WHAT’S THE LAW?
Get lawyer, if necessary, in fraud case
What can you do if you think that you have been taken advantage of, or maybe a victim of fraud, by a company that might not exist but has a Web site? This company, www.openboxretail.com, claims that it is registered in Nevada, but operates out of Alpharetta, Ga. I found this company on www.franchisegator.com and gave them $5,000 as a deposit for this company's services. The company advertises that it has supporting documents for the services they offer and that if you're not satisfied, upon cancellation it guarantees a refund, less expenses not to exceed $1,500.
When I asked for the supporting documents, they could not provide them; instead, the CEO, Jess Taylor, who met with us here in Honolulu, claims his company is suffering a financial burden and is filing for bankruptcy. Since the company has not returned my e-mails or calls, I have reported them to the Better Business Bureau, the FTC, consumer's protection, etc., but have not gotten any results.
My guess is I'm probably not the only one they've taken advantage of, and I don't think they are filing any kind of bankruptcy. I think this company is maybe just a big Internet scam. What are my options?
Answer: According to Ryker Wada, Legal Aid consumer attorney: If you have not already filed a complaint with the Hawaii State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Office of Consumer Protection, do so.
If you have already filed a complaint, continue to follow up with the Office of Consumer Protection. You should also check with the appropriate U.S. Bankruptcy Court to confirm that Jess Taylor or his company is filing, or has filed for bankruptcy. If either Taylor or his company has filed for bankruptcy, they might have listed you as a creditor -- and in that case you should be receiving notice by mail.
Additionally, you should contact an attorney immediately to determine whether you have any other personal legal course of action.
Legal Aid Society of Hawaii operates statewide. Practice areas include housing, public benefits, consumer and family law but not criminal law. For information, call 536-4302. Submit questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by U.S. mail to Legal Aid Q&A, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.