What to do if we paid for a service which was not provided so we sued the business and judgment was awarded in our favor but to date, the defendant has yet to pay the judgment principal and court costs?

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What to do if we paid for a service which was not provided so we sued the business and judgment was awarded in our favor but to date, the defendant has yet to pay the judgment principal and court costs?

Could you please tell us what is the next step to resolve this problem. Some friends advised us to seek something called “Written Interrogatories in Aid of Execution” in which we could ask 15 questions to gain information that could possibly lead to getting our money returned to us. But we don’t know which questions to ask or if this is the best way for a resolution.

Asked on November 26, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Maryland

Answers:

Gregory Abbott / Consumer Law Northwest

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As you are unfortunately finding out, just getting a Judgment against someone is only the first step - you still need to collect it and the laws regarding collection can be confusing, complicated, and require exact, technical compliance or you face a potential lawsuit back at you for improper collection activities.  Thus you may want to consult a local attorney about how best to proceed.  Alternately, you could turn it over to a collection agency but will, of course, have to pay them out of whatever they collect.  If you want to do it yourself, in general, you can garnish the debtor's bank account or other customers/clients of the business so that they pay you what they owe the business instead of them paying it to the business; you can have the local Sheriff levy on property the business owns (the Sheriff seizing equipment and supplies they need to operate tends to get their attention real quick); and/or you can do a Judgment Debtor exam or issue written interoggatories.  This examination, whether in person or in writing, usually requires them to answer questions such as where they bank. account balances, and account numbers; what property they own and whether they own it outright or if it is financed; who owes them money and how much, copies of their tax returns, etc.  Of course, a well written letter demanding payment within X days or threatening to send the Sheriff to seize property, etc. may well get the matter resolved or at least get a conversation started as to how to resolve the matter.  The letter should be addressed to the company owner ideally - your Secretary of State's office will likely have a registry with the information as to who owns a business and/or its registered agent - that's the person to address your letter to and include a copy of the Judgment if you have it.  Best of luck.


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