Stanford freshman Joshua Browder has made it easier to sue almost anyone in the US with a push of a button. Browder developed the DoNotPay app that allows you to file a lawsuit for up to $25,000 in small claims court.
"The app generates everything, from filing documents, a script to read in court and even an entire strategy for when the defendant tries to challenge you," Browder said on his Twitter.
DoNotPay goes a step further and makes saving money every day more achievable.
Browder told Download.com that he originally created DoNotPay to help his friends deal with parking fines.
"When I turned 17 I got over a dozen parking tickets and realized how unfair the legal system was," Browder said. "But its popularity in appealing over $16 million worth of tickets made me realize that using software to fight corporations and replace lawyers is bigger than just a few traffic tickets."
The app is pretty easy to navigate and everything is free. With rates for attorneys running anywhere between $50 to $1,000 per hour, free is good.
When you open DoNotPay, tap "Get My Money" and enter your phone number. The app will send a verification code before you can get started.
Tap "Start Saving" and the app lets you pick from bank fee refunds, free government and settlement money, free prescription drugs, ridesharing refunds, phone network service, maximize privacy settings, travel price protection, fixing credit report errors, refunds for late package delivery, free fast food, and fraud protection.
"Our goal is to level the playing field and make legal help accessible to the most vulnerable in our society," the app's Terms of Service said.
To help you get refunds from your bank or other places through the app, it asks for bank information, access to your email, or prescription names.
DoNotPay seems to be pretty transparent about what it will do with the information, but it might cause some users to hesitate. The news runs stories daily about hacking and companies selling your data to third-parties.
Browder said DoNotPay doesn't save user data anywhere after a refund is complete. The app uses 256-bit SSL encryption in tandem with Very Good Security (VGS). The company's Twitter page says it's the "best way to collect, protect, and share sensitive data."
Browder said he understood users having doubts about trusting a bot.
"Of course, the average user probably doesn't know what VGS is, but I hope that gradually over time we can win more and more users' trust," he told Download. "We see users start out with the truly anonymous products (like the DMV one), see that those work and then, as a result, trust the security partnerships of the other ones."
Browder said that even though suing someone doesn't require a lot of data in the first place, he doesn't expect users to go after a big corporation the first time around.
In its Terms of Service, DoNotPay says it's not a law firm, its services don't constitute legal advice, and it's not protected under attorney-client privilege. It's a "platform for legal information and self-help."
The app's Terms of Service also seemed straightforward and easy to understand.
Essentially DoNotPay cuts a few steps out of the more traditional legal process and gives users a better chance of standing on their own two feet in a courtroom.
Browder said the app handles cases based on how much an individual state's small claims court limit. For example, Tennessee pays up to $25,000, but California caps at $10,000.
"One example of a case where [DoNotPay] won is against Equifax for the data breach, where they got $9,000," Browder said.
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- DoNotPay was created by Stanford freshman Joshua Browder. The app helps you get refunds from your bank, the DMV, more affordable prescription medication, and more.
- The app requires some personal information from its users, Browder said the app doesn't keep any information after a refund is complete.
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