Complaint Review: Excell Investigations - Downey, CA,
Excell Investigations Failure to Properly Serve Court Documents, Including Falsifying Documents and Potentially Committing Perjury Downey, CA,
Below is a report that I submitted to the Better Business Bureau, which administratively closed the case due to allegations of discrimination, specifically against persons with a protected class of disability, which the (ostensible) owner of the company unfathomably put in writing: specifically, that their company policy is to discriminate against persons with a particular disability. The BBB subsequently closes any cases with allegations of discrimination, as they informed me that they are a third-party arbitrator and cannot investigate matters that may have legal repercussions. To that end, an Unruh Civil Rights Act complaint will be following shortly, as soon as I am able to compile additional documentation regarding this despicable company and its egregiously incompetent, lying employees.
At present, I also have an active complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs. After filing a grievance with the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services under the auspices of the CA Department of Consumer Affairs, I spoke with an analyst who stated that based on my complaint and more than a dozen pages of documents and evidence I submitted with the grievance, he had already identified multiple potential violations of regulations and business practices.
In addition, this company has already been cited for improper practices by that agency previously, and has had multiple consumer complaints filed against them. In fact, the DCA analyst I spoke with stated that he actually KNEW of this company, and, I believe, stated that he had dealt with them in the past. Mine wasn't the first complaint, in other words: far from it. I am attempting to access that specific information via the state equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act (i.e., FOIA), or a Public Records Act request. I will provide updates with my findings, if possible.
This is the complaint I submitted to the Better Business Bureau, as it is as complete as I can make it.
As Winston Churchill once remarked, "you will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks," but this whole fiasco was so egregious and ridiculous that I had to do something in this case. It's really not about the money so much: I'm asking for $450 returned out of the $600 that I paid - but it's much more about the accountability and the documentation that is now accessible to the public, who can read about my experiences and judge for themselves whether they want to take a chance on a company like this.
I included in the email I submitted to the BBB the contract I signed, the appalling Declarations of Due Diligence this company sent me, the corrected, albeit apparently perjured version, screen shots from their website, scans of my pages of notes from conversations with John and Company, and a screen shot of a text message of John calling the person who served my documents a “process server,” although he later tried to claim that the person was not, in fact, a process server, and shouldn’t therefore be expected to know how to correctly serve papers.
I initially contacted this company, so-called, Excell Investigations, in late May, 2020. I was in need of skip trace services and a process server to verify addresses and information for four additional named defendants in a civil action in Los Angeles County, and to subsequently serve an amended summons and complaint. At this point, I think that this “business” consists of little more than a couple of guys in an office, sitting in front of a computer terminal looking up people’s information and subcontracting with God-only-knows-whom to do just about everything else. Their website states that they have a bunch of satellite offices, which I am informed are closed, and have been for some time. Leaving the information of now-defunct offices on their company website is simply an attempt to make the company appear more legitimate, as opposed to “Two-Guys-In-A-Garage Investigative Services.”
This company, through a series of appalling errors, negligence, laziness and incompetence, failed to provide 75% of the services I contracted with them for. For these, and additional failings, including to provide documentation of their services, this company violated the terms of their contract, on multiple grounds, including their “money back guarantee.” Nothing was done for “free.” Their employees did not complete the services they contracted for.
In addition, on account of false information on the documentation that was eventually provided to me, which I believe constitutes perjury on the part of the party swearing to the information, as the statements were made under oath, I had to hire yet another service to complete what their company failed to do, as I could not submit what they provided to the court, when I found out what actually occurred, or I would have been complicit in the deception.
As to their statements about me looking to get “free” services: in acknowledgement of their incessant screw-ups, John offered me additional “free” services, as demonstrated by the email documentation I provided. I declined, and terminated any and all dealings with this company.
On May 27, I contracted for services from this company, specifically, according to the contract I attached (the actual signed contract I sent to Fernando Villa, Jr.,) as stated, “to include skip trace services for the purpose of service of an Amended Summons and Complaint, and ADR packet, on the following individuals... In the event that the aforementioned individuals cannot be served, Excell Investigations agrees to furnish CLIENT Tracey Watts with a Declaration of Due Diligence, describing the efforts taken to effect service on the aforementioned four individuals. In consideration of the forgoing terms, it is understood that Excell Investigations shall use its best efforts to investigate the matters set forth and perform the services for which it is being retained. Excel shall explore all lawful means to assure the best performance and results and to do all necessary, appropriate or advisable in performing said services. Excell promises to provide all proof of services which may include any of the Following: (written reports, statements, video documentation, photographs, information services reports, etc....) to guarantee our thorough and sincere efforts. Excel promise to provide a detailed invoice that outlines all expenses or your money back guarantee.... In the Event that Excell Investigation is unable or unsuccessful to obtain any information or unable to provide proof of service a complete refund will be issued.”
No “written report,” and, especially, no detailed invoice that outlines all expenses was provided, so the “money back guarantee” should apply in any event, notwithstanding the fact that through the blatant incompetence of their personnel, service was not effected on three out of the four individuals in question, and I was not able to submit what they did actually provide to the court, on account of the false information contained therein.
When I contracted with Excell for these services, I provided substantial information, including documents, which I can provide if necessary, regarding the whereabouts of the individuals in question (out of respect for their privacy, I redacted their private information in the documents I have here submitted), so it was in some cases simply verifying information I already had, and provided to Excell, regarding the whereabouts of the additional defendants.
Again, there were no “free” services involved. I contracted with this company to 1) LOCATE and 2) SERVE these four individuals. Again, no invoice or breakdown was provided as to what the specific charges were after the fact. I simply contracted to pay a lump sum, $600, for both –not one, but both –of these services: LOCATE and SERVE. Simply put, the company DID NOT SERVE THREE OUT OF THE FOUR DEFENDANTS, on account of the incompetence of the person they hired to do the job, who had no idea how to properly serve documents by mail, although the instructions are on the papers I provided them. This person’s claim that “we offered to do the process serving for FREE” is preposterous and false, demonstrated by the contract itself. That was an aspect of the services I contracted for. It states in the contract, as above: “Excel shall explore all lawful means to assure the best performance and results and to do all necessary, appropriate or advisable in performing said services.” This company stated that they would be able to provide the services I contracted for, in the time frame I stipulated (all documents had to be served, or a declaration of due diligence provided, AND filed with the court, by June 12, 2020).
When I first called, I initially spoke with Fernando Villa, who repeatedly assured me, “no problem, no problem,” to everything I asked. I provided a detailed explanation of the situation, including the fact that I was a self-represented litigant. I specifically asked him whether they provided services to self-represented parties, as some attorney services companies, such as process servers, will NOT. He assured me that that would be “no problem” as well. It does state on the website that they serve “attorneys, individuals and businesses,” but I wanted to verify that this was the case. They were well-informed that I was self-represented.
The supervisor, John, later contradicted this statement, once there was a dispute over the incompetence of the people he hired to serve my documents. John stated to me on one of the numerous phone calls I made to them that they had never worked with a self-represented party previously, and that he wouldn’t have taken the case personally; they only worked with attorneys. Essentially, their personnel will say anything to anyone to get their money. Also stated on their website: this company advertises to be working with “licensed and registered process servers” (spoiler alert: there are NO “licensed process servers” in the state of California; there is no licensing requirement, or even any process to obtain any license of any type. There is “certification,” but it’s completely voluntary: claiming that they work with “licensed” professionals when there is no licensing is clearly misleading information). They also claim on their website to have multiple offices throughout Southern California; I am informed that that information is inaccurate as well. I believe that the only office affiliated with this company is now in Downey, CA, aside from third-party subcontractors they hire to do the work, which I was not informed was their common practice, either.
The website states specifically: “As Los Angeles's best choice for process serving, Excell Investigations can help individuals, businesses, and attorneys serve summons, complaints, subpoenas, court orders, child custody court orders, small claims filings, motions, Temporary Restraining orders (TROs), Applications and Orders for Appearance and Examination (ORAPs), and any other legal pleadings that you need served or delivered. We have over 20 years of process service experience, and can be relied upon to serve your court papers successfully and exactly as directed or required by law... Since proper service plays a major role in calendaring and moving along the legal process, we always go above and beyond to ensure timely and successful service --in fact, we guarantee it!... Our process servers understand all relevant legal rules and deliver unparalleled customer service. We operate 24 hours a day and are able to complete most jobs within 48 hours.”
Not even close.
As it states, they work with individuals, companies and attorneys. This John guy lied about that, too, stating that they had never worked with a "pro per" previously. The person they sent out to serve MY papers certainly wasn’t “licensed and registered,” at least not as a process server.
Another very shady practice, as I am now finding out, is that there was some difficulty in paying them, or so Fernando said. When I attempted to pay with a credit card, he told me that their machine was “down,” and that I would need to do an electronic funds transfer. He rattled off the names of about a half-dozen companies I’ve never heard of. I told him that I didn’t know what those were, and, if he wanted electronic payment, that I could pay via PayPal. He then informed me that the company's PayPal account was not active, so he instructed me to pay him via his private paypal account, reserved for “friends and family.” This was done to circumvent any consumer protections which would apply to a business, in the event of a dispute, as I later found out, which will force me to take legal action if I want a refund for the services which were not provided.
This should have been my first and last clue: the BUSINESS didn’t have a PayPal account, and their credit card machine was “down.” In hindsight, this was clearly an attempt to circumvent any consumer protections offered by these companies. Clearly, this has happened before with this company, so they know how to avoid consumer protections. Now I know from the Department of Consumer Affairs that there have been other complaints, and actions taken, but you won't find that on the BBB website.
Because I had such a short amount of time to get these papers served, owing to discovery disputes with opposing counsel which I am still attempting to resolve, and because I had contacted several other companies who were not able to meet the time requirements, I trusted them and paid for services I did not ultimately receive, even though there were some obvious red flags from the outset, which I concede. I submitted the documents I needed served to Fernando on May 28, TWO WEEKS before the deadline. It states on the website that most service is completed within 48 hours, so that shouldn’t have been any problem.
On June 1, Fernando contacted me and stated that they wanted an additional .35 cents per page for copies, unless I wanted to print the copies myself and mail them to them, which I was NOT told when I contracted for services, or I would have done so, as my budget is extremely limited and there would have been sufficient time. Additional copies cost me $80. Fernando even admitted at this point in his email that “the office is already on me because I gave you a really discounted rate.” So, apparently, management wasn’t informed about what he was charging me. That makes sense, as he instructed me to pay him via his private PayPal account. I am wondering now whether he ever even intended for this to be through the company, or whether he thought that he could pocket some extra cash and just do everything himself on the side, without their knowledge. In fact, some of the emails I was instructed to send were not to the company email, but to his own gmail account.
Radio silence for about a week: I didn’t hear anything until I contacted them on June 9 (remember on the website where it says that service will be within 48 hours?), asking for a status update, as the deadline was on the 12th. On JUNE 9, Fernando emailed me asking for the documents they needed to fill out, as apparently, they didn’t have either the Proof of Service-Summons form, which is on the LA County Superior Court website, as anyone who was a legitimate process server should have known, or a template for a Declaration of Due Diligence, again, something that a legitimate process server fills out on a nearly daily basis. I have had lengthy conversations about this and other related matters with the two additional companies I hired to complete this job: both of them told me that not knowing where to get something as simple as a proof of service-summons is simply inexcusable, as that’s something that they do MULTIPLE TIMES PER DAY. For a company who advertises for “attorney services” not to have them, or even where to get them, is simply unthinkable.
I was informed that the server was only able to serve ONE person via personal service, so I told either John or Fernando, I’m not sure whom at this point, that they would have to effect service by mail, which John told me that he would have their process server do. I was informed that the documents were mailed on June 10. Fernando then, in violation of one of the PRIMARY conditions of hire, which they conceded in their own written statements, told me that there was “no way” that they were going to be able to get the Declarations to me by the deadline.
This was the violation which essentially rendered them out of compliance with the terms of the contract, and I told him so. I reminded him that we had agreed that everything would be completed by June 12th so that I could file the papers with the court. Enter the endless stream of excuses as to why they couldn’t get it done: “it’s a lot of work,” “the guy has to type it up,” “he can’t get it done in this short period of time,” and, most atrocious, “it’s not a big deal, you still have time because only the service has to be by the 12th, you can still file the papers anytime.” This is going to be significant later when John is screaming at me over the phone that they’re not “legal professionals,” so providing this type of legal advice seems inappropriate.
So, I didn’t get my documents filed by the deadline I stipulated more than two weeks earlier when I entered into a contractual agreement with them. They simply didn’t do it. Literally, weeks passed, with no contact. I contacted them in late June about the four documents, and stated that I needed to get these filed as soon as possible. Of course, NOTHING had been done. I had been communicating primarily with Fernando, and when I asked why they hadn’t been working on them, John told me that he had attempted to call me but hadn’t heard back from me, so they were just waiting, doing nothing: not making attempts to contact me, not working on the paperwork in the interim, nothing.
The communication at this “company” is horrific. There wasn’t anything to contact me about, because I had already provided what they needed to get this job done. I cannot fathom that this is how this “company” would behave with an attorney’s office. What followed, however, was the most ridiculous farce imaginable. On June 25, TWO WEEKS after the deadline that I had stipulated nearly a month earlier, I was emailed copies of a half-completed template of the Declaration of Due Diligence that I had composed weeks earlier. I attached the documents this “company” sent me, which they expected me to file with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, to which someone may have to testify if the service was ever challenged with the original complaint, but unfortunately, you can't see them.
Basically, the person left all the general fields in place, with the original highlighting, and fabricated the information. He basically copied and pasted information from ONE of the declarations into all THREE of the declarations without even checking to see if it was accurate. For example, he copied and pasted information about a male security guard into the declaration for a female RN nurse administrator, because he was too lazy or incompetent, or both, to even look to see which one it was. I can't even describe what these templates looked like. Spacing, spelling errors, again with the terrible writing skills, as you see from their paragraph: same thing, but FAR WORSE. He even left the highlighting in place, without even filling out the appropriate fields! THIS is what this sorry excuse for a company sent me and expected me to file with the LA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT.
Bear in mind: THESE DECLARATIONS WERE SIGNED AND SWORN TO UNDER OATH. Fabricating information is perjury and a felony. Full stop. But it gets worse.
I sent an email to John in response, on 6/25/20. Basically, I spent 58 minutes on the phone with John, going over ONE of the Declarations, line by line, over the information John had composed to correct the first Declaration, like someone helping their grade-schooler with their book report. A third grader has better written communication skills than the person writing that two-and-a-half-page declaration (both my parents were special education teachers, so I’m very well acquainted with age-appropriate language skills), which this company also wants to laughably claim is “lengthy,” “extensive,” etc., in their statement above. Absolutely laughable. It might be considered lengthy, I suppose, if the person simply can’t write.
What resulted was an endless stream of excuses which have clearly, to judge from the ridiculous response to my complaint, continued unceasingly. In short, do you want the person serving YOUR legal documents, who may have to testify before a judge, making the following statements (which I have recorded verbatim, typed during the phone conversation, on 6/25)?
-“Are we not human? Don’t we get to make mistakes?”
-“We’re not legal professionals!” Yes, that's what John stated to me, verbatim, per my recorded notes.
No... no, you don’t get to make mistakes, with someone else’s legal documents. Mistakes sink lawsuits and get them tossed out of court. You don’t get to make a mistake with regard to proper procedure per the CA Code of Civil Procedure. NONE.
John told me while going over these documents that they just compose a declaration after the service is completed. Fernando, however, had told me the exact, polar opposite, specifically that an attorney services “company” has NO FORMS OR DOCUMENTS, and that I needed to send him the forms because they don’t have any. On this declaration, signed under penalty of perjury: the names were wrong, the date of mailing the documents was wrong, rendering the service invalid, and, most appallingly, the information for one of the named defendants was wrong (the person, as above, had simply copied and pasted EVERYTHING from the first statement into the other two without even bothering to check who the individuals in question were. As I stated, the information stating that someone was a male security guard was put into the declaration for a female RN at a hospital who was also a medical director, so the occupation and even the gender of the person was wrong. Again, these are sworn statements, signed under penalty of felony.
A half-hour later, I called back because I still didn’t have the documents (at 6:06 PM), whereupon John told me that he was going to send me one, but, in his own words, “I did a couple of things,” (i.e., correct even more mistakes). He sent me new versions at 7:31 PM, but he sent the WRONG VERSION FOR ONE OF THE THREE, so I had to call him back YET AGAIN and have him send yet another version, which I then had to correct. I had to spend another hour proofing the versions John had composed, because they were still so rife with errors, the likes of which you can see from the paragraph response to this BBB complaint, because the writing skills are so poor. Again, these were documents that I was going to have to file with the LA County Superior Court.
The following day, I believe it was, I was assembling all the documents to e-file with the court. I went back through the emails looking for the documents which had been emailed to me after the mailing, as Fernando told me that they were going to send them via the regular mail –but the only thing I had received in the mail were the receipts from the post office with the tracking numbers. I had previously asked about the Notices of Acknowledgement and Receipt, which must be sent along with mailed documents, which must be returned to the moving party (me), and, again, filed with the court.
To my absolute, abject horror, I discovered that their so-called process server (John calls him such in a text message I also attached to this initial complaint) had not me mailed the forms, nor emailed me the forms, which are required when serving a summons by mail. The procedure is, in fact, described on the proof of service summons court form I sent them, so the person they hired even had the instructions on how to do it, if they had been an actual professional process server, or if they had even read the form at all. Again, a professional process server should know how to properly serve these documents.
Recall, on their “company” website, it states specifically: “We have over 20 years of process service experience, and can be relied upon to serve your court papers successfully and exactly as directed or required by law... Since proper service plays a major role in calendaring and moving along the legal process, we always go above and beyond to ensure timely and successful service --in fact, we guarantee it!... Our process servers understand all relevant legal rules and deliver unparalleled customer service. We operate 24 hours a day and are able to complete most jobs within 48 hours.” Not even close.
I immediately contacted John, asking where these documents were, as Fernando told me that they were going to be mailed but that I hadn’t received them. To make a very long story (full of nothing but sorry excuses) short... there weren’t any.
The “licensed” process server that their “company” had hired had not included them with the packets which were mailed to the defendants... rendering the service totally and completely invalid. All of this had been for absolutely nothing.
As of June 26, TWO WEEKS after my specifically-expressed deadline, these documents had not been served on THREE out of the FOUR persons I had hired them to serve.
This company simply did not do the job I hired them to do, on account of their own incompetence.
When I brought this to John’s attention, I was met with nothing more than an absolute flood of sorry excuses, gaslighting, blaming me for not telling their “licensed” process server how to do his job – literally, blaming the client for their incompetence –backpeddling, and false statements, along with what I consider to be veiled threats.
The most appalling response, in his panic, was telling me, over and over, to FILE THE PAPERS ANYWAY. VERBATIM, from my recorded notes, John stated to me: “it's fine... nobody's going to look that close... just file what you have; it'll be fine... it’ll be fine... I’m telling you, just file what you have,” over and over.
Instructing me to file with the Los Angeles Superior Court falsified, incomplete, improperly-served documents that their contractor swore to have properly served, under oath, which would render me unable to pursue legal action against these defendants and complicit in perjury. Just file them anyway and maybe no one will look that closely. Unbelievable, and I believe, criminal.
The highlights are John’s verbatim statements, as recorded, in my notes - I attached the entire string of notes in the original BBB email, but you can't see it here, unfortunately
•“You have to understand...”, which he says after every other sentence. That’s how you know when someone is either lying or trying to cover up or make excuses for their mistakes.
•“You’re not focusing on all the things we did RIGHT! You’re only focusing on the mistakes!” Which led to the failure to serve my papers according to the timeline I stipulated and to which they agreed –the litany of grotesquely incompetent “mistakes” which rendered this service invalid.
•“You should know that we don’t know how to do that.”(i.e., serve documents, which they advertise for on their website)
•“We’ve never dealt with a pro per [self-represented litigant] before.” Recall on the website where it states that they serve attorneys, individuals and businesses?
•“We shouldn’t have even taken a case that’s this complicated.” (as in, locating individuals and serving court papers, which a professional skip trace and serve company ostensibly does every day, via those “licensed” process servers they advertise.
•“YOU’RE not taking responsibility for YOUR mistakes!” Enter the pathetic gaslighting. What would I take responsibility for? Not telling them how to do their job? I gave them everything they asked for, and more. The only “mistake” I made was hiring this fraudulent company.
•“WE'RE NOT PROCESS SERVERS!” “You should have known that we’re exempt.” Again, I have a text message, which I took a screen shot of, where John specifically calls the person he hired to serve my papers a "process server."
•And... as for all that information on the website, which is STILL active, with their current contact information, as of the time of writing this statement, I might add: “THAT'S OUR OLD WEBSITE: THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN DOWN... WE TELL EVERYONE TO GO TO THE NEW ONE.”
No, no one told me to go to the “new one.” I was unaware that there even was a “new one.” The “new one” does not appear in the search results; the one which appears is the one I saw, and called, as the number is still active, so, according to FCC regulations, or so I am informed, the company is still responsible for its content. If it’s a still-active website, with current contact information, there’s no such thing as an “old” website, if it’s still accessible to the public. A company is responsible for any of the content advertised if they’re paying for it and if it’s active on their company’s domain. Deviations from what is advertised is false or deceptive advertising, which falls under the pervue of the California State Attorney General’s office.
And, some of my favorites-veiled threats. These statements john made to me, VERBATIM:
•“If you report us [to the BBB or the Department of Consumer Affairs], you’re going to hurt our families!”
•“If you do that... [i.e., file a complaint] well... well... KARMA ON YOU! If you do that... you’re the bad person if you do that!”
•“I’ll do more but I want a guarantee that you’re not going to report us!” Essentially, holding my documents hostage by refusing to correct their mistakes unless I agreed, in writing, which he later demanded, not to hold them accountable.
•Statements from the day prior when I asked John if the BBB or the Department of Consumer Affairs would think that this was proper business practice, ranged from begging, “please, please, my reputation means everything... I’LL DO ANYTHING TO PROTECT MY REPUTATION, ”to “you’re a bad person if you report us.”
Anything? Read into that what you will. Bear in mind that I had someone contact one of my family members, several months ago, at the time I was looking to have these defendants served, threatening to rape and kill me. At present, that individual has not been identified, but law enforcement was involved.
I am here posting this company's entire reply, copied and pasted, word for word, letter for letter, to my initial complaint to the BBB, as it appears on the BBB website. I want you all to have both sides, specifically, what they posted. It is as follows:
"I am really not sure why Ms. Watts is filing this complaint . The only Explanation is that she wants a free service. I have attached a copy of the contract and the proof of the extensive services we did for her. She hired us to locate 4 individuals that were hard to locate and she wanted us to serve these documents. We quoted her $150 for each defendant locate/skip trace service. She paid a total of $600. We offered to do the process serving for FREE and also write up lengthy declaration in the case that we were unable to serve and needed to do mail in service. We do employ licensed process servers , however she was in need of a investigator to locate these individuals . Process servers dont locate or conduct skip tracing. More over , you dont need to be a process server to serve civil limited court docs. Under the professional and Business code a employee of a private investigation firm has the same powers to serve as a registered process server. We worked very thoroughly and diligently on this case and found the home address of all 4 defendants . We were able to serve one the the defendants and the other 3 would not answer the door on multiple attempts. We also visited there work place. However based on the covid 19 situation the work place was not available. Subsequently, We mailed the 3 defendant the documents as requested by Ms. Watts. Ms. Watts is representing herself and doesn't have an attorney and she is not qualified . According to her , she waited close to 3 years to file this case which reached the statutory of limitation to serve this defendants. she hired us 12 days before the statutory deadline to locate 4 people she had no clue where they lived ( and we were able to do it) . She asked us to mail the documents on June 9 same day mail service so it can reach the defendants on June 10 (statutory deadline).All this because she failed to file the case properly. Nonetheless, we did as she requested and paid $26 per defendant for next day mail service which totaled close to $80 and we didnt even charge her( i have attached this as well) . We mailed everything one time and we prepared a VERY lengthy Declaration for the 3 defendants for her to submit to court. She called me directly and stated that there was some mistakes on the declaration which i corrected to EXACTLY what she needed. I have also attached the declaration. Why she is claiming we falsified the declaration is beyond comprehension. I guess making minor mistakes on the declarations and than correcting them constitutes fraud in the reality of Ms. Watts only. BBB you can make a judgement on your own. I spoke to Ms. Watts just a few days before she left this complaint and she showed me the email from the opposing attorney that that everything was ok ( and basically confirmed that the defendants received notice) and that the attorney that is representing all 4 defendants, wants her to mail the complaint to her directly . I offered to mail the attorney my self. She said she would get back to me and never did and then she files this complaint. She was upset that we dont have the legal knowledge that she expects from I Guess a Private Investigator, process server, ect. We cant and dont give legal advice. she is having alot of issues with filing this case and continuing this case because she doesn't have a attorney and is not qualified or knowledgeable about what she is doing and waited 3 year to file this case. I am assuming that she is have difficulty with proceeding with this case, thats why she is trying to find excuses to blame other people that tired to help and give her free services. I should demand that she pay the $80.00 the over night mail costs she requested and all the other extra hours we did that she didnt pay us for."
The following is my response to this response to my initial complaint. The poorly-composed paragraph is exactly what I would expect, as it is precisely the same type of content which I have experienced in my dealings with them. As for the ridiculous statement that “she wants a free service”: there was NO SERVICE at all, for THREE out of the FOUR persons I needed to have served. In short, I was not provided the services I paid for. Full stop.
I want to respond directly to the points and statements made in the utterly convoluted, incomprehensible, so-called response submitted to the Better Business Bureau by someone from this company; I’m assuming it was “John.” As you can see from the response, submitted on 7-14-20, this person’s (I’m not certain precisely whom) written communication skills are exceedingly poor: even their response paragraph is rife with grammatical errors, spacing mistakes and misspellings throughout.
I get it: everyone makes a typo every once in a while; there are probably some in this statement of mine as well, but that paragraph is NOTHING compared to what was provided to me in the Declarations of Due Diligence, which this company expected me to file with the Los Angeles County Superior Court. I am putting my credulity on the line as well, when I contract with companies for services. It is inconceivable that someone would provide documents of this caliber to attorneys. This is, in short, the most unprofessional entity I have ever dealt with, and I previously worked for a market research firm which performed business evaluations; I’ve seen my fair share of unprofessionalism. Nothing compares to this.
•First, this company didn’t “offer” to do anything for “FREE.” Everything that I contracted for, including the process service and the “lengthy declaration,” which consisted of two paragraphs of narrative (I personally composed the entire template aside from the specific information regarding the service), hardly what I would call “lengthy,” unless one’s written communication skills are as poor as this person’s, was included in the services I contracted for. I have no idea what their typical charges are; I was quoted a flat rate of $600 for the entire job. Nor was I provided a detailed invoice, thus prompting the money-back guarantee, also.
•The person they hired to serve my documents was not a “licensed” process server. There is no such thing as a “licensed” process server in the state of California, as there is no license required, according to two other registered, “certified” process servers I spoke with. As I addressed above, this is a false claim in the first place. The person they hired was not even an experienced process server at all, although John calls him such: see the attached text message where John states that he is a “process server,” NOT an investigator. I needed both. That’s what I hired them for, because their website stated that they employed experienced process servers to handle the service once the individuals were located, by a “licensed” investigator.
•The person who served my documents was NOT the individual who did the skip tracing, as I discovered later: that was Fernando, according to Fernando himself, who verified that during the last phone conversation I had with him, contradicting what John had told me the night I went over the Declarations with him. I asked Fernando specifically who had conducted the skip tracing, as I was at that point very concerned that the person who served the documents was stating that HE was the one who had conducted the skip tracing, when Fernando had on a previous occasion stated that he was the one who did it. Also according to another skip tracer, to access the databases, the individual has to input their license information, so there should be a record, I believe, of who accessed the information of these four additional defendants. At this point, I do not know definitively who it was who did the actual skip trace searches, but Fernando stated to me that he was the one who performed it, in direct contradiction to what it states on the sworn declarations, which is the reason why I did not want to go forward with having anyone from this company perform any additional services.
•It is irrelevant whether an employee of a private investigation firm “has the same powers to serve as a registered process server.” ANYONE who is not a party to a legal action has the “power” to serve documents. That’s not the issue; the issue is that the website, again, states: “We have over 20 years of process service experience, and can be relied upon to serve your court papers successfully and exactly as directed or required by law... Our process servers understand all relevant legal rules and deliver unparalleled customer service.” Why would they have an investigator, who is inexperienced in serving documents, serve my documents, instead of the experienced process servers they claim to work with? In sum, the person who served my documents had no idea what they were doing. They had no idea how to fill out a Declaration, or how to effect service by mail, even though the instructions were on the paperwork I gave them, which provided the regulations stipulated by the Code of Civil Procedure, had the person bothered to even read the paperwork. Serving my documents properly was their responsibility, and, due to unfathomable incompetence, they failed, rendering the service, and all this effort, INVALID.
•It is not my responsibility to instruct their process servers with twenty years of experience, who “understand all relevant legal rules” on how to do their job. I hired these people to find these defendants and to serve the papers in accord with the Code of Civil Procedure.
•This company didn’t work “thoroughly and diligently” on anything: I gave them the vast majority of the information even regarding these four defendants. They only had to work “diligently” to correct their repeated egregious errors due to their own incompetence.
•I’m not qualified to do what, precisely? I have been litigating this case, on my own, with minimal legal training, for more than three years. This legal action has survived multiple demurrers, motions to strike, and strenuous efforts by opposing counsel to have it dismissed. This legal action has survived six judges, three courthouses, two medical malpractice law firms and FIVE managing attorneys. I know how to serve documents. I simply can’t do it myself, per the Code of Civil Procedure, so I have no idea what this person is alluding to in stating that I am “not qualified,” other than to make yet another pathetic attempt to deflect any and all responsibility from himself and his employees, onto his client, who hired his company for their expertise in providing legal services. Pathetic.
As is the statement “she failed to file the case properly.” Again with the gaslighting. This is what you will get from this company when they invariably do something wrong. You will have YOUR contractor blame YOU for THEIR indefensible screw-ups.
Provide some evidence that I “failed to file the case properly.” Prove this idiotic statement, trying to blame me for their incompetence. This ignoramus has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about, nor does he know how to file a case at all, let alone litigate it. This person needs take responsibility for all his own errors and mistakes but that's not going to happen. It gets worse.
•Regarding the statements that “she waited close to three years to file this case...” yet again, this is an indefensible lie. This ignorant person has not even the basic ability to comprehend a rudimentary explanation of the facts. He cannot understand even the most basic aspects of the legal process, even after having them explained to him multiple times, as he has absolutely no familiarity with the legal system. Bear in mind: this person sells professional attorney services for a living.
•This case was filed June 12, 2017. I have no idea what this person is talking about when he claims that I “waited close to 3 years to file this case.” Yet again, this is entirely and easily provably false. I’m sick of his pathetic lies, trying to point the finger and blame someone else to cover his own mistakes. That statement constitutes yet another pathetic attempt to deflect responsibility for his endless stream of screw-ups. I tried my best to explain how this works, in the simplest terms possible, which, as demonstrated here, is obviously still too complicated for him to comprehend, that I was uncertain whether the three-year statutory deadline to add ADDITIONAL named defendants to an already-active legal action applied to DOE DEFENDANTS, but, just to be certain, I wanted to have everything completed by June 12th.
Nor did I know how the changes to legal procedure due to COVID-19 could affect potential statutory deadlines (neither did any of the attorneys I spoke with, in fact), so, just to be safe, I wanted to have all this completed by the three-year deadline after I had filed the case...in 2017!
•His statement that I waited three years to file the case is a preposterous lie, again, due to his own failure to do the work and confirm the facts of the claims he’s making... more in a minute on that. As I tried to explain, apparently unsuccessfully: as I am continuing the discovery process, which involves a series of written interrogatories, subpoenas for records, investigations, depositions, and the like, more information comes to light, including the identities of additional persons involved. That’s how they were serving: the persons whose identities I discovered, and verified via those written Interrogatories I mentioned, on APRIL 19, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 issues, it took me some additional time to file the motions, have the substituted Doe Amendment forms filed with the court and to get the returned stamped copies, ALL OF WHICH I HAD TO HAVE TO SERVE THESE DEFENDANTS. Again, this person has absolutely no comprehension of the legal process. I am, in fact, STILL engaged in the discovery process, having filed twelve Motions to Compel Further Discovery Responses, and having had a recent Informal Discovery Conference with the judge.
Over the course of a legal action, litigants ask the other side for information: documents, records, statements, reports, recordings, photographs, etc., etc., etc. You learn stuff as time goes on and you research the case based on what the other side has. That’s how a lawsuit works. Not that he would know. He just provides attorney services for a living.
•In any event, it is irrelevant when I filed the case, or when I did anything else related to litigation. I informed Fernando, his employee (maybe), that I needed this job completed by June 12. He agreed that it would be done by or on that date, including the submission of any and all Declarations, if needed. This company failed to make good on a contractual agreement, on a number of counts, and on June 11th, Fernando told me that they couldn’t get it done by the 12th, in violation of the terms of the services I contracted for, a major condition of hire. Otherwise, I would have gone with companies I have used previously. They just didn't know if they would be able to meet the time deadline, which is why I went with these people.
•The statutory deadline in question was potentially June 12, not June 10th. Again, nothing but factual errors throughout, because he’s too lazy to go back and look at the emails to verify the dates when responding to this complaint. I also hired them on May 27th, per the actual contract, which they could look at also if they were concerned about accuracy.
All of these basic factual errors you see here result from a simple lack of diligence, care or effort (can you count the days on a calendar, from May 27th until June 12? That’s not 12 days, is it?)
This is just another example of the abject carelessness and thoughtlessness I have experienced throughout my dealings with this company. Just do the work! Count the days on the calendar from the time I hired you until June 12th, and get it right! Everything they do is LAZY and SLOPPY! It was more than TWO WEEKS from the date I hired them until the deadline I gave them. Remember where it states on the website that most jobs are completed in 48 hours? That’s apparently an untrue claim, also.
•Regarding the statement “she had no clue where they lived.” Yet another blatant, provable lie. I provided them last known addresses (MULTIPLE, in fact), of THREE out of the FOUR persons I needed served. I gave them phone numbers, dates of birth, last known addresses, license numbers, place of employment, police reports, you name it: claiming that I “had no clue” is again, a ridiculous lie, easily disproved by the multiple emails I sent Fernando. Is Fernando just doing this job on the side, and you have no idea what went on behind your back? This is why I believe that may be the case: the person who wrote this statement is either lying, or has no idea what went on. In any event, check Fernando’s gmail account to see all the detailed information I sent him about each of these parties. Yet again, too lazy or incompetent to verify the facts before making a provably false claim.
•They didn’t charge me for mailing because that was in the contract: I hired this company to LOCATE and SERVE these four defendants, whatever that took, including the very real possibility that they would have to be served by certified mail. Their waiting until the last minute to complete the job is why they had to have the guy send them via overnight mail, which cost $80. That’s their own fault. They should have had that job completed a week prior, as they had more than two weeks to complete it. Why they waited until the last minute, I cannot fathom, other than they’re just grotesquely incompetent. None of this should have involved me at all: they would never treat a law firm in this manner, because if they screwed them over like they did me, and failed to properly serve documents, which could completely sink someone’s multi-million-dollar lawsuit, that attorney would destroy their life. I hired them to complete a job, which was never completed. Full stop.
•As above, regarding the statement that “we mailed everything one time” (? Does he mean “on time?”), but, again, that’s irrelevant, as their process server, or whatever, did not follow proper procedure, and failed to send the Notice of Acknowledgement and Receipt, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, per the Code of Civil Procedure, which was stated on the Proof of Service of Summons form I provided to them. It’s up to them to know how to serve these documents, and he didn’t do it right, rendering the service, and ALL this, invalid. These defendants were not served.
•If by “VERY lengthy Declaration,” you mean the three-page-and-change document they wrote. You can judge for yourself as to what constitutes “some” mistakes, based on what I described above. I'm very sorry that I can't upload them here so that you can see what they sent me for yourself. I believe that I am able to do that on Yelp, which I WILL do if I am able, because you need to see these documents to believe it.
What I mean by falsifying the declaration, as above, is that the lazy incompetent who filled it out simply copied and pasted the same information into all three declarations, without even bothering to see who it was they were serving, and then signed them UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY. He called a female RN administrator a male security guard on this form, and expected AND INSTRUCTED me to file this FALSIFIED document with the Los Angeles County Superior Court. That’s not a mistake. This is a document, sworn to under oath, under penalty of perjury and felony. This person would face criminal charges if I submitted that document to the court.
•It is irrelevant if they were “corrected.” Signing these falsified documents is perjury. Full stop. That’s not a minor error: again, this person is refusing to take any responsibility for a very serious and damaging occurrence, putting himself and his employees in legal jeopardy, and he is trying to downplay what they did, in which he is apparently complicit. I also state that I believe that these were falsified, leading me to completely terminate dealings with this company, because Fernando told me that HE did the skip trace, not the person who claims to have done EVERYTHING on the Declarations, as I later found out. I cannot take the chance that these, too, are untrue, and file them with the court, which would make me complicit in submitting falsified documents.
•Again with the factual errors: only ONE of the defendants received the documents that were mailed out to them, or at least acknowledged it, although I had to have ANOTHER company mail out a SECOND set of documents to them, to be in compliance with the Code, and the last person was served via personal service, inside a locked gate, which their person couldn’t access. Only ONE of the three, not four, apparently received the documents they mailed.
•Regarding me never getting back to them to have them serve it again: that’s about the only true thing in his statement. I terminated any and all contact with this company when Fernando essentially told me that John and this process server had basically committed perjury, in stating on a sworn statement that the person who served the documents did everything else as well, which was what I had suspected. That was indeed the last straw for me. I could not take the chance on submitting documents that were not accurate, and I was simply finished dealing with them at that point. I hired two additional companies to complete this job, and it was done right, and in less than a week.
•Again: me not having an attorney has nothing to do with him. They simply didn’t perform the services I hired them for. That has nothing to do with how this case is litigated. He doesn’t get to play armchair quarterback when he can’t even correctly perform the professional services he sells to the public. The blame is entirely theirs: they claimed to work with “licensed” professional process servers, who ended up not knowing how to do their job, and rather than take a chance on any more screw-ups, I went with someone else.
They violated the terms of the contract by failing to complete the job at all, let alone in the time period I stipulated, and then, I believe, committed perjury, a felony, by lying on a sworn statement as to the facts of this service. I didn’t get anything for free. There are no extra hours, or charges for mailing. I hired them to do a job, and they simply didn’t do it. The end.
I am asking for a refund of $450, for the THREE individuals who were not properly served. If I am not provided a refund, I intend to take additional legal action to recover these funds, as I did not receive the services I paid for. It may be a while, because of the COVID restrictions on court processes, but I will not let this slide. I will take action. Clearly, I don’t need an attorney; I file my own legal actions, and litigate them... for years, if necessary.
As an addendum to this complaint which I filed with the BBB, above: there are even more developments, and even more serious violations, which, under the terms of service, I'm actually not even allowed to post here. I will elsewhere if I can... because I'm not going away.
I can say this: their response to this statement was to send a statement to the BBB informing the evaluator that whoever wrote this statement had snooped into my personal information, obviously using the databases they have access to, unauthorized, in an attempt to dig up dirt on me (there isn't any: no criminal records, no history of wrongdoing, no illicit activities, drug use, nothing, not so much as a traffic ticket), to try to make themselves look less guilty.
That's what you'll get from this company if there's a dispute: someone accessing these databases to try to dig up dirt about your personal and professional life, including INFORMATION ABOUT MEDICAL HISTORY - YES, YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION (I am profoundly disabled, in addition, notwithstanding my multiple graduate degrees) - to submit to an unauthorized third party, and/or post it on the internet (BBB complaints are public, accessible to the general public for three years), in an attempt to deflect responsibility away from them to attack you personally. John and Fernando were also bragging that they knew "cops" who could look up things...
What there was NOT, was ONE SINGLE WORD OR STATEMENT ATTEMPTING TO REFUTE ANY OF MY STATEMENTS ABOVE. Not one. This responder did not engage with a single point I raised in response to the BBB about my allegations. Not one refutation of the factual, accurate statements I made above, because they can't. There is no excuse for what they did. They can't even refute it or come up with a decent excuse.
All they did in response was to try to attack me personally and again issue a veiled threat that they had accessed my personal information and were trying to make ME appear non-credible, instead of engaging with my specific allegations and complaints.
As I stated in my reply, which I wish I could post here, but I'm just not allowed: I'm not intimidated by what you think you know about me. I hope you also saw what I do to hold violators accountable when engaging in your unauthorized search of my personal data. As I also stated, two can play that game: you're not the only place in town which performs skip tracing. I think looking at your documented violations per the Department of Consumer Affairs and who-knows-what-else is preferable, however. That validates the validity, accuracy and CREDIBILITY of my statements to an even greater degree.
I want to talk about this more, and the actions I'm going to take next, but I'm simply not permitted to do so here, if I want this review to be posted at all to warn readers about my experiences.
Final word here: this is just my (admittedly appalling) experience, but it wasn't a single experience. It took place over several weeks, and things just got worse and worse, and again, yesterday, in receiving the response to this statement, which I'm very dismayed that I can't talk about here. Do your own research. There is a lot of information available about this and other companies out there, but it's sometimes difficult to find and access. That's why it's so vital to provide specifics and cast the net far and wide in terms of reporting violations and improper activities when they occur, so people have as much information as possible about the persons with whom they are seeking to do business.
Oh, one more thing… not that they would know, as God knows they haven't done the work, which is exactly what I would expect:
DISCRIMINATING AGAINST AN INDIVIDUAL FOR A DOCUMENTED DISABILITY IS ILLEGAL. Might want to check out the Unruh Civil Rights Act in the state of California. "California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civil Code Section 51) and Disabled Persons Act (Civil Code Sections 54 – 55.32) prohibit disability-based discrimination by any business establishment."
REFUSING TO OFFER SERVICES TO SOMEONE ON THE GROUNDS OF THEIR PHYSICAL OR MENTAL DISABILITY IS A VIOLATION OF STATE AND POSSIBLY FEDERAL (ADA) LAW.
A company cannot reserve the right to refuse service to someone because of their race, or gender identity, or sexual orientation, or religion, or DISABILITY. And the author of the response stated that that's what they do - in writing. That's their standing company policy: systematic, intentional, institutionalized discrimination based on a protected class of disability. And how would they know what someone’s disability is? They’re not even legally allowed to ask. Per their statement in yet another response: SOMETIMES “we can’t really tell until the case is completed.” How do you tell at all? Why would they even try to determine what someone's disability is, especially after a case is “completed?” What business is that of theirs? They’re not medical professionals. They’re not professionals at all.
The short answer is: they go snooping through people's records and private information to invade their privacy to post it on the internet and to give it to unauthorized, third-parties, like they did with me, in an attempt to discredit an individual or their motives, based on something like their disability.
Their appalling actions just keep compounding the violations. There are no words to describe this person's incomparable stupidity. There are no words to describe these vile, putrescent bigots. I hope their own words and deeds have exposed them sufficient to put them out of business.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/26/2020 09:39 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/report/excell-investigations/downey-ca-failure-properly-1500287. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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