People Are Awesome: This College Kid Is an Expert at Taking Big Companies to Court, and Winning!
This college student is "on a mission to show you don't have to pay a lawyer $225 an hour to get your voice heard."
This one's for everyone out there who ever gave up on a just crusade to get a refund from a big company for a faulty product, false promise, or erroneous fee. Twenty-two year-old college student Christopher Akinyemi has become an expert in taking these companies to court, and bringing home cold hard cash.
MSNBC's Red Tape Chronicles profiles Akinyemi's longtime hobby of taking beating Dell, Bank of America, and Sprint in small claims court. Akinyemi tells MSNBC, it's something of a crusade for better business.
"I've stood up for the average Joe since I was 18. I put my foot down," said Akinyemi. "I have a heart for justice in business. ... I'm on a mission to show you don't have to pay a lawyer $225 an hour to get your voice heard."\n
Akinyemi's most impressive victory should be cathartic for everyone whose pleas to unsubscribe have fallen on deaf ears. He sued Lending Tree for sending him spam, asking for $3,000 in damages. That's $500 for every piece of unwanted email he got, the maximum amount under Indiana anti-spam law. In the end he took $500 from the company as a settlement. Not bad.
If you want to try something similar, Boing Boing has a how-to guide for exploiting the national no-spam law for $500 payouts as well, so long as you are willing to endure the fine print of the law and follow a strict script.
Akinyemi says the secret to getting an easier payout is reasoning with the enemy, offering to settle the case for less than the company would have to pay a lawyer to actually go to court.
For his legal savvy, and small claims success—10 out of 12 cases so far—Akinyemi is fast earning himself a reputation at these companies. Most of these settlements include something called a "no future business" agreement, a tool companies use to rid themselves of customers who cost them too much to deal with. "I have one with Bank of America. That means for the rest of my life I can't ever do business with them, even if I live to be 100 years old," he tells MSNBC. That's the cost of doing business he's willing to bear.