Is Anyone Complaining?
In July 2014 I received a telephone call from NAPPS President Eric Vennes asking if I would like to be the Arbitration & Grievance Chair. Of course I said I would! Especially after Mr. Vennes told me that there would only be around 50 cases per year.
Certainly no one could have imagined that here we are, merely four months into my reign as Chairperson, dealing with the 56th case. My poor panel members have been so busy. I sincerely appreciate their assistance with each and every case that comes across their desks.
There does appear to be some similarities between the cases that are being received. Such as a dissatisfied member submitting an unethical complaint within days of not receiving the affidavit they requested. How long should one wait for an affidavit? What is considered “timely” regarding a proof of service?
We had one case during this period in which the member filed a Non-Payment Complaint against another member. During the course of the arbitration process it was discovered that the filing member took three months to attempt the service. Who would pay for that service?
This opportunity has certainly introduced me to some colorful characters and provided me with some insight regarding the service of process profession across the country.
Granted, some of us may become upset with each other for being unable to follow instructions clearly (or provide clear instructions for that matter) or we may misplace an invoice. But how hard is it, really, to be professional with one another and admit it? If the matter is truly one that can not be settled between yourselves, by all means send the complaint over to me. I'll be happy to put it through the procedure. However, if the matter is smothered with emotion you may wish to wait a couple of days before jumping the gun and filing a complaint. Did the affidavit arrive? Was the court hearing held? Did you (or they) perform the services as were requested?
We all have lives outside of this profession which may pull us away at times. Just be honest about the problems that may have arisen either by your hand or at no fault of your own and offer to console your client. If you did not like doing business with another member, you are not obligated to continue doing business with them.
Don't take this article as means of deterring you from filing a complaint. Feel free to send them over for any reason you feel is just. Just remember that complaining is not always the solution.
And thank you, Eric Vennes.