Want to sue Budget in small claims court?

Your Guide to Sue Budget Rent A Car in Small Claims Court

Your user agreement probably says you can’t sue Budget Rent A Car in any court except Small Claims Court, thanks to an arbitration clause. So how can you file your complaint against Budget Rent A Car? It is complicated and time consuming, but suing Budget in small claims court usually gets you what you want and we explain how. 


Can you sue Budget Rent A Car in small claims court? Does your claim qualify?

Just because you are ready to sue Budget Rent A Car in small claims court doesn’t mean your case will qualify.

Small claims courts are reserved for specific types of cases. There are two things you have to pay attention to.

  1. What compensation you want. In most lawsuits you can seek two types of awards or compensation monetary (a dollar value payment) and equitable (any non-monetary request). But if you try to sue Budget Rent A Car in small claims court, you can usually only ask for monetary. So, if there were property damages, you wouldn’t be able to sue in small claims court over the physical property but you could sue over the value of that property in its dollar amount.
  2. How much compensation you want.  This leads to the second limitation. Most small claims courts have a maximum dollar size you can ask for in compensation and it varies by state. Your claim might be over that limit. You can find a list of all 50 states’ monetary limits here.

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


Send your demand letter.

Before you can sue Budget Rent A Car in small claims court, most courts ask that you give the company an opportunity to voluntarily solve the problem.

This takes the form of the demand letter. The demand letter is an official legal notice that doesn’t have to be too complicated. All you have to do is explain your contact information, what your problem is, perhaps what you’ve done so far to try and resolve it on your own, and what steps you want the company to take now.

When you are done riding the simple letter you have to send a hard copy to the legal mailing address for Budget Rent a Car:

Budget Rent A Car System, Inc.
Corporation Service Company
251 Little Falls Drive
Wilmington, DE 19808

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 small claims court forms.

The next step to sue Budget Rent-A-Car in small claims court is to fill out the proper paperwork. The paperwork you have to fill out as going to vary based on where you live. 

Every state has their own set of documents and some counties will provide additional forms. The right forms for your location should be available for free on your state court website here.

Make sure you also verify how many copies you need. Most courts require three or four copies and if you don’t have the right number you won’t be able to sue Budget Rent A Car today.


File your forms with the court.

When you’re done filling out the court forms, it’s time to give those forms to the court through an official process called “filing”.

Like most steps you’ve taken thus far, the requirements vary based on where you live. However, most 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. If you live in a more flexible area, your court might 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 Budget Rent A Car in small claims court, the amount of which should be published on your court’s website, here. This can sometimes be waved if you are a low income plaintiff.

When you file your forms, the court clerk will approve them and give you back a stamped copy of the forms and a court date.


“Serve” your forms on Budget.

This is a very long process and it just keeps getting longer. One of the forms you received back from the clerk is meant for Budget rent a car. When you sue Budget Rent-A-Car in small claims court you have to pay particular attention to the requirements “serving”.

Serving is where you officially notify the company that they are being sued and every court has different instructions for how to properly deliver these forms. If you can’t find them, you can 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 read the fine print!


Show up for court.

Make sure you head to court at the right time, and in the right location. Many cities have multiple court houses and your hearing might be held in a different building than where you filed your forms originally.

Bring with you your copy of the file documents and any evidence you have to prove why you decided to sue Budget Rent-A-Car in small claims court and why you deserve compensation.

The judge will review the case and make a decision either that day or later depending on the situation. In some cases it could take weeks with additional trips to the courthouse before the judge makes a decision. Bear in mind that Budget Rent-A-Car may or may not send someone to oppose you but in either case it is your job to focus on your side of the story.


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

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