Want to sue Discover in small claims court?

Your Guide to Sue Discover in Small Claims Court

Your Discover Contract probably says you can’t sue Discover in any court except Small Claims Court, because of the fine print of an arbitration clause. While it can be complicated, and takes time, we explain the steps to follow to get what you want in small claims court.


Can you sue Discover? Does you case qualify for small claims court?

Ready to sue Discover in small claims court? First you need to make sure your claim qualifies. Small claims courts are only for certain types of claims, and there are limits. Check out these two parameters:

  1. The amount of money: When you go before a judge to sue Discover, you are asking for compensation, and there is often a dollar amount. With small claims court there are limits to that dollar amount though, and if your request is higher than your state limit, you might not be able to pursue this avenue of legal justice. You can find a list of all 50 states’ monetary limits here.
  2. The type of relief: When you go before a judge you can usually ask for two types of compensation, monetary or equitable. Basically money or anything other than money. But with small claims court, you can usually only ask for money.

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 a demand letter.

Most small claims courts require that you ask the person you’re suing (the “defendant”) to solve the problem on their own, before you head to court. So, if you want to sue Discover in small claims court, you need to send them a demand letter first asking them to do this.

The demand letter is a simple thing, a few straightforward sentences or paragraphs telling Discover who you are (your name, address, phone number and account number), what the problem is, and what you want from them. Don’t worry if it isn’t eloquent; the point is to check a box and prove you completed this step.

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:

Discover Financial Services
The Corporation Trust Company
Corporation Trust Center 1209 Orange ST
Wilmington, DE 19801

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 court forms.

Assuming your demand letter did not result in Discover making amends, now you move forward and sue Discover in small claims court by filling out the right court forms.

Each state has a set of forms that need to be filled out to file a claim, and sometimes separate counties will provide additional forms, all of which should be free on your state court website. Find your state court website here.

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 have but one, they won’t accept your claim.


File your claim.

Now that you have filled out the right court forms it’s time to bring them to the court. This is an official step when you sue Discover in small claims courts and it’s called “filing”.

Most courts require that you physically come to the courthouse during certain hours and days of the week to hand deliver to the clerk. If you are particularly lucky your area might allow you to send them by mail.

You will have to pay the small claims court filing fee before you can sue Discover, the amount of which should be published on your court website. You can always call and ask what the amount is ahead of time. You should also make sure you have one of the approved payment methods for this step as some courts will only accept things like debit cards.

The county clerk will review your documents, stamp them, give you back your copies, and give you your hearing date.


“Serve” your forms on Discover.

We understand this is a long and tiring process and you’re about halfway there. Keep up the good work and you should be able to get the compensation you deserve.

The next step when you sue Discover in small claims court is to notify the company that they have officially been sued. This is a process called “serving”.

To do this, you need to deliver a copy of your filed papers to Discover.

Look at your court’s website for instructions on how to properly deliver your forms to Discover, or search for “[your state] small claims service of process”.

Courts have many odd regulations for how to serve a defendant, and your claim will be dropped if you do not follow them exactly. So exercise caution and double check each rule!


Show up for court.

When the court clerk gives you a court date (after you file your forms), make sure to put it on your calendar. That is the date of your hearing where the judge will make a ruling on your case.

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 and proves why you were right to sue Discover in small claims court.

Sometimes, Discover 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 Discover in small claims court?
If this sounds too hard and expensive, try consumer arbitration instead…

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