What inspired you to build DoNotPay?
I kept getting parking tickets, so I decided to create an app that would automatically fight them. It kinda started out as a joke between my friends and I, but then it started gaining traction and it blew up.
That’s how DoNotPay formed.
Just to clarify, you’re not a lawyer?
No. I built a technological platform that gives people legal access to justice.
We work with lawyers at DoNotPay, but I have no intention of becoming a lawyer myself. The process of becoming one seems terrible. I don’t come from a family of lawyers either.
I’m a big believer in “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” I’m the type of person who will wait on hold for five hours to get a free $20 gift card. I guess I’ve just learned a lot through that.
Would you say your superpower is you’re very patient and understand the value of waiting?
I think that’s too much of an optimistic spin. My superpower is I’m very difficult. I don’t want to be ripped off.
What are the different use cases DoNotPay can handle?
We’ve gone from one area of the law to over 100 different products, and it’s really spread out. Some of our most popular products are canceling subscriptions such as gym memberships (which has been really popular in COVID-19 era), getting refunds from big companies.
One of our most popular products allows you to sue robocallers.
You can sue robocallers?
Yes you can. The biggest problem is actually finding out who the robocallers are.
So we built this technology that is truly a honey trap:
We give you a fake credit card, so when the robocaller asks you to buy something, you give them the info on the fake credit card, and then when they try to run the card that’s when our trap kicks in. We get the robocallers name, address, and phone number.
Do you think that a lot of consumers are really unaware of their rights and what they can sue for?
I believe so. In fact, I think the deck is stacked against the average person. Big companies have teams of brilliant lawyers brainstorming on how to get the most money out of a product, but the average person has no one.
There are so many obscure laws that people have no idea about. One of the big things that DoNotPay does is educate people on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which allows you to get up to $1,500 per robocall.
How connected are you to the cases that pass through DoNotPay?
One of the biggest mottos we have at DoNotPay is “Never Give Up.”
I believe I’m really invested in a lot of the cases – especially the robocaller ones because it’s such a big problem. People are getting all sorts of spam tax and spam calls.
There are some DoNotPay users that I text back and forth with to see how their robocaller case is progressing.
What case has DoNotPay handled that you are the most proud of?
I have two cases. One is when we helped people sue Equifax. In 2017, Equifax had a big data breach that exposed the credentials of millions of Amerians. We helped people sue Equifax in small claims court for up to $10,000. No one thought we would win, but justice prevailed.
The second one is this guy who sues any robocaller that calls him, and I think he made $20,000 in the first few months and ended up buying a new roof for his house.
What new technologies do you foresee being used in the courtroom?
I believe technology is being used against people in the courtroom, and the best example of that is AI sentencing algorithms. In a lot of states, AI actually recommends sentence that then get reviewed by a judge.
I hope they can find a way to incorporate this technology on the defense side. Maybe when the prosecution is giving testimony to the jury, the defendant can wear AI enabled headphones that are whispering in their ear, telling them what to say, or prepping them for the testimony.
I think technology helping people represent themselves in the courtroom, like “whispering in your ear” could be a big thing. I mean AI is already being used to profile jurors.
Nobody&Partners: So do you watch a lot of law-based TV shows like Law & Order?
Uh, no. I watch Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.