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Cheddar, The Plague, Boom Beach, and Foreclosures

“There’s always free cheddar in the mousetrap, baby…”

tomwaitsThat’s a line from a Tom Waits’ song called, fittingly enough, God’s Away on Business.

I help people involved in really scary personal financial debacles – it doesn’t get much worse than having someone trying to take your house … unless you’ve had your identity stolen, or …

I deal in issues that became crises shortly after the Recession began and are still going strong.

People being people, no crisis has ever comesherwood_thomas_practitioner-the_charitable_pestmaster-crop and gone without someone figuring out how to gain from the misery. As far back as the Black Plague, charlatans masqueraded as doctors and roamed the streets peddling cures, charging exorbitant fees from increasingly desperate survivors.

It’s a given that whenever and wherever there’s a crisis there are the people who try to fix it, people who flee, people who suffer, and people who find a way to make easy money.

It’s no surprise then that when it comes to foreclosures the Internet is teeming with free advice, theories, legal forms, briefs, motions, magic potions.

As is the case with a lot of the Internet, the advice starts out free, little bits of ‘if you do this’ and ‘do that’ you might ‘end up with this’. Just enough free advice to get you started while jamming the courts with unsupported pleadings (more on that latter).

boombeachSomewhere along the road, of course, maybe just to cover the cost of maintaining such a helpful site, there’s a charge. That place usually occurs at a key junction of the case.  The charges will not, of course, stop there. Think a smart phone/tablet game app – if you want to win you have to start racking up in-app purchases.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about this in more detail. For now, just remember, stay away from the cheddar.

Eighty Percent of Life …

… is just showing up. I think someone in Annie Hall said that and I, woodyallencertainly, don’t dispute it, it makes sense in a number of ways.

Funny thing about showing up – things happen. Funny thing about not showing up – bad stuff happens.

The single most important thing I can, and do, tell anyone facing foreclosure, or small claims court, or student loan action, or … anything requiring action in a court of law is the simplest thing – Show Up.

See, with court actions what many, many people don’t get is this – you, and at some point hopefully your attorney – are the only people in the process there to protect your rights. That you have many rights in any action is indisputable, it’s just that the opposing party has no interest, no reason to protect them for you.

If you don’t show up the process becomes this – ‘how quickly can we clear the case?’ Say it’s a foreclosure, the plaintiff’s law firm wants it off their growing pile of cases as soon as possible for profit’s sake; the judge and clerk want the docket sheet cleared as they are graded on efficiency; the bank wants someone, anyone, paying something, as soon as possible. And it goes on.

So, then, here’s what happens when you don’t show up and you leave your matter entirely in the hands of the bank’s attorney and the court – imagine the court is the teller and the plaintiff is Ricky Gervais:

If this is an exaggeration it’s a slight one. The only way to stop this is to show up. It’s that simple.

Neat thing about showing up, by the way, it works at almost any point in the process. It’s almost never too late. Though, of course, the sooner you do, the more options left open.