More Online Divorce Fraud in San Francisco California
The State of California has created a very data-intensive divorce procedure. Most divorce consumers are surprised by the amount of mandatory personal information that must be included in a California divorce filing. Regrettably, that large amount of necessary personal info has also enabled even more online divorce fraud in San Francisco. The particular online divorce fraud I’ll describe to you below is relatively simple, but it can definitely take your hiring decision away from you if you are not aware of it. Don’t get tricked.
We say, ” even more online divorce fraud in San Francisco ” because online divorce is a completely unregulated, unlicensed, wild-west type of industry. No Federal or state law enforcement agency has expressed any interest at all in cleaning up the industry. The FBI certainly is not interested. Divorce consumers just don’t have a lobby and remain completely unprotected. NetDivorce attempted to clean up the industry by launching the Online Divorce Association of America (ODAA) in September 2016. We created a very basic Code of Ethics. We then wrote to about 60 online divorce companies nationwide trying to get them to sign up for FREE membership in the ODAA. All they had to do was to pledge to follow the Code of Ethics and they’d be able to use the ODAA membership seal on their websites. We’ve written to those 60 companies several times since September 2016 and not one single company has joined ODAA or even responded to our invitation. And why should they? They all engage in some kind of fraud that is prohibited by the ODAA Code of Ethics. If they are making money committing fraud, why would they agree to stop committing fraud?
We’ve written extensively about online divorce fraud in several locations over the years, but here is a good primer. The main types of fraud you will encounter in the online divorce industry are predictable. They are (1) several types of price fraud, (2) constant up-selling, (3) client testimonial fraud – fake client testimonial websites and unverified client testimonials (listing tens of thousands of client testimonials with no third party verification), and (4) review fraud – fake review sites that falsely claim to have reviewed several online divorce websites and picked the one that has put up the fake review site. The particular fraud covered by this article is sign-up fraud. They trick you into thinking that their online divorce interview is shorter, better, faster or simpler than anyone else’s so that you will hire them, thinking that their service is that much better.
If you hire NetDivorce, you will get immediate access to our online interview, which is how we gather all of the necessary personal info from you to enable us to prepare all of your state and local county divorce papers. Our interview can be completed in as little as 25 minutes (no kids, no property or debt, good typing skills). But it can also take 60-120 minutes (one or more minor children, many items of property/debt, 2-finger typing.). The average client completes the NetDivorce interview in 60-75 minutes. You should not rush. It is very important to get your case done correctly right from the beginning, and we definitely help you to accomplish that. Many clients complete the interview in one sitting, but the average client completes in 2 or 3 sessions across a day or two. One late night session followed by a session the following morning is very typical. Clients will go as far as they can in their first session and then go away to collect any missing info they don’t have or can’t remember. Then they will finish the interview in the second session the following morning.
NetDivorce openly discloses the extent of our interview to you up front. You know exactly what you are getting into. In fact, you can see our interview in our instructional YouTube video.
And all of our competitors have to gather EXACTLY the same info that we do. No one has a “royal road” or some inside advantage over anyone else as to how much data we need to get from each client. The Judicial Council of California and the state legislature (and to a lesser extent the 58 Presiding Family Law judges statewide) determine exactly what information is required from divorce consumers in California generally and in San Francisco specifically.
Regrettably, our competitors are not quite as honest about this information gathering process as NetDivorce is. Most of our competitors now divide their online interviews into 2 parts. You see one part before you pay them and the other part after you’ve paid. Why? Because they want you to think that the first part is the whole interview so that you will pay them while you are thinking their system is so easy, simple and fast.
That’s called fraud. According to the Legal Dictionary, fraud is a false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon that misrepresentation to her or his legal injury.
This sign-up trick by our online divorce competitors is fraud because it deliberately or knowingly misrepresents or conceals a significant fact (the large amount of data that will be required from each and every divorce consumer) in order to deprive that divorce consumer of the legal right to make his or her own hiring decision, based upon what s/he thinks is the best decision for him or her. Fraud unfairly deprives that divorce consumer of that free decision-making process by tricking him into thinking that a fact is true (our tricky competitors have a shorter or easier or faster online divorce interview) when it is not true (they do not).
More Online Divorce Fraud in San Francisco
Our competitors resort to this type of trickery because they can’t compete with NetDivorce on our industry-low $129 fee with no ups or extras, our 36+ years of experience, our bullet-proof proprietary software or our extensive knowledge of California divorce law and procedure. So they have to trick you into hiring them by making you think that their interview is somehow shorter or easier. It isn’t. Again, they have to gather the exact same info NetDivorce does.
So before you pay them, our tricky competitors show you maybe 8 or 10 very easy questions – your names, genders, what counties you live in, whether there are minor children, whether there are any retirement plans, your email (so that if you don’t pay, they spam you forever), whether your spouse is active duty US military, etc. Most people can answer all of these questions in 10 or 12 minutes. Most are “yes” or “no” answers.
Then when you”ve completed those few easy questions, they hit you up for payment while you’re thinking that everything looks easy – “This is great! Those jerks at NetDivorce said their online interview would take over an hour. These guys are much better and easier. I’m so clever for finding them.” As soon as you’ve paid, they hit you with the other 95% of their interview, which will take you, wait for it, about 60-75 minutes to complete.
So, if you have extra money that you can’t figure how to spend, by all means, hire one of our tricky competitors. The 2 biggest interview tricksters are completecase.com (at $300) and mydivorcepapers.com (at $274 – that’s their “complete” fee of $159 PLUS their “expedite” fee of $115 so that you don’t have to wait 12-14 days to get your papers after completing their interview – in other words, $274 gets you the immediate downloads NetDivorce provides at $129 flat). BTW, that $274 does not include their $199 “Premium” fee. Yes, this, and much more is all on top of their “complete” fee of $159. Hey, how else could they even get close to NetDivorce on their claimed “complete” fee?
Some divorce consumers just get a warmer feeling from overpaying. If it costs a lot, it must be good. This seems particularly true in the case of professional services. People just prefer to pay a lot more than they need to. If that works for you, no worries. Our point here is simply that you should make your own decision, knowing all the facts, and not get tricked into hiring someone based on a cheap fraud like the one described above.