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This incredible service will help you get the refunds you need during coronavirus

Published Jun 23rd, 2020 7:37PM EDT
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  • DoNotPay is a consumer services platform that’s been around since 2015 and has evolved especially during the coronavirus pandemic into a service that helps consumers on several fronts.
  • Billed as “the world’s first robot lawyer,” this service can help you do everything from check a refund status to cancel subscriptions and make arrangements paying bills.
  • Here are some of the key ways people are using the service, especially with the coronavirus pandemic causing so much financial upheaval right now.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across a broad spectrum of businesses and industries as coronavirus cases have surged — leading to scores of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, and absolutely wrecking business demand as tens of millions of Americans find themselves newly unemployed. Not every business is hurting right now, however. In fact, one such entity is thriving at the moment by helping people deal with all the financial challenges that are coming at them — everything from needing help securing refunds to assistance setting up alternative arrangements for when you can’t afford a bill.

That entity is DoNotPay, famous for being the company beyond the chatbot known as “the world’s first robot lawyer.”

Based in San Francisco, DoNotPay was founded back in 2015 and has evolved into a consumer platform that can do everything from help people sue robocallers, get help with refunds and bills, cancel subscriptions, and so much more. In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the platform launched a new service that works on users’ behalf to negotiate waivers and delays of payment with credit card companies, public utilities, landlords, and the like.

Founder and CEO Josh Browder told VentureBeat this week that overall requests for the platform’s services are up 50% month-on-month, and certain categories are growing even faster. “People have been desperate to get refunds from airlines; gyms have been shutting down and people are wanting to cancel,” Browder told the site. “Certain dispute categories, such as canceling gym memberships, have gone up by almost 30 times.”

The company’s roadmap at the moment includes hiring more engineers, who will be “churning” out a regular spate of new legal bots that can help consumers in a number of different areas, according to Browder. In all, there are some 50 new products the DoNotPay team wants to build at the moment.

As we’ve previously noted, among the other services DoNotPay can provide are the generation of official-sounding letters that draw from and cite local ordinances and regulations to negotiate payment delays on your behalf. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be the main hurdle to my financial restoration efforts,” a sample letter reads. “It has significantly reduced my income over the past several weeks, as the conditions of my current employment status demand my physical presence.”

DoNotPay can also be used to identify bills, like your monthly utility bill, that are eligible for a waiver or extension, and the service will reach out to make a first “polite request.” If that doesn’t work, another letter follows, this time citing local laws.

“I like to think of the law as society’s operating system,” Browder told VentureBeat. “It is just a bunch of rules at the end of the day — (DoNotPay) goes down a decision tree to match you to a legal defense, takes down a few details, and then uses all of that to generate a document, which it then sends automatically to the government or these large companies.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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