Completecase.com is a good company. If you hire it to handle your uncontested divorce case, they will do a fine job for you. Their flat fee is $299 as compared to NetDivorce’s flat fee of $129. NetDivorce provides a more complete and personal service, and all docs are proofread by a lawyer with 35+ years of experience in California divorce. See our comparison chart. Completecase.com simply cannot match NetDivorce’s service at any price. However, that is a discussion for another time and place. For now, we’ll leave the price comparison to you, the divorce consumer.
What concerns us here is that we can’t figure out why completecase.com, a high-quality company, persists in a 15-year old online divorce pricing deception to get you to hire them. It’s a cheap trick. It’s similar in quality to their representation that their long-gone founder’s appearance on Good Morning America almost 20 years ago should mean something to you today. You’re smart enough to figure that out, but the price-anchoring trick really is a low blow – if you don’t know the facts and recognize the deceptive technique. After reading this post, you will know.
Price anchoring is when the salesman anchors a much higher price in your mind so that you will feel better about eventually paying a lower price, even though that lower price is still too high. An example would be when the appliance salesman shows you the top-of-the -line washing machine, which he knows no one wants to buy, just to make you feel better when he shows you something 2 or 3 notches down. That second unit still won’t be the best value for YOU. That’s why the salesman shows it. But you’ll feel good about it. You’ve been tricked out of the price difference between what you wanted and what you got.
A prominent message on completecase.com is that they will save you, the divorce consumer, huge sums of money. In fact, their top page headline is, “Save thousands of dollars in legal fees without the cost of an attorney,” They also have a pricing page on which they spend a lot of space assigning a completely arbitrary lawyer’s fee of $1500 to $3500 to YOUR case, before they know anything about your case! Then they tell you that they will save you 93% of that non-existent lawyer’s fee. HOGWASH. This is misleading and dishonest price anchoring at its worst, and completecase.com is a better company than this. They should stop this cheap 1990’s early-internet fraud immediately.
You can definitely pay $5000 to $25000+ in lawyer’s fees for a contested, complex or very high asset divorce case. Do you have one of those? If so, what the heck are you doing looking at completecase.com or http://netdivorce.com? Find the best divorce lawyer you can and pay him or her everything s/he asks. It will likely be worth it.
Now back to reality. Way over 90% of divorce cases filed are uncontested – that means you and your spouse/partner are in agreement or will be very soon. Those are the cases completecase.com handles for $299 and http://netdivorce.com handles for $129.
So why is completecase.com talking to you about $1500-$3500 fees? Price anchoring, of course!! They want you to feel real good when they skin you of the price difference between NetDivorce’s $129 and their $299. “Wow, those guys saved me thousands on a fee that NEVER APPLIED TO MY CASE!!!”
Completecase.com is not saving you $1200-3200 (or 93% of some number they pulled out of their fantasy). They’re saving you maybe $100-150 on attorney-prepared docs, which is a better and more valuable service than completecase.com offers. If you shop around and search for “California lawyer unbundled divorce,” you will find California lawyers who will prepare all of your divorce docs (that’s what completecase.com and http://netdivorce.com do for you) for $400-450. And those unbundled lawyer fees are coming down as more and more lawyers fight back against online divorce providers. In states other than California, you can find many lawyers offering unbundled doc prep for $300-$350. For $400-450, those California lawyers won’t represent you or appear in court for you or file your case at court or serve your spouse (but completecase.com and http://netdivorce.com don’t do those things for you either).
Heck, you can now get full attorney representation in an uncontested case through http://avvo.com for $975 or through a new program available through the Los Angeles County Bar Association (but look for very many more county bar associations nationwide to begin this type of program) for just $800. These offers are for full attorney representation in which the lawyer does everything for you. These are good deals that are far more in line with the reality of your uncontested case.
Suddenly, that “Save thousands of dollars in legal fees…” nonsense doesn’t seem so impressive, huh?
If you are a new California divorce consumer, don’t get tricked. Stop and think! Your choice is NOT between completecase.com’s $300 and a lawyer’s fee of $1500-3500 for a case you don’t have. If you have an uncontested case, your choice is between NetDivorce’s flat fee of $129 and a California lawyer’s unbundled doc prep fee of $400-450. Let’s keep it real.