How to Sue Airbnb

Looking to sue Airbnb? Small claims court is an option, and you may have others…

Your guide to suing Airbnb in Small Claims Court.

So you’re looking to sue Airbnb?

At FairShake we’ve helped thousands of people with claims against Airbnb and other big companies that ripped them off get millions of dollars in settlement offers [continued below]

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Have you tried getting a refund from Airbnb and gotten nowhere? Do you feel like you have nowhere to turn?

You’re not alone. From what we hear, a lot of people out there have tried all the Airbnb customer service options and still feel like they haven’t been heard.

There are lots of ways to bring an Airbnb complaint, but none with the same power and leverage as bringing a claim through the legal system.

So where should you start if you’re looking to sue Airbnb? You might think there would be tons of class action lawsuits against Airbnb. But the truth is more complicated.

Little-read clauses in their contracts allow companies like Airbnb to force legal claims out of most US courts and into the private system of consumer arbitration.

But this doesn’t mean your Airbnb contract can take away your right to sue entirely.

Here’s what you can do…

Make a Legal Claim

Two options to Sue Airbnb

The first option for suing Airbnb is through consumer arbitration. Arbitration is an opportunity to take legal action through an officially-designated, independent dispute process that’s not a court and won’t require showing up in person. This can be a better option for a lot of regular people.

How do you get started? That’s what FairShake is here for. We can help you start the legal process against Airbnb in under 10 minutes, and we’ll only charge if you win compensation. FairShake’s customers have been offered millions of dollars in settlements. You can learn more or start a claim now.

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The second way to sue Airbnb, if you want to avoid the arbitration system, is to use Small Claims Court. Because Small Claims Court processes differ from place to place, FairShake can’t help out here. It may require showing up in person and filling out some forms.

If you’re ready to take your Airbnb claim to Small Claims Court , read on below:

Taking Airbnb to Small Claims Court Step-by-Step


Does Your Claim Qualify for Small Claims Court?

Ready to sue Airbnb in small claims court? Small claims courts are only for certain types of claims, so your first step is to make sure your claim can be filed. There are two things you need to pay attention to:

  1. The amount of money: Every small claims court sets a maximum dollar size for the claim you can bring. In most states it’s either $5000 or $10,000, but it can be as low as $2,500 (in Kentucky and Rhode Island). You can find a list of all 50 states’ monetary limits here.
  2. The type of relief: There are two types of awards that you can seek in a lawsuit – monetary (a dollar value payment) and equitable (any non-monetary request). Most small claims courts can only grant monetary awards.

As a result, your claim may not fall within the limits of your state’s small claims court, in which case you’ll have to arbitrate your claim instead. We can help you with that for free.

Small Claims Court is often timely and expensive. You have to make several trips to the court house in your area and pay small claims court fees. But, there is a better option: Consumer Arbitration. You can start a claim for free, and we’ll help you through the process:

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Send a Demand Letter

Most small claims courts require that you ask the person you’re suing (the “defendant”) to fix your problem voluntarily before you file your claim. So if you want to sue Airbnb in small claims court, you need to send them a demand letter first.

Your demand letter can be simple and straightforward – tell Airbnb who you are (your name, address, phone number and account number), what the problem is, and what you want from them. The whole letter can be a few sentences – remember that you are just checking a box before you file your actual claim.

When you’re done writing, you need to mail a hard copy of the letter, preferably as certified mail or some other service that allows you to confirm delivery, to their legal address. According to our most recent research, Airbnb is legally based in Delaware and receives mail at this address:

Airbnb, Inc.

If you would like examples of demand letters or more information about how to write them, you can find an excellent guide here.


Fill Out the Court Forms

In order to sue Airbnb in small claims court, you’re going to need to fill out some paper work.

Each state has a set of forms that need to be filled out to file a claim, and sometimes counties will provide additional forms. The correct forms for your location will be available for free on your state court’s website.

And, make sure you fill out enough forms – most states that require you to file forms by mail or in-person will ask for 3 or 4 copies. If you don’t have the right number, they will not accept your claim.


File Your Complaint with the Court

When you’re done filling out the court forms, it’s time to give those forms to the court. This process, called “filing” can be a bit tricky.

Many courts will require you to physically come to the courthouse during specific hours and days to hand-deliver the forms to the court’s clerk. Other courts may allow you to file by mail, fax or (for a few courts) online.

All courts will require you to pay a filing fee before they allow your to sue Airbnb in small claims. This fee, which will be published on your court’s website, can sometimes be waved if you are a low income plaintiff.

When you file your forms, the court clerk will provide you with a stamped copy of the forms and a court date. Keep it safe and bring it with you on the day of your hearing.


“Serve” Your Forms to Airbnb

If you’ve made it this far – good work! Suing Airbnb in small claims is a long and tough process.

Now that you’ve filed the papers required to start your case against Airbnb, you need to tell Airbnb that it’s been sued. This is a called “serving” Airbnb. To do this, you need to deliver a copy of your filed papers to Airbnb.

Look at your court’s website for instructions on how to properly deliver your forms to Airbnb, or search for “[your state] small claims service of process”. Courts have many strange rules about how to serve a defendant, and your claim will be dropped if you do not follow them perfectly. So be careful!


Show up for Your Court Date

When the court clerk gives you a court date (after you file your forms), make sure to put it on your calendar.

Make sure you know which courthouse to go to. Bring your copy of your filed forms, and any other evidence that backs up your case against Airbnb.

Sometimes, Airbnb will not show up to oppose you. If that happens, take advantage of the situation to focus on your side of the story.

Ready to sue Airbnb in small claims court?
If this sounds too hard and expensive, try consumer arbitration instead…

FairShake helps put the power back in your hands

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