My question involves court procedures for the state of: UT (However I believe it's also PA, because the business is located in PA. The contract was signed by me in UT.)
I've got a small claims suit in about two weeks. I'm suing my publisher for breach of contract. They're a self-publisher; I paid them about $3k to print books and get a package that included a website. It's been two years, this company basically can't find their ass with both hands, a flashlight, and a special ass map.
The absolute bare bones is that their contract says they'll issue statements every 90 days, and they don't. I got one statement from them after requesting it and it was wrong and had to be corrected. I also have not received my website. I am not receiving royalty checks, but I don't know what sales I've made that would indicate I need to be paid? The rest of the contract s pretty vague. I got a free consultation with a lawyer who said the contract was "Very basic", and there's plenty of room for interpretation. A lot of arguments could be made saying "It doesn't say that" but also "It doesn't NOT say that, either."
For example: it says nothing about how the website hashes out. Just "We'll make you a website." They told me "Well, you need to pay for a Wordpress expansion for $X for the year." I said "My contract says nothing about me shelling out any extra money for the website. The website was part of the package I purchased. I'm not paying you any extra money." They equivocated, then tried to say my domain name would belong to them for a year after I signed it over to them and then I "was on my own." When I asked further questions I got no answer, the work on the website stalled, and it was right around the time I was fed up and filing anyway.
Expanded stuff is they don't pick up the phones, they don't communicate, and they offer stuff they should have been doing in the first place as a favor to you; i.e."Why don't we get your royalty check sent out to you?" Two weeks later, no royalty check, etc. It took 4 months to receive a print order that was supposed to take 4-6 weeks and that damaged my ability to market myself at a comic convention. A lot of the contract is extremely vague and basically says "It's not our fault if your book is shitty so we're not responsible for it being shitty" but the book itself was laid out by me and the product isn't bad. It's just absolutely everything surrounding it. I can't get customer service to save my life, I can't print the damn thing, and I'm on my own marketing wise despite them saying they'd help and a "book launch" being part of my book package.
I have a timeline with emails and texts showing a lot of verbal promises; "We can offer you a $700 marketing package instead of a refund", marketing package never materialized. "Your check is in the mail", check never came. I had a particular person assigned to me after a while who dodged my calls and emails for updates and who eventually left the company. (When I sent him a copy of the summons I got an email in all caps telling me he's no longer affiliated with the company and to refer information to the CEO, who was the other name on the summons.)
I'm learning as I go; I just found out BBB reviews are hearsay, so that's kind of a bummer because it shows other people having the same problems I do - fake promises, orders taking forever to fulfill, bad communication.
I want to cancel my contract with the company and get my money back, basically. They wasted 2 years of my life.
But any assistance or due diligence I can do before then would be appreciated. I can post a redacted version of the contract if it would help.