Small claims assistance services offer easy filing; are they worth the cost?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — For many, small claims court acts as the go-to service for resolving a dispute when nothing else seems to work. However, this process can be quite frustrating, as it was for a local woman until she finds a creative solution.

“Oso, sit down. Oso sit down. Good boy.” Linda Huang and her border collie Australian Shepherd Oso have been nearly inseparable since she rescued him just before the pandemic hit nearly two years ago.

“I regularly tell my boyfriend that Oso ranks above him in life,” Huang said candidly with a laugh.

Huang got the scare of her life when Oso started acting sick after being taken to the beach by a dog-sitting company. She believes his illness was caused by something he ate.

“He started vomiting violently. It turned into two weeks of diarrhea – bloody diarrhea – it was terrible,” Huang said.

Huang says that it costs him more than $2,500 to treat Oso and restore her to good health.

She filed a lawsuit in small claims court against the company when she refused to take responsibility. However, the court denied her request when she could not find the appropriate office to serve court documents.

“At this point, I was already like hours of research on everything, and I’m just very tired. Then I found Dispute,” Huang said.

Dispute is a San Francisco-based company that helps claimants file their small claims. “It takes a lot of work to get your case accepted, so we help prepare the documents and file them for people,” says Mayank Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Dispute.

Dispute simplifies the small claims process by offering to walk claimants through the DIY option for $79. If the claimant still finds the process too complicated, Dispute will do it all for you for $349.

Most counties offer free counselors who will also walk you through the process. But Gupta says the offices are underfunded and difficult to access.

“Our service is definitely a convenient service designed to make the process easier. And in fact, our website offers all of these resources for free, so we don’t want people to pay us if they think they can do it themselves. “, said Gupta. .

Huang says there were just too many little complications for her to handle on her own. Overall, she is happy to have hired Dispute. “I’ve said before that I wish they could manage my life. Just very responsive. They really listen,” she said.

Check out more stories and videos from Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Do you have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE! The 7OYS Consumer Helpline is a free mediation service for consumers in the San Francisco Bay Area. We help individuals with substance-related problems; we cannot act on business-to-business cases or cases involving family law, criminal cases, landlord and tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please see our FAQs here. As part of our support process, it is necessary for us to contact the company/agency you are writing about. If you do not want us to contact them, please let us know immediately, as this will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

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