You know those obnoxious recorded calls you get advertising credit cards or free vacations or auto-glass replacement? Those are illegal. So are junk faxes. In Washington State, so is commercial email with misleading headers. Every time you get one of these, the offending party owes you $500. Rather than just hang up, recycle or delete, I've been filing small claims against these obnoxious marketers. This page will track my progress and give some tips on how to collect $500 every time a company forces their illegal marketing tactics upon you.
What you'll find here
- Guide - the online version of my zine "Zen and the art of small claims."
- My cases - I've filed around two dozen cases
- Laws - Washington State and federal laws, plus a court ruling or two
- Links - useful resources on the web
- Media - when I make the news
- Contact - reach out and touch me
- Miscellaneous - humorous link banners and other stuff (updated June 9, 2002)
- Spam tracking thingy - a PHP/MySQL script I wrote to help track my spam and the spammers I'm considering suing.
April 23, 2007 -- I'm not updating this site much these days. Just wanted to add a link to Bennett Haselton's analysis of small claims judges in King County. Three of six judges don't even read his brief.
June 7, 2004 -- Houston, we have an update. Check out P&M Consulting, complete with grandstanding legal response.
February 10, 2004 -- I'm still alive, still doing the occasional small claim. Winter's been unusually -- and enjoyably -- busy. An initiative campaign I ran treasury for won handily. I spoke about spam at a law enforcement conference. My real job got some new, unexpected web projects. My partner Lisa and I are getting hitched next month. And I acquired a nasty craigslist habit and ended up starting a new business selling record albums.
I don't envision any significant updates to this site for a few months. The info herein is still timely and relevant, but new content served hot daily is not on the menu. Thanks for understanding. Much respect. --Ben
May 23, 2003 -- I've updated my guide. Chapter 11 on collections now includes useful information. Chapter 8 includes a section on beating the "you can't sue an out-of-state defendant in small claims" argument. If you sent me stamps in the past year and I never sent you a zine, don't worry, it's comin' soon.
April 1, 2003 (no joke) -- This site hasn't seen significant updates in over nine months. On June 9 of last year my dear friend and boss Robert Lunday died from an arteriovenous malformation and I've been swamped with business since.
Last week I filed my first small claim since his death, so I'm getting back into the swing of things. I have updates on numerous cases, but may not be able to get to them for weeks or months. I'm also hoping to update my zine soon, as I've almost completed a bank account garnishment.
Due to my lack of time since last June, I've become more of an email nazi. Questions of the "how can I go after this person" sort I generally ignore and questions that will take more than 10 minutes to respond to sit in my inbox for a few weeks until I realize that I won't respond to them and move them to another folder. Apologies if I don't respond; please understand. Consider subscribing to the warrior list below, which I will write to once more updates happen.
Ben Schroeter and I put on a "warrior training" on May 5, 2002 and may hold future classes. If you're interested in this or want to receive periodic updates on my small claims journey, subscribe to the "warriors" mailing list (no more than one message per week) by emailing <firstname.lastname@example.org>.