...however, the client leaves knowing that it is often to late to take a step back on what they have just done, and are aware the consequences can be dire....so they just spent an hour of their time to stick themselves into a hole....which results in a huge bill. However, at least they didn't pay anything down, so they figure there is no risks on their behalf...well at least not really...maybe?
Well here is the secret of what exactly has more than likely happen to a person who has found themselves in this situation. They completed their basic paperwork for the purposes of filing their case. Often times the firm will front that court fee...usually the fee costs anywhere from 100-400 dollars depending on the situation. Subsequently, this charge gets added to the overall charge amount of the case, which if isn't paid in FULL...your case in all likelihood will be dismissed. Unfortunately, the firm has to recoup and make that 0 down offer worth the risk of sustaining that 100-400 dollar charge, so they make the overall price of your case significantly higher on the backend...you see 0 down, but the firm realizes an exorbitant profits ranging into sometimes the hundreds of thousands all because you chose to forego the down payment.
Still confused...ok simply put....you are being charged over 100% interest on a basic legal service all because you made the firm carry the risk of you not paying the court filing fee for your case. You may get charged 600 dollars for failure to
Doesn't seem fair....well, life isn't fair...the law isn't really fair...business and money is never fair...and we live in a capitalist society. Think of it as gambling, sometimes you win big, but most of the time you lose...but when it comes to the law...a lot of places are banking on your ignorance to make a profit...and frankly it works...its sad, but it works.
I'm tired of seeing people lose...so tired of it. So please, do your research, seek an attorney who explain your fees in a simplistic way, who will send you the retainer to review so you can ask questions and make the best decision for you.
I hope this helps.