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We hired an LA-based PR agency to do promotion and other related activities for our incoming crowdfunding project. We have been lied to for more than a 1.5 month, constantly told that PR is ongoing while no proof was provided at all and requests for it constantly evaded. In result our campaign had to be cancelled shortly after its launch and all money and effort invested went down the drain. After sending ultimatum for either proof to be given or our fee returned ( $1500.00) we have received numerous emails from the CEO how his life was in ruins, he got separated from his wife and so on.

So, I'd like to ask for an advice on how to go best about getting our money back.

Small claims is an option, however I am left with the impression that I cannot do that from overseas. We are based in Bulgaria, EU. Another thing is that I found other people burned by those scammers and in regards to that is class action lawsuit viable option?

Will appreciate any advice. Thinking of it money is important but more important is the fact that those people arrogance continues to grow and apparently we are just the next victim in line and I do not want to leave it like that!

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    Take a look at the contract to see if there is a forum selection clause that specifies where disputes are to be litigated. International suits are messy, in my experience. So personally, I'd try as many other avenues as you have first... – Pat W. May 7 '16 at 18:26
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We can't suggest a course of action for you, but we can say something about the basic legal facts. One does not need to be a US citizen to sue in US courts. Under 28 U.S.C § 1332 there is an option to sue in federal courts if the matter is between citizens of a state and subjects of a foreign state (unless the foreign subject is a permanent resident of that state). However, the amount has to be over $75,000. That probably leaves the matter to the California court: contracts often include clauses about where legal disputes will be settled (there might even be a binding arbitration clause). You would be allowed to file a suit, and the California courts nicely provide an outline of what you need to do. You will either need to appear, yourself, to plead your case, or hire an attorney to do so on your behalf. As for small claims court, you would have to plead the case yourself (attorneys are not allowed).

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  • It seems very unlikely that any of these things can be accomplished for less than $1500, so unfortunately, the best business decision may be just to write it off. – Nate Eldredge May 8 '16 at 0:17
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You could hire an attorney local to where the PR firm is, but this is pretty expensive for the dollar amount at issue. You could also try to mediate the dispute e.g. by filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau where the company is located. While they don't carry legal authority, they carry some weight in the field of commerce and can be helpful in resolving smallish disputes with companies that value their reputation (as a PR firm likely would). The BBB will publicly report something about your complaint and whether or not the company tried to fix the issues.

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Thank you all for the quick response!

Apparently the threat to report them to the FTC and FBI online scam Dpt. did its job, my money were returned in full last night.

Thank you all again and have a great week ahead!

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