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Someone registers a DBA of "Bob Bobby" with the state. However, on the contracts, they sign as [legal name] DBA Bob's Services.

Or, they create a website called bobsservices.com, and on the website, there is an About section describing Bob Bobby, implying that Bob Bobby is the owner of the website/business, even though none of those are legal names, and only Bob Bobby is the registered DBA.

Should two DBAs be registered? Or does it not make a big difference? One person from another post suggested that there is no legal difference, only marketing concerns. I'm not sure how strict things are regarding DBA.

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For purposes of the validity of contracts, the intent of the parties controls and if the name is close enough, that may be sufficient.

But, using a name different than one's real name or a registered trade name could cause problems because using an unregistered trade name makes it difficult to identify the person who needs to be sued in a lawsuit. This is particularly true if the names are different enough that a search of the trade name used would not reveal the correct trade name.

For example, if someone had to pay a private investigator $3,000 to determine that "Bob Bobby" and "Bob's Services" which the same underlying individual Bob Jones, a judge might very well sanction Bob Jones for causing the person trying to sue him to incur additional investigation fees because he failed to register a tradename under which he was actually doing business.

In a worst case scenario, a judge might allow a default judgment served upon "Bob Bobby" at its last known address to enter against the person to be identified in the future who did business under that tradename, since the inability to secure better service of process was due to the inexcusable neglect of the defendant.

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  • Yeah of course I can't use random fake names as my business or on contracts. The whole intent of DBA is to solve the problem of "difficult to identify the person who needs to be sued in a lawsuit", no?
    – No Name
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 3:29
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    @NoName - But in your example, the counterparty to the contract sees "Bob's Services" as the DBA, which is not registered, and a web site which implies that the company is owned by a human named "Bob Bobby". They'd have no logical reason to search for a company named "Bob Bobby". There would seem to be no legitimate business purpose to setting the entities up this way so you'd be setting yourself up for the judge to infer that you intended to deceive the counterparty. Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 7:45

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