Benjamin R. Greene & Associates charged me $385.00 for reviewing and correcting a court document that they filled out incorrectly to begin with.
I have made several attempts to resolve this with the office, but to no avail. I received a facsimile of prepared court order from Benjamin R. Greene & Associates on July 8th, 2014. I reviewed the document and saw that the telephone contact information did not include the days of the week I had requested be included before the order was prepared. I responded via email and requested that this error be fixed. Several weeks later, I received an invoice (#XXXX X-X-XX) for the total amount of $605.00. The final charge listed: "7/30/14 BRGreene: Case Management - Review Correspondence and Notes From Opposing Counsel, Letter to Client & Review File re: Status" for the amount of $385.00. I spoke with the office several times about this item and disputed the amount and validity of the charge. My argument was and is that this was a mistake on their part as further work from any parties would have been unnecessary had their office written the order correctly to begin with. This is a mistake on their part, not mine. I should not be forced to pay $385.00 for Benjamin R. Greene & Associates incompetency to write down correct information I had supplied them with in writing and in person(during the court date). Their office had also previously made mistakes on my written testimony with spelling errors and inaccurate information, which I brought to their attention; but again came to no resolution. The office has made no attempt to compromise or find a resolution to this problem and have only responded by saying the charges are correct and offering to substitute counsel to end my representation by their office. The court proceedings were finished as of 6/25/14 and I have yet to receive a copy of the judge's order or any help from Benjamin R. Greene & Associates. On September 3rd, 2014 I made a final attempt to resolve this matter with Benjamin R. Greene & Associates but received the same response. I elected to substitute my attorney and am now requesting I be mailed my ending retainer balance of $395.00 as well as a refund for the inaccurate and fabricated charge of $385.00 per invoice #1598.
I am requesting to be mailed my ending retainer balance of $395.00 as well as a refund for the inaccurate charge of $385.00 per invoice #1598.
Mr. ******* is unhappy with the outcome of his family law matter. Mr. ******* continues to insist there was a mistake in the order after hearing and was being charged for our office to fix that mistake. There is no mistake in the orders after hearing. When the client received his invoice in August for charges that were done on his case in July, he called the accounting department saying he had a charge on his account for the attorney sending him a letter and he never received a letter from Mr. ******. The accountant look into the file and seen a copy of the letter Mr. ****** sent to the client on July 31, 2014 explaining to him that THERE WAS NO MISTAKE on his court order. Mr. ******* told the accountant that he didn't want to be billed for a letter he never received. So, the accountant made a copy of the letter and resent it to the client. After a few weeks, the client called back upset because he said no one called him back regarding the charge he was disputing. The accountant explained to the client that she sent him another copy of the letter because he wanted to see want he was billed for. The client then said that he did not want to pay for this charge because our office made a mistake. Again, there was no mistake on the client's case. When we explained that to the client again and told him the charge was not going to be removed he then said he was dispute that charge with the BBB. We asked the client to sign a SUB of Attorney because he was no longer happy with office. Once we receive the signed SUB, the client will be receiving a check with the remaining available balance on his account.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
My sentiment towards the family law matter is completely irrelevant. Actually, if anything my feelings towards this subject matter have turned into something very positive. Due to this experience with family law and Benjamin R. Greene & Associates I have created and am actively working on a website for single fathers who have gone through similar situations. This is a place to share proud parenting moments, personal stories, get advice, and find support through a community of real fathers.
If we can talk about the issue at hand and stop trying to label this as "just an unhappy customer" I think we will be closer to a resolution.
The facts are;
1) Benjamin R. Greene & Associates DID make a mistake on the order because no where in the prepared order does it say the days I requested for telephone contact. I can provide a copy of the entire document upon request. On page 2 of the order under "13. Telephone Contact" the exact text reads: "Each Parent shall have reasonable telephone contact with the minor child while the child is with the other parent. This contact may also include other electronic means, such as text, email or Skype. The other parent may call twice a week, between the hours of 6:30AM to 7:30am or 6:30PM to *:30 PM." This is INCORRECT. I supplied Benjamin R. Greene & Associates with the information on the date of the trial when Mr. ****** took notes and I specifically asked for Wednesdays and Sundays as the days to be listed on the order. I also reiterated the information on my July 9th email to them specifically telling them :
I responded to your email and copied ***. Everything is fine except for the telephone contact. It was supposed to specify which days I could talk to him also. I had asked for Wednesday and Sunday. If you can make that change , the order looks good to me. "
The order was NOT prepared properly and without the actual days included it means nothing as far as a guarantee that I am able to talk to my son. I could call every day twice during the specified hours and his mother would not have to cooperate until the final two days of any given week.
2) All of my attempts to resolve this matter have been futile and their actions towards me have been inconsiderate, rude, and offensive. I have called and spoken with assistants, sent emails, left voicemails, and their office has been an absolute nightmare. When I called about an earlier invoice asking about some of the charges their response was so unprofessional I was shocked. I made no objections when the assistant told me there would be no further work on my behalf or no further information given to me about my case unless I paid another retainer. The office showed hostility towards me, treating me like a debt collector instead of their client. I find their lack of empathy upsetting, especially in their line of work. I paid the balance over the phone on the same day and sent a check for the additional retainer in the mail the following business day.
3) Benjamin R. Greene & Associates has not responded via BBB arbitration to the specific documents I have called out. They have not proven that the order was made "correctly" or that the final charge I previously stated is in fact correct on invoice (#XXXX X-X-XX).
For these reasons, I do not accept the response from Benjamin R. Greene & Associates. I will provide further details or proof if necessary.
Final Consumer Response
Thank you for looking into this. First, so you can understand the timeline. The hearing took place on June 25th 2014. A visitation schedule and other documents were not discussed by myself, my attorney, or any other person prior to this date. On the day of the trial the judge ordered both my attorney and the opposing counsel to the judge's chamber to discuss the case and the minors counselor's observations. When they returned, the judge ordered that both parties come to an agreement of a visitation schedule among other orders. Notes were taken by my attorney about opposing counsels recommendation of schedule. My attorney shared this information with me on a yellow legal pad upon which I specifically asked for telephone conversation be included in the agreement as well as the days and times for those phone-calls.
All that should have followed is my attorney sending me the prepared agreement as discussed, opposing counsel reviewing and signing, and the agreement given to the judge to make an order. I have attached a screenshot of the judges order which contains the incorrect information.
I am disputing the charge titled "7/30/14 BRGreene: Case Management - Review Correspondence and Notes From Opposing Counsel, Letter to Client & Review File re: Status" I have attached a copy for your records."
Evidence that I provided them with the correct information is by word of mouth on the day of the trial (I spoke to my lawyer and he took notes on a yellow legal pad), and in my email to their office, where I was required to review the document they had prepared before they sent to the opposing counsel and then to the judge to sign the order. They responded saying they would fix this error before being sent. I have attached a screenshot of the email exchange proving they had the correct information in writing (for the second time)
Please let me know if you need anything else. I have not received any response from their office still. I have not received my ending retainer balance or disputed charges back. I have many other expenses and this matter has been prolonged several months. I would appreciate at least getting my retainer balance back sooner than the disputed charges. Thank you again for your help.
***** ******* XXX-XXX-XXXX
Final Business Response
Attached are the hand written notes from the Mr. ******* to show the attorney exactly what he requesting for his family law case. Its shows the client was requesting to have telephone contact with the minor child every week 2X 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. & 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This request was granted.
Like I stated in my last response, after the hearing and a order is made by the Judge, you can only request changes to the order where both sides would have to agree. Opposing counsels office did not agree to our request. Even if Mr. ******* requested specific days to have telephone contact with the minor child during his court hearing it does not mean that it would be granted. In Mr. ******* case, he was granted everything that he requested at his hearing date on June 25, 2014.
If you have any other question please contact me.
******** ** ******, Attorney at Law
1304 L Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301