Civil Complaint Defendant Evading Service - Please help!

Leah Stan

New Member
I am suing someone I sold a computer to on eBay for $1525. He did a chargeback on his credit card 60+ days after transaction claiming it was Significantly Not as Described because he claims the bluetooth functionality wasn't working and got all his money back but did not return the computer. I was living in Miami, FL at the time but have since moved to NYC. Buyer/defendant is from Allentown, PA (in Lehigh County). We already had a first trial at Magisterial District Court in Allentown back in July and I won (plus court fees so around $1650). The defendant appealed. I wrote the new complaint and filed with Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas and sent order of service to Sheriff's office. The court clerk told me I had to write an affidavit of service when I submitted the complaint or they couldn't do anything with it, so I wrote one saying I mailed the order of service that same day. The Sheriff's office made 3+ attempts to serve the defendant but no luck. It has been past the 30 days and they have no serviced it, but have yet to mail it back to me (I found this out by calling them). Meanwhile we got a court date set for 11/21, which I assume I will have to request is extended. I am trying to figure out what to do next but hiring a lawyer is not worth it. I guess I have to do the prerequisites mentioned here but they are not straight forward at all in the year 2019: PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 04-2062. Will I need a
subpoena from the court to get this information?

I know the address is correct as the defendant owns the property still (I looked online) and he also had to put his address when he filed the appeal. This may seem like a lot of effort but I have learned a lot along the way and have a lot of free time on my hands, so I will definitely see the case through no matter what.

Please help me!!!! I would really appreciate it. As far as I know now, I will have to somehow get these pre-reqs done which I may need a file a motion for a subpoena for, then request special service if I can't find any other address to server him at, and also ask to postpone the court date since the defendant has not been served yet. Do I have to do something specific to re-instate the complaint? And I really don't understand how I'm supposed to get the information listed in the prereqs.

I'm trying to understand why, after winning in small claims court (I assume that's what "magisterial court" is) and the defendant appealing, you (a) had to write a new complaint and (b) had to serve anything by personal service. Once a case has been commenced, service by regular mail is usually allowed. Anyway...

we got a court date set for 11/21

What is that court date for?

Will I need a
subpoena from the court to get this information?

What information?

Please help me!

It's not clear to me what sort of help you're seeking or think anonymous strangers on the internet can provide. It sounds like you're basically asking someone to hold your hand through the process of dealing with this case, and that's way beyond the scope of a message board. I agree with all three prior responses.
My question was in regards to serving the defendant the complaint. After he appealed the first trial decision, the case was escalated to the higher court requiring me to re-file a complaint and we will have a new trial entirely as if the first did not even happen. I was not sure if this new complaint was then considered "original process". In the rules it states that original process can only be served by the Sheriff. I have heard from others that since the defendant triggered this new case with the higher court by appealing, it is not original process, so I can follow a rule that allows service by mail. That is the answer I was looking for. I am not looking for someone to "hold my hand through the process" I was simply trying to give background information.
Rule 400 You can see there are a few exceptions listed, but my case does not seem to meet any of those cases.

But as I mentioned in the previous comment, I have been advised that this is actually not original process as I thought. Therefore, I can follow rule 440 and just mail it to the defendant. Please let me know if you think this sounds inaccurate.

Appreciate all the useful comments and help!!! Thank you very much for your time.