Tips for Documenting Your Case
Here are some tips to help you when dealing with a consumer problem:
Importance and Completeness of Documentation -- Consumer law cases are "document-intensive." The information in your documents can prove your case in court. Sometimes, the smallest-seeming detail or notation can make a difference. All of your documents are important for comparing information on them. The time and effort you take to thoroughly search through your records in all locations can help make sure you haven't missed any critical documents that might show whether you have a claim.
Documents that may seem like duplicates may be different. Sometimes there are very small, but legally significant, differences in documents that otherwise appear to be the same.
Keep all documents, letters, envelopes and notes relating to your problem. These often contain important information that can make a difference or help prove your case. If you are not sure whether to keep a document, keep it. Keep envelopes together with the letter or document that came in them. Stapling them together is a good way to do this.
Don't mark on your original documents. These may be needed as evidence if you have a case. Make any notes, if necessary, in pencil (which can be erased) or on a post-it. If you must highlight something on a copy, a yellow high-lighter does not show up on later photocopies.
Arrange documents in chronological order. This helps you preserve the order of events. Put them in a folder or envelope and keep them together in a safe place.
Certified Mail -- All correspondence to others regarding your problem should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. This is extremely important. Sometimes a party's failure to respond to you may be necessary to prove your claims. Certified mail helps prove the other party received your letter and the exact date they received it. Be sure to get a cash receipt from the Post Office in such cases and record the expense for later. This could also be an element of your damages if you have a case.
Copies of Certified Mail -- It is important to make sure all your letters contain your return address and the date and that you keep a photocopy of the letter containing your signature. Whenever you send certified mail, keep a copy of any enclosures stapled to the letter, along with both of the certified mail receipts: the green & white paper receipt you received when mailed and the green postcard showing the date of delivery.