3OYS: 'Cheap divorce' is expensive lesson

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -  Donna Deason is ready to close a chapter in her life and move on with her divorce.

"I just want this over with, you know?” Deason told 3 On Your Side. “We've been through forever. And he's done moved on. I've done moved on.”

But getting a divorce can be pricey. So, when Deason came across a website called a1daycheapdivorce.com, it caught her eye because the price for divorce proceedings seemed pretty cheap.

So, Deason gave the company a call.

"Yeah, it seemed convenient,” Deason told 3 On Your Side. “And they said it was $199, just like the billboards.”

Deason paid with her debit card over the phone and anxiously awaited for her divorce process to start. However, she wasn't charged the rate she was promised.

"I'd seen the $199 ad, but then when they took out the $649, I was like, 'Wow, they just stole $649 from me,' ” she said. “I couldn't believe it."

That's right, $649 taken right out of her bank account. When Deason called the company, she was even more shocked.

"I got a hold of this guy named Frank,” Deason said. “And he pretty much laughed and said I was burnt. You know, he wasn't refunding me my money. And I was like, ‘Wow.' You know? I didn't know what to do."

Deason told 3 On Your Side that this all happened back in October. Since then, she hasn't received any paperwork or indication her divorce is even in the process.

"They haven't done nothing. Nothing,” Deason said. “I asked them to just refund my money for this whole thing and I'll just do it myself, whatever. And he's like, pretty much, ‘You're burnt. I'm not refunding you your money. There ain't nothing you can do about it.' "

3 On Your Side got a hold of A 1 Day Cheap Divorce and discovered they also go by a variety of different names. Others include cheapandfastdivorce.com and adivorcephoneline.com.

When 3 On Your Side contacted the company, someone with an email address of manager299@gmail.com wrote back saying, “We provide a great service that is hundreds less than what lawyers charge."

But the email account did not state what service, if any, was provided for Deason at a charge of $649.

"Yeah, that's a lot of money,” Deason said. “Shoot, that's like a whole week's paycheck."

So, who is manager299@gmail.com? He told us his name is Frank Sharp, but 3 On Your Side discovered that email is associated with someone named Norm Hernick.

Hernick and the specific email he lists are both named in a lawsuit filed in Ohio. In that lawsuit, the Ohio Supreme Court fined Hernick for engaging in the unlawful practice of law. Hernick was also sued in North Carolina for a similar charge.

But manager299@gmail.com still seems to be in business.

Deason told 3 On Your Side it's an email address that took $649 for a so-called cheap divorce and provided nothing in return. She said it was an expensive lesson to learn.

"I would not shop online,” Deason told 3 On Your Side. “I would do it face to face. You know, especially a divorce or something like that, legal wise. Go into an office and deal with the people one on one. Don't do it online."