What happens when a win in small claims court really isn't a win?

How to go after your money?

Thousands of consumers have turned to small claims court to settle disputes of money owed and services not rendered.  But what happens when small claims doesn't work?

Benita Nowak speaks from experience. The consumer claims she paid a contractor $2,400 for granite that was never delivered.   She turned to small claims court, which cost her more time and about $200.

A small claims mediator found in her favor. But the money never came.

Pinellas Pasco Circuit Chief Judge J. Thomas McGrady explains a win in small claims can ring hollow. He describes Florida as a friendly debtor state -- you can't garnish wages, you can't take someone's homestead.

For any hope of collection, Nowak would have to return to court to obtain a final judgment which would allow her to go after the defendant's assets which involved more time, research and paperwork.

Many quit the fight rather than invest more time in what could end up a lost cause since many most defendant don't have assets of any value.

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