Information on Ohio's Consumer Laws from Attorney Daniel Myers, Myers Law, LLC, not legal advice
You’ve heard about them on the radio, companies saying your property tax assessments are too high, and guaranteeing that you can get them reduced by buying their services. Did you know some of these companies might be providing useless information at a premium cost to you? Did you know you can find this information for free yourself? I don’t represent people in tax appeals, but I do represent consumers who have been harmed by bad businesses.
Some of these companies are actually violating Ohio law by preparing and filing your Complaint with the County Board of Revision–only you, yourself, or a licensed attorney, can prepare and file a Complaint. Courts and boards can throw out appeals and documents filed by non-lawyers for others. When you have a legal issue (such as your property tax valuation) it is dangerous to rely on the opinion of a non-lawyer. Would you ask a car mechanic to perform surgery on you? Would you ask a surgeon to fix your car’s exhaust?
Some of these companies make you pay for a worthless product. I have spoken with at least one attorney in Lorain County, Ohio, who has told me that Boards of Revision have thrown out appeals brought by homeowners because the “evidence” provided by some companies does not comply with the rules required by those boards. For example, the Board of Revision in Cuyahoga County, requires all evidence to meet certain criteria. I reviewed one well known company that guarantees a lower tax assessment. Their “sample report” fails to meet the requirements of the Cuyahoga County Board of Revision evidence rules, which means if you used that report in Cuyahoga County, your appeal could very well be thrown out, dismissed, or denied.
Some of these companies may guarantee you your money back–but that may not cover all of your costs. Your appearance at a hearing will likely require you to take time off of work, pay for parking, take time to prepare for the hearing, etc. Your time is valuable, and there is stress involved with any formal hearing. You might get a refund that you have to wait for, but you’ve also got a headache and a lot of wasted time on your hands.
Luckily, Ohio consumer laws may offer you protection. If you recently (in the past year) purchased services from one of these companies, contact a lawyer immediately to see if anything can be done for you–you may be legally entitled to more than just a refund.
Just remember, if a company offers you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have been harmed by one of these companies, contact an attorney to vindicate your rights.