Work truck was sued for advertisement but my neighbors were not

31 Replies

@Jenn Kampmeier-Aaron I understand that you are not a fan of some of the responses here and are now dismissing most everyone. However, remember that you asked questions; therefore you must expect some responses and answers, even if you don't like them.

Great points were made by @Thomas S. to you that do indeed apply to your situation. This is not the first time people try to dismiss his comments by saying "things are different in the US than Canada" when his comment wasn't even Canadian-specific. He can come across rough, but he usually makes good points. And the point here was that your actions have not helped you. Your actions have made your situation even more tough. 

I, too, do not understand why you'd go ask a neighbor if he's been fined for his truck, and then immediately go report him. The other good point he made was that you IGNORED the warning that you received before this whole thing became a problem.

It sounds like you have a path forward. Best wishes for the best outcome.

Originally posted by @Mike Cumbie :

Ever gone fishing?

Ever caught them all?

You can try and fight it for selective enforcement. It's your money. All they have to say is "Fred came in to a board meeting and requested a variance, which was granted". Did you go in and ask for a variance?

As far as "How can the HOA provide my information": They most likely showed him the complaint with the pictures taken from your front window and used deductive reasoning to decide what house the pictures came from.

This is my personal opinion from being on several boards and from being involved in plenty of situations, not necessarily the views of this station:

When something happens you disagree with fight the rules, request changes, be civil and polite. Try and work the system to make it better or find a way around that everyone is happy with. Going around reporting others, trying to get other people to feel your pain by having it them self is just dirty pool. Do you realize how many non-DOS compliant RE signs are up around me? It would be a full time job for me to run around and report them all. I have better things to do with my time. Secondly most of them are clueless to the rules so when I miss a rule, I'd rather not have everyone I reported getting their opportunity to get back at me.

As far as you having the truck in your driveway 10 times over 18 months just long enough to load and unload is not why you got in trouble. If that was the case they would not know if you were a customer or the owner. If your wine truck was parked off site 17 months and 21 days over the last year and a half then nobody would have any idea you were running a business out of your home. Anybody would think you had a business over at some other property. If you decided to send out flyers with your address and put a sign up or send out email marketing with your home address...... Or had boxes and boxes of wine out where people could consider it an eyesore, then that's how they figured it out.

I do wish you the best and hope the situation gets resolved to everyone's satisfaction. 

Mike-

Thank you for taking the time to provide your thoughts.

I did want to take a moment to clarify a couple of things.

- Variance: Yes, I did ask them for this and they HOA stated that was not an option.

- What I was trying to convey and I guess I did not make my point clear was that I sent an email to the HOA with pictures of the three homeowners with their work trucks and advertising. I asked them if they could please explain how my work truck with ads is different from the three. I have never heard back from them.

Instead, what the HOA did was forward my email with my contact information to the homeowner. I live 2 streets away so the pics were taken from my SUV in front of his driveway. I know that they did this b/c he contacted me via FB and sent me a direct message stating that the HOA gave him my info. The HOA made that intentional.

- We do very little marketing and with that our marketing is  B to C.  90% of our customers are business owners or events.  I was not advertising to anyone in the neighborhood nor has anyone ever rented my wine truck in our community.  My business address is not my home address and my inventory is kept in my wine cellar in our basement. 

I thought I would add comments for what it is worth.

Again, really appreciate your time and thoughts.

Thank you

Jenn

Originally posted by @Nicole A. :

@Jenn Kampmeier-Aaron I understand that you are not a fan of some of the responses here and are now dismissing most everyone. However, remember that you asked questions; therefore you must expect some responses and answers, even if you don't like them.

Great points were made by @Thomas S. to you that do indeed apply to your situation. This is not the first time people try to dismiss his comments by saying "things are different in the US than Canada" when his comment wasn't even Canadian-specific. He can come across rough, but he usually makes good points. And the point here was that your actions have not helped you. Your actions have made your situation even more tough. 

I, too, do not understand why you'd go ask a neighbor if he's been fined for his truck, and then immediately go report him. The other good point he made was that you IGNORED the warning that you received before this whole thing became a problem.

It sounds like you have a path forward. Best wishes for the best outcome.

 Nicole-

Thank you for your time and comments.

I did want to clarify a point... I sent an email to the HOA along with pics of the three work trucks with ads asking the board to please explain how suing me for my work truck with ads is different from the three other trucks. To this date I have not heard anything from the HOA and it has been over 45 days. Instead what the HOA did was forward the email to a homeowner (not for sure about the other two bc I have not heard from them). When the HOA sent the email they included the pics and all of my personal contact information. That homeowner then reached out to me via FB with a DM and started to state harsh comments and statements to the point that I blocked him and contacted the PD. I have no idea who this guy is and the last thing I need is some crazy person sitting outside my house yelling at me... or worse yet... trying hurt us in some way.

Again, just wanted to share some additional thoughts.

Thank you

Jenn

Leaving aside allocations of fault and responsibility--both yours and the HOA--for the moment: it is not at all unusual for HOA's to royally screw up their own procedures, even if they are justified in bringing an action, and this usually leaves at a few options for legal defenses.

I would seriously question your lawyers diligence and skill if they haven't unearthed any of these options. Whether or not they are worth it to you to pursue is another question. Would be curious how this one goes.

Originally posted by @Jenn Kampmeier-Aaron :
Originally posted by @Kyle K.:

I really need to install a seat-belt on my chair so I will stop falling out of it! The descrite irony is, at least to me, that the guy who really benefits is the attorney! $8,000 for a simple civil matter involving an HOA? You should have went and personally represented yourself for $8,000!

 Hi Kyle-

Yes, I would have loved to represent myself BUT... and here is the kicker... they sued my business and I am an LLC ... so in the State of IN (and maybe other states) a business owner cannot represent their business... we had to hire an atty.

We tried to settle out of court for $4,000.00 but the HOA refused... so we had to go to court. They wanted to make an example of me and they did.. which is fine.. they just need enforce everyone in the neighborhood.

Thank you for your comments.

Jenn

I dont see how they can sue your business , unless its a home based business . Your business is an LLC and a different location , the HOA rules dont apply to your business . It seems to me they would have to sue you personally as a homeowner . What if you worked for me and took my work truck home , would your HOA try to sue me since my company owns it ? The hoa rules would not apply to me , just you

HOAs mean well, but I REALLY wish they would be more user friendly.

I sympathize with what you see as a minor infraction of the HOA rules by just parking your truck momentarily to load up supplies. However, this may serve as a nuisance to neighbors.

I once lived in a neighborhood where a guy 3 doors down had a huge mobile pizza / bread oven. It even fit in his side yard, so you couldn't see it from the street. HOWEVER, it LOOKED like his house was on fire from all the smoke, AND it smelled so strongly that all of our AC systems were pumping it into our homes. It was horrible. The HOA issued him a demand to remove it, which he refused. Long story short, he had to get rid of it. It was a nuisance to the neighborhood.

Now, I am sure he felt like it was contained in his yard, and wasn't "hurting" anyone, but the truth is, he WAS!

My guess is that your neighbors feel the same way. NOT that you don't have feelings on the other side of it, but the HOA has to manage the community for the greater good of the community.

I don't like to hear the part about the selective enforcement, but my guess is that you weren't cited for just having a truck with advertising on it.  My guess is that there is more to it than that because you were operating a commercial business out of your home, which is NO DOUBT against the rules.

Originally posted by @Nicole A. :

@Jenn Kampmeier-Aaron I understand that you are not a fan of some of the responses here and are now dismissing most everyone. However, remember that you asked questions; therefore you must expect some responses and answers, even if you don't like them.

Great points were made by @Thomas S. to you that do indeed apply to your situation. This is not the first time people try to dismiss his comments by saying "things are different in the US than Canada" when his comment wasn't even Canadian-specific. He can come across rough, but he usually makes good points. And the point here was that your actions have not helped you. Your actions have made your situation even more tough. 

I, too, do not understand why you'd go ask a neighbor if he's been fined for his truck, and then immediately go report him. The other good point he made was that you IGNORED the warning that you received before this whole thing became a problem.

It sounds like you have a path forward. Best wishes for the best outcome.

 Nicole-

Thank you for your comments. I did want to note that we park the truck at our other property in the country and that is the business address.  Nothing business related is sent to our home. Book keeping is done at our accountants office.  Our business hours are when we are at an event.  I really appreciate your comments and thoughts. 

Thank you 

Jenn 

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