H. Dennis Beaver: Watch out for improper/illegal attorney billing practices | Kingsburg Recorder
Today’s story deals with billing practices that may violate ethical rules that apply to lawyers across the country.
If you’ve hired an attorney recently or in the last few years and you still have the required paperwork, be sure to pull out the retention agreement and accounting sheet before reading.
Look for this type of language under Cost:
“$ 50 scan / save file fee; $ 75 file / cost maintenance fee; $ 75 for long distance toll calls / faxes; $ 75 initial data entry. “
If you’ve been charged a fee for this matter, especially long distance calls, depending on which state you live in, you may have been overwhelmed.
You may recall that in the 1980s a call from California to New York was over 30 cents a minute. However, in recent years long distance charges have disappeared.
And when was the last time you actually sent a letter? Stamp licking has been almost entirely replaced by email, both personally and professionally.
Ask for proof of fees – Stonewalled
For example, let’s say your attorney’s bill shows a $ 75.00 “Long Distance Fees and Postage” charge. They know this just can’t be, but imagine asking for evidence that these charges were actually incurred and you are stonewalled. They cannot produce any evidence because these allegations did not exist.
You would feel cheated and ask yourself, “How many other customers have you done this to?”
And that’s exactly what Brittany Zuniga, of Fortuna, California, thought after the personal injury billing sheet included the $ 75.00 remote fee, plus another $ 75.00 for file and expense maintenance and a scan fee of $ 50, $ 00 included and storage of the file fee. “