If you tune in to Judge Judy to see awful people get their just desserts, you might not be getting what you signed up for. Unless, of course, you believe Judith Sheindlin's infamous tongue-lashings are a fitting punishment.
Contrary to the impression many fans may have gathered from watching the show, no one is really left out of pocket for their transgressions, and the judge's put-downs are the true price guests on the show pay for their misdemeanours.
A leaked letter that producers reportedly send to potential litigants on the program reads: 'If your case is selected to be arbitrated on Judge Judy and plaintiff wins the case, we guarantee to pay plaintiff the full amount that was awarded against you, you pay nothing.'
While a legalistic disclaimer appears in the show's end credits about how things work, according to Radar Online the program also pays guests a fee of between $150 and $500 to appear on the top-rated show - on top of travel costs, which may include cross-country flights. Producers also put guests up at a nice hotel.