Working with a bail bondsman
I had never known anyone in prison until my friend was accused of making a threat against his child’s school. He wanted them to take care of a situation with his child and got into a heated debate with the principal. Things got out of hand and the principal called the police and said he was making threats. He was arrested and called me for help. Being the good friend that I was, I helped him make bail by going to a bail bondsman.
In just about every city in the country, all you have to do is looking around at billboards, bus shelters and the back of taxis and you’re bound to see an advertisement for a bail bondsman. For me, I happened to remember one that was on my way to my office every morning so his business stuck in my head.
I had never worked with a bail bondsman before and I really think this guy was trying to rip me off, and probably everyone else, too. He was making up fake fees about using his service. I put up my car for collateral for the bail amount. While reading the paperwork I noticed that everything was in there to protect him from me not running away or my friend when he got out of jail. While we were finishing the transaction he made a claim that as soon as my friend got out of jail he was required to call him immediately to let him know that he’d been released. He said that it was up to my friend to contact him even if he didn’t answer the phone. He said that my friend would still owes him the $500 missing fee even if he doesn’t answer the phone. I know that wasn’t in the contract. I told him, “we’re done here”, and he backed off. “No”, he said, “we’re okay, it’s just to protect me”. It’s bad enough I have to deal with getting my friend out of jail and now I have to deal with him!
Luckily my friend’s case was dismissed. A lien was never officially put on my car and everything was fine. This experience made me think that if someone was not as intuitive they might not catch the fake fees. So please be careful and make sure you understand the arrangements you make with the bail bondsman.