Collecting A Judgment - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Collecting A Judgment

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Does someone owe you money and refuses to pay? It's pretty common and there is a simple way to get them to pay up. Get a court ordered judgment in small claims court, but what if they still refuse to pay? Here is a simple solution, call Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

WSVN -- Remember back in June when we had the downpours that flooded streets and stranded drivers James Mccrea certainly does.

James Mccrea: "It was a lot of rain, a lot of rain and I went through a water puddle and water got sucked in the engine."

The engine on James's 2008 Chevy Trail Blazer was ruined, so he called his insurance company.

James Mccrea: "The insurance company came out a week or two later. They checked it and told me to pull the motor out. They were going to put a new motor in it."

After the insurance company agreed to pay $6,500 dollars to buy and install a new engine, James had the SUV towed to a repair shop a friend recommended. They took the old engine out and it sat there and sat there.

James Mccrea: "He is holding my car there until you know I kept calling him calling him. Where is he suppose to order this motor from?"

The repair shop said the new Chevy engine was on back order and they couldn't get it for a couple of months. James then went back to the shop to get his SUV back...more bad news.

James Mccrea: "When I called him, he gave me a bill 'Oh I'm charging you $2,597 for storage.' I said 'For what? For if you don't got the motor and everything.'"

The shop owner told James if he didn't pay the $2,597, he would keep his SUV. James felt he had no choice.

James Mccrea: "I said 'Can I pay it with my credit card? No! Can I pay it on check?' He said 'No!' I had to go back and get the cash money."

James then had his SUV towed to another repair shop. Within a week, they had a new engine installed and his Chevy running but James was not through with the old repair shop.

James Mccrea: "I feel I've been ripped off because like I said, he should have never charged me storage fees."

When the shop owner wouldn't return the nearly $2,600, James took him to court. A judge agreed with James.

James Mccrea: "That she rewarded my money back, which was $2,597 and plus $300 court cost."

But the shop owner ignored the court ordered judgment.

James Mccrea: "I called him and he said 'I'm not paying you anything.'"

James has a judgment for nearly $3,000 against the shop owner, but no luck in collecting.

James Mccrea: "I want to know how do I collect this money and if I have to spend more money to collect this money?"

Well Howard, it's a judgment, but when the shop owner says, 'I am not paying it,' is the judgment worthless?

Howard Finkelstein: "In some cases it is, if they have no assets or no job, but this repair shop has been in business for at least 15 years, meaning they have a bank account. They have assests and James can garnish or seize them."

To avoid that trouble, we then stopped by to see the repair shop owner. He was not happy to see us and wasn't the politest fellow in the world. But no matter, a few days later, he did what we asked and gave James the $2,947 in the court ordered judgment.

Howard Finkelstein: "If someone won't pay the judgment against them, the sheriff can seize property equal to the value of what you are owed. But collecting a judgment can be complicated. That's why some people just sell the judgment or hire a lawyer to work on a contingency to collect it."

James Mccrea: "Yea, I'm very I called you. Thank you Help Me Howard."

James has his money from the repair shop. A repair shop he plans to leave in his rear view mirror.

James Mccrea: "I got my money back from him. He don't have to worry about me no more. I'm through with him, he is through with me, we can go our way now."

Patrick Fraser: "Everything worked out perfect for James. Now if you go to small claims court and get a judgment, ask the judge to force the debtor to fill out a form listing their assests or income. That will help you collect and if they lie, the judge could come down on them for that.

Flooded with problems and feeling broken down? Wanna crank up things? Contact us. We are a lawyer and a reporter. We don't pass judgment on anyone. We just pass on solutions. With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser.

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