How to Sue American Express

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

So you want to sue American Express?

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Maybe you’ve tried all the American Express customer service escalation options. Maybe you’ve even tried other ways to bring your American Express complaint.

Either way, you might think you know how suing American Express works. Especially if a bunch of people have the same problem, wouldn’t you find a lawyer and bring a class action suit against American Express?

Well, that’s where an obscure term of company contracts comes in — it’s called consumer arbitration — and it’s incredibly common.

If there’s a consumer arbitration clause in your contract with American Express then you probably can’t sue American Express in a “real” court — like state or federal court. And you probably can’t sue American Express as part of a class action.

So what can you do?

Two ways to Sue American Express

The first way to sue American Express is through consumer arbitration. If your contract has an arbitration clause it gives you the right take legal action against American Express 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.

The second way to sue American Express, if you have the time and dedication, is to use Small Claims Court. If you’re ready to sue American Express in Small Claims Court, read on below:

Taking American Express to Small Claims Court Step-by-Step



Ready to sue American Express in small claims court? Small claims courts are only for certain types of claims, so your first step is to make sure you are eligible to file a claim. There are two things you need to pay attention to:

  1. The amount of money: Every small claims court case 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). Discover how much your state allows for a maximum claim.

  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.

If your claim doesn’t fall within the limits of your state’s small claims court, you’ll have to arbitrate your claim instead.



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. If you want to sue American Express in small claims court, you first need to send them a demand letter.

Your demand letter can be simple and straightforward. Explain to American Express 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.

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, American Express is legally based in New York and receives mail at this address:

NEW YORK, NY, 10005

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



In order to sue American Express in small claims court, you’re going to need to complete some paperwork.

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.

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 of forms, they will not accept your claim.



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 complicated.

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

All courts will require you to pay a filing fee before they allow you to sue American Express in small claims court. This fee, which will be published on your court’s website, is sometimes waived if you qualify as 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.



If you’ve made it this far, good work! Suing American Express in small claims is a long and difficult process.

Now that you’ve filed the papers required to start your case against American Express, you need to tell American Express that you have officially sued the company. This is a called “serving” American Express. To do this, you need to deliver a copy of your filed paperwork to American Express.

Look at your court’s website for instructions on how to properly deliver your forms to American Express, 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.



When the 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 is holding the small claims hearing. Bring the copies of your filed forms, and any other evidence that backs up your case against American Express.

Sometimes, American Express will not show up to oppose you. If that happens, take advantage of the situation by emphasizing on your side of the story.

Are you ready to sue American Express 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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