Complaint Category: None of the Above - Refund or Exchange Complaint Issue
Complaint: Will not refund fee
Paid $5100 on 3/8/13 to hire Legally Mine to create several legal entities. Received "blueprint" describing the entities along with an itemized list of "entity establishment costs" on 3/14/13. The costs are $1000 each for an LLC, FLP, and 2 cells; $1000 was for estate planning documents. Over the next few weeks, I undertook an intense study of the Legally Mine "blueprint" with associated entities. Their email to which the blueprint was attached stated:"This email does not constitute personal legal or tax advice. For personal legal or tax advice, please consult your licensed personal attorney or personal accountant." At length, I concluded that the blueprint and entities as outlined by Legally Mine is not appropriate for my situation. On 4/22/13 I sent an email requesting a refund, minus a reasonable consultation fee. I recognize that they put in some time with emails and phone calls, and I believe that they should be paid a reasonable sum for that. Yet, the next day, Mr. **** said that he will not refund my money. I then sent a certified letter overnight to Mr. **** requesting a refund and again recognizing that Legally Mine should be paid something for their time. I have heard nothing back from them in just under a month after that letter was received. I called the credit card company to see if they could get a refund. That has been in process for some weeks now. The Legally Mine up-front fee includes payment for their work and payment of fees to Utah and Texas to create the entities. Legally Mine is keeping money that they would have paid to Utah and Texas as fees to create the entities. And, they are keeping "document creation fees" for documents that were never created. The entities were never created, so the fees to Texas and Utah were never paid. I believe it is dishonest for Legally Mine to retain money that is earmarked for creating entities yet the entities were never created. In my line of work, being paid for something I did not do is called fraud. It is completely reasonable that I get a refund. Mr. ***** said that my request date is past the refund arrangement in the contract. But, I have never signed a contract and sent it back to Legally Mine. They sent me a registered agent agreement, but I did not sign it and send it back. In any case, taking a few weeks to comprehend how a trust and 4 legal entities will alter my finances is reasonable. I was told over the phone by their attorney that it is not a problem to unwind the entities: just don't pay the annual fee and the entities disappear. Yet, two Texas trust attorneys told me that unwinding a trust and entities is expensive and can be time-consuming. I did not want to have to create the entities and trust to figure out how to administer them afterwards; I figured it out beforehand. But, I could not figure this out until I knew exactly what Legally Mine was recommending. My request for refund is reasonable and appropriate.
Business' Initial Response
Contact Name and Title: ***** ******, President
Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Contact Email: *****@legallymineusa.com
While our company strives to make sure all of our customers are satisfied, there are instances where a customer feels that they need to go outside appropriate channels to try to force our us into an unequal resolution to a situation like this.
In our investigation of the timeline regarding Mr. ****** and our company we have found the following:
3/6/13 - Mr. ****** Attended an association meeting in Texas, where he was taught about lawsuit prevention strategies - and introduced to our company. Mr. ****** declined to sign up for any services at this event.
3/08/13 - Mr. ****** contacted Legally Mine to pursue services he had learned about previously. According to the 2008 FTC Amended Telemarketing Sales Rule, sales conducted over the phone are subject to the agreements entered into over the phone. Informed consent was given by Mr. ****** related to the products and associated services he would be receiving. He was informed that the transaction would be all sales final. He agreed - and gave payment method and authorization. He was also sent a copy of the contracts for his further review and reference. He could have decided then to not allow the transaction to take place - which he did not. He continued to take full advantage of the transaction he authorized.
3/11/13 - Work on Mr. ******'s account was initiated and communication with Mr. ****** for his account progress began.
3/12/13 - Legally Mine paralegals called and scheduled an appointment for information to be gathered - set for the 14th of March.
3/14/13 - Questionnaire appointment conducted by paralegal - information passed to company attorney for work in drafting and creating a customized business entity structure and tax reduction strategy - included was preliminary work related to estate planning. A rush was requested on this account from the client.
3/15/13 - Attorney finished initial Blueprint. Senior Legal Consultant reviewed and approved the Blueprint. Paralegal assigned to this account made sure the document was delivered to Mr. ******.
3/18/13 - Paralegal received follow up questions from Mr. ******. Research by one of our specialized attorneys was conducted for specific questions for Mr. ******. Answers were delivered to Mr. ******. Additional follow up questions were received - and subsequently answered.
3/20/13 - Mr. ****** sent more questions and received more answers, via email, related to his account and the work being performed on his behalf.
3/22/13 - Mr. ****** received one-on-one consultation from company attorney. In depth discussions were had related to tax saving options through the use of various legal entities and appropriate tax codes. Arrangements were made to speak with another company attorney to answer some questions and start helping Mr. ****** in the development of his documents.
3/26/13 - Additional follow up for Mr. ****** working with attorney.
3/28/13 - Mr. ****** gave his (email) written consent for continued work on his behalf - our company requested the Registered Agent Agreement that would allow us to create documents on his behalf (not a required document if the customer did not want to take advantage of the free service of Legally Mine creating the documents on his behalf).
3/29/13 - Mr. ****** called in with additional questions. A company paralegal was able to answer all of his questions. Multiple additional calls were made from Mr. ****** with questions regarding the Registered Agent Agreement. One of the calls was taken directly by one of the attorneys working on his account. Answers were given to all of the questions asked by Mr. ******.
AT THIS POINT OUR COMPANY WAS WAITING ON THE REGISTERED AGENT AGREEMENT TO BE RETURNED IN ORDER TO CREATE THE REQUESTED DOCUMENTS FOR MR. ******.
4/12/13 - Paralegal called Mr. ****** to follow up on the requested Registered Agent Agreement.
4/16/13 - Mr. ****** sent another string of questions to one of our paralegals, who forwarded the questions to one of the account attorneys. The attorney responded to the question from Mr. ******. Additional questions were sent directly to the attorney - who responded accordingly.
4/23/13 - Mr. ****** sent an email requesting to cancel the account. The assigned paralegal sent this response:
I received your request to cancel your services with our company. Unfortunately this request is outside of the return policy on your contract and so we will not be able to refund at this time.
I would strongly recommend using the program as purchased but if you choose not to that is your decision.
There are also some significant tax savings associated with this program that could easily account for the investment. If you have questions on these savings please feel free to contact your entity specialist who will direct you to the person that can help you in our office."
4/29/13 - Our office received a letter from Mr. ****** indicating his desire for a refund. Since we had already sent him a written response we felt that was sufficient. We waited to hear back regarding his Registered Agent Agreement so that we could move forward with his account.
THREE WEEKS WITH NO ADDITIONAL RESPONSE FROM MR. ******.
5/21/13 - Our company received notification that Mr. ****** had filed a chargeback with his credit card company - violating his purchase agreement in which he agreed to binding arbitration regarding ANY disputes with the contract.
5/23/13 - Our company was notified of a BBB complaint filed by Mr. ****** regarding the matter.
Mr. ******'s opening sentence should read, "Making me honor my commitments and contracts."
Mr. ****** purchased a product (access codes to our library of proprietary legal documents) with accompanying services. He received a major portion of that service (which he has had ample time to share with competing companies, or his own personal financial advisors who might have already put in place using our proprietary documents).
Mr. ****** verbally agreed to two contracts, one for a year contract with Premium Plus ($1,200) and another for the access code and the associated service for entity creation ($5,000). These contracts (verbally agreed to) are legally binding.
Mr. ****** has fraudulently filed a chargeback against our company, which has placed a financial burden on us with our merchant account. Since they have debited our account and are sitting on these funds due to this fraudulent action, we are preparing legal actions against this customer. All legal recourses to remedy the damage Mr. ****** has induced by his wrongful actions will be taken. We will also be filing for collections, which will be negatively affecting Mr. ******'s credit reporting, if unpaid.
This complaint is also fraudulent due to the work that has been performed on behalf of this customer.
We are however willing to adhere to Mr. ******'s desired resolution by taking the reasonable fee for the work that was performed. For use of our paralegals and attorneys outside of our standard policy of procedure and billing, our company charges hourly fees compensatory with the level of expertise and specialty that they have in their fields. The hourly rate for working with our paralegals (including email communication, phone conversations, consultations, phone transfers, phone messages, transcriptions, note taking, data entry, and other work conducted on behalf of customers) is $275/hour (with the use of software licensing purchased and used on behalf of customers). The hourly rate for working with our attorneys (including email communication, phone conversations, consultations, phone transfers, phone messages, transcriptions, note taking, data entry, and other work conducted on behalf of customers) is $775/hour (with the use of software licensing purchased and used on behalf of customers).
Our records indicate that Mr. ****** used our paralegals for a total of 8.5 hours of email communication, phone conversations, consultations, phone transfers, phone messages, transcriptions, note taking, and data entry on his behalf. The total amount for this work outside our normal billing procedure is $2,337.50.
Our records also indicate that Mr. ****** used our attorneys for a total of 4.5 hours of email communication, phone conversations, consultations, phone transfers, phone messages, transcriptions, note taking, and data entry on his behalf. The total amount for this work outside our normal billing procedure is $3,487.50.
The A La Carte charge for the Blueprint document that was received and reviewed by Mr. ****** has a flat fee attached if not purchased with one of our other programs (i.e. Premium Plus) of $2,000.00.
This brings our reasonable fee for the work performed on behalf of Mr. ****** to $7,825.00.
Mr. ****** can remit the remainder of his payments to our company within the standard 30 day bil