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California Small Claims Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Civil Litigation, Civil Rights and Small Claims for California on
Q: What are my recourses when a tow yard totaled my vehicle so it can't be driven and won't let me retrieve my property?

Firstly, the seller had a fictitious 2021 tag on a truck with expired registration-dating back to 2017! The DMV demanded $800 to register the vehicle I purchased about 45 days ago. I got involved in a very very light fender bender coming out of a park in an upscale residential neighborhood. I was... Read more »

Leon Bayer
Leon Bayer answered on Aug 1, 2021


1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Business Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: Does a car dealer have to put a lien on a car to repossess it? Will a judge likely grant the lien if the "deficiency"

is not paying for a "inspection" costing $1820 that the dealer slipped onto the contract without itemizing.

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich answered on Jul 6, 2021

if the vehicle is financed, whoever the finance company is (and it could be the dealer) can repossess without a court order if there is reason to repossess

2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Small Claims for California on
Q: I need help with paying off a debt that I’m not the only one responsible for.

Two friends of mine and I signed a year long lease. We agreed every month we’d split the bills for the apartment three ways. In March, they bailed on me and moved back to Mississippi. We will receive an invoice for the settlement agreement (~10K), but I don’t know who they’re sending it to.... Read more »

Harlene Miller
Harlene Miller answered on Jun 23, 2021

Unfortunately, even though all of you are on the lease, the landlord can seek payment from any one of you. Since you all signed the settlement agreement, you are all responsible for payment. However, unless other language was included in the agreement, you are all joint and severally liable for... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Municipal Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: What recourse do I have against a AirBB next door, smoking affecting my health, I have serious asthma problems.

The guests smoke marijuana, even though they have a no smoking rule that the owner doesn't enforce, resident/son is rarely onsite to monitor, I have high risk, serious asthma and respiratory complications. They are just ignoring the problem or saying they know nothing about and say it must be... Read more »

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on Jun 21, 2021

make an appt with a LOCAL lawyer for guidance. I am in Palm Springs!

if you can't afford a lawyer maybe filing in small claims for up to $10k is the answer.

i would first send a written demand letter to the owner setting forth the facts. Advised them, if this is not resolved...
Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Personal Injury, Products Liability, Contracts and Small Claims for California on
Q: I bought a truck at auction, paid $4200, drove 10 miles, it caught fire, total loss. Can I be compensated?

I was not burned but suffered smoke inhalation. I had the truck for one hour. An auction employee drove the truck to the front of the lot for me to take delivery. I was told it was driveable. The Fire Dept had to come put out the fire.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Jun 17, 2021

Sorry to hear that. Virtually every auction I've ever seen has a disclaimer both on the bidding number issuance paper and on the bill of sale that says that you buy it, you take any and all risks, that the auctioneer doesn't test or examine the vehicles and makes absolutely no guarantee... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Internet Law, Libel & Slander and Small Claims for California on
Q: How can you add up pain and suffering and what proof do you need to show the court?

I am being sued for $10,000. For lost wages plus pain and suffering. The plaintiff has no proof of numbers. How does one show proof?

Randy Bryan Ligh
Randy Bryan Ligh answered on Jun 16, 2021

Pain and suffering, like all elements of a claim, is shown via evidence, which comes in the form of testimony and documentation. Further, there is no calculable way to quantify pain and suffering--each case is different.

1 Answer | Asked in Appeals / Appellate Law, Animal / Dog Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: Can I appeal a small claims court order since there was no monetary judgement filed?

I was sued by my ex over a dog that we adopted while together but has lived with me 90% of the time since we separated. For the eight years since we separated, I would let him take the dog from time to time but never more than a week and usually just a few days. He’s lived in the same place since... Read more »

Charles William Michaels
Charles William Michaels answered on Jun 14, 2021

First, I am not a CA lawyer. But it seems that the "order" IS a final judgment, thus you can appeal this order to the next level. Whether the appeal is de novo OR on the record, I can't tell.

1 Answer | Asked in Small Claims for California on
Q: Can I send a demand letter for the return of my personal property to someone who had it but gave it to another person?

My dog was stolen by a guy who I discovered had kept him for awhile before giving him to someone else to keep. I have evidence that the guy who stole my dog once had him in his possession but I have no information about who has my dog now. I went to the police but they were not interested in... Read more »

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on May 28, 2021

more info needed

Yes, you can send a demand letter. Whether it will do any good is another question.

i would send a demand letter setting forth facts and if he does not respond, I would sue in small claims and attach the letter to the complaint.

obviously, you need proof,...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Small Claims for California on
Q: What can i do with my landscaper for him to finish my backyard? Keep saying he will come but he doesn’t show up.

Almost 2 months already,still unfinished. Probably the cost left to be done is less than $2000 and that is still a lot of money to us.

Shawn R. Jackson Esq.
Shawn R. Jackson Esq. answered on May 21, 2021

A couple of initial questions ... [1] is the landscaper a licensed contractor ... [2] do you have a signed agreement for services ... [3] you will want to schedule a video call with at least two attorneys of your choice to discuss the next steps in the resolution process.

2 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation, Consumer Law, Products Liability and Small Claims for California on
Q: How to take legal action against a company that is falsely advertising products and will not refund customers?

Long story short, I purchased a product that was not as advertised and does not hold up to the claims that the company makes on their website and they refuse to give me a refund. They have been investigated by the BBB because of how many claims other customers made against this company for doing... Read more »

Scott Richard Kaufman
Scott Richard Kaufman answered on May 21, 2021

There is nowhere near enough info here to help. For instance if it was a garlic press from a local store, tough deal.

But, if it is a car from Ford, whole other analysis. There is a fairly new law in CA that a company cannot (for lack of a better term) 'bully' a consumer into...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Lemon Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: Is there anything I can do about a car I purchased st a used dealership. It broke down 2 days after axle broke then brak

The car broke down a total of 4 times within 30 days I’ve had to come up with over 3000 the car was purchased cash this last time it was in the shop for something to do w transmission Nd it’s still not running right 6170 cash price no financing

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich answered on Apr 26, 2021

if you purchased the vehicle with a warranty the dealership should be given the opportunity to fix the issues. If you purchased it as is but it was sold with issues that needed to be disclosed, you can sue them in small claims. Small claims is appropriate for anything under $10,000. Lawyers are... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Civil Litigation, Collections and Small Claims for California on
Q: My daughter lost her job, got a "Demand Letter for Damages" from an office in SD and she needs to know how to respond.

This letter from an ex-love interest who is seeking damages from a breach of contract, and fraud.

It is in the amount of $15,000 and is dated February 25, 2021and was served by a FED-EX person on March 4, 2021 to her 16 year old son who was asked to sign his name when he was in the garage... Read more »

David Michael Lehr
David Michael Lehr answered on Mar 12, 2021

You need to speak with civil attorney. This is not yet a criminal case.

Good luck!

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3 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: Hi, are their statues of limitation on debt? A debt I was told I paid off is now claiming I owe 10 years later.

My school contacted me in 2019 about an outstanding debt, claiming one of my Grant's was refused after I graduated and paid off my loan. But I graduated in 2009. So they are informing me very late. I chose to ignore them and just now I have recieved and email saying if I dont settle my debt,... Read more »

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich answered on Mar 12, 2021

call and speak to one of us. we will need to review the documents and emails as well as your facts in detail to better assist you with this issue.

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2 Answers | Asked in Banking, Civil Rights, Probate and Small Claims for California on
Q: If I transfer money into my boyfriends bank account, and then use that money, is it considered a gift from him in court?

The amount was $300 and I used it the same day I transferred it. I bought myself something with that money and now he is trying to say the item is his since the money (did not originally) came out of his bank account.

Louis George Fazzi
Louis George Fazzi answered on Mar 10, 2021

The answer is "it depends." Much more information is needed.

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2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: Is it legal for rental service to hold your belongings if you owe them money?

They came and towed her rental car with her stuff her daughters and new born baby. They will not give her her stuff until fees are owed. Is this legal?

David Michael Lehr
David Michael Lehr answered on Mar 4, 2021

It is probably civil, not criminal.

I am not a civil attorney, but I think that they cannot hold the property.

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Q: My heating pad recently caught fire, I filed a complaint, now they are requesting it be mailed to them.

To see what went wrong. My question is, is it safe to mail in the product, prior to being compensated? Do companies try to request failed products, to avoid compensation? Essentially taking my proof?

The heating pad burned part of my mattress, my body was not blister burned, but very red... Read more »

Theodore Allan Greene
Theodore Allan Greene answered on Mar 3, 2021

If you have a personal injury claim you should talk to an attorney first. They most likely would have an expert evaluate it and keep it as evidence in your case. If you didn't get hurt very badly then it most likely will be hard to get an attorney. They should compensate you for a new mattress... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for California on
Q: My roommate tried to illegally evict me and threw out my things and kept some without any warning, can I claim theft?

Ive been subletting a room in this woman apartment for a year now, im not on the lease nor signed a lease with her but we did have a verbal agreement.

I leave to house/pet sit for one of my friends that went out of town, I was only gone for 4 days and I come back for a change of clothes.... Read more »

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on Mar 2, 2021

more info needed.

did you pay anything? was this an old girlfriend?

you can claim anything and sue for anything.........the outcome is dependent on the facts.

set up an appointment with a local lawyer asap.

she was supposed to give you notice to leave per Unlawful Detainer procedures.

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Communications Law, Constitutional Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: I booked 14 days at an inn, I stayed 6 days only, receptionist gave no receipt saw receipt on email was charged fully

I originally booked 14 days at an inn. I checked in and I was charged the 2 weeks right away. I asked if ever I decided to check out early is there refund. Guy said yes. On the 6th day, I told the receptionist I'm checking out and gave the card keys. Receptionist said I'm good to go... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Feb 28, 2021

Small Claims is an option. However, if you booked through a third party, like or similar, I don't think you can get your money back.

4 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Personal Injury, Products Liability and Small Claims for California on
Q: I pulled out a filling while using a flossing pick and following the directions on the back. Do I have a case?

While flossing my teeth with a flossing pick my floss got caught between my teeth on the way down on what I later found out was a piece of my tooth filling, there was no way of sliding the floss out since it's attached to the pick and when I pulled down to pull the pick out it broke and pulled... Read more »

Theodore Allan Greene
Theodore Allan Greene answered on Feb 8, 2021

The previous answer is most likely what happened. You could sue either but I don't think you would get any attorneys to help. Call some and discuss it if you feel strongly but if the first 3 tell you that they can't help then you most likely will have to do it on your own. You will need a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Banking and Small Claims for California on
Q: I need the opinion of a lawyer, please. I have a picture of a will, and I need to know if its real or not?
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Feb 6, 2021

IMO you need the original will. BTW this is Probate not Banking.

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