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Getting Payback

9. A Jilted Ex Puts Nude Photos of You, With Your Name, on an Amateur Porn Site
Sadly, posting nude photos is not a crime—unless they were stolen or “impersonated,” meaning the photos have your name and someone else’s body, says Diana Adams, a sexual-civil-rights attorney. If this is the case, call your local precinct. To get the photos taken down, find out your ex’s Internet-service provider, as well as the Website’s hosting company and domain registrant by going to whois .net. Call the contact numbers for all three and say, “The images were obtained without my knowledge or consent, are being used in bad faith, and this is a violation of federal copyright law.” (For future reference, all risqué pics should be shot with your own camera, so you can claim copyright.) Ben Butler, director of network abuse for GoDaddy .com, responds to 30 women with unwanted photos each week, and takes them down if they break federal copyright rule. If all fails, you can sue your ex—your chances are best if the photos are particularly lewd and accompanied by your name and contact information. The rub: Lawyers, jury, and judge will study the pics to evaluate exactly how embarrassing they are.

Hassle Log
Calls to companies: 3 hrs.
Suing: 8 hrs.
Total: 11 hrs.

Worth the effort?
Oh yeah. Ensures that future romantic partners (or co-workers) won’t stumble on naked photos of you, and serves your ex with a whopping legal bill.

10. A Driver Hits You as You Cross the Street
In addition to filing a police report, immediately initiate a three-part insurance claim. The first claim goes to the driver’s insurance company (his policy may well be canceled, but it’s worth a try). Next, file with your own auto-insurance carrier—since New York is a no-fault state, your insurer must cover medical bills and lost wages if your first claim fails. If neither you nor anyone else under your roof—including spouses, parents, or roommates—owns a car, file a third claim within 180 days of the accident with New York’s Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (, which will cover doctor’s fees and lost earnings should none of your other claims pay. You may qualify for up to $25,000 for pain and suffering.

Hassle Log
Filing police report: 5 mins. to a couple of hrs.
Filing claim No. 1 (hitter’s insurance): 1 hr.
Filing claim No. 2 (your insurance): 1 hr.
Filing claim No. 3 (MVAIC): 5 mins.
Wait for settlement: 30 days to 2 or more yrs.
Total: A month at best, though insurance companies can push the wait to years.

Worth the effort?
Yes, absolutely. There’s no reason that you should suffer financially as well as physically.

11. Refrigerator Deliverymen Tear up Your Hallways
Stand in front of the door if you have to, but don’t let those guys leave. Get their manager on the phone and have the lead deliveryman speak to him as well, so there’s no confusion over what exactly happened. (Also note the collateral damage on the paperwork you sign.) Any good company should make repairs, says Tyrone Boone of Room & Board, a home-furnishings company. Or it will reimburse you for the cost of fixing the walls. If the store drags its feet or offers a paltry sum, cite the city’s Consumer Protection Law (specifically section 5-50). The threat of being reported should faze the store, but if not, file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs by calling 311.

Hassle Log
Call to the store: 20 mins.
Waiting for reimbursement: 1 wk., if company is reputable; wks. or mos. if not.
Call to DCA: 15 mins.
Total: A few wks. min.

Worth the effort?
If the damage is extensive, yes. A new paint job can run into the hundreds. But for a few nicks and scratches, probably not.

12. Your Landlord Won’t Refund Your Security Deposit
Send biweekly letters to your landlord and save any written or voice-mail responses. After a few months, show up at her office and ask for proof of any damage and repair costs. When no proof materializes, haul her to small-claims court, suing for your deposit plus interest, up to $5,000 (you don’t need a lawyer). Print out the forms at, and drop them at your local court along with the $20 filing fee. If your landlord’s a no-show at the ensuing court date, the judge will likely rule against her. If other tenants are having similar rent or deposit problems, contact the Consumer Fraud and Protection Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office (800-771-7755) and file a complaint, which could result in a much larger individual potential payout.

Hassle Log
Bi-weekly letters to your landlord: 2 hrs.
Personal visit to landlord: 1 hr.
Filling out small- claims-court forms: 1 hr.
Small-claims- court hearing: 30 mins.
Total: 4.5 hrs.

Worth the effort?
Yes. You may only recoup your original deposit, but you’ll have won one for renters everywhere.