Want to sue National Car Rental in small claims court?

Your Guide to Sue National Car Rental in Small Claims Court

Because of your contract with National Car Rental you probably can’t sue National Car Rental in any court except Small Claims Court, thanks to an arbitration clause. While it takes time and effort, when you sue National Car Rental in small claims court usually gets you what you want. We show you how.


Does your case qualify to sue National Car Rental in small claims court?

Ready to sue National Car Rental in small claims court? Small claims courts are only for certain types of claims, so your first step is to make sure your claim qualifies. There are two things in particular you should pay attention to:

  1. The amount of money: Every small claims court sets a maximum dollar size for the claim you can bring against National Car Rental. For most states that is $5,000 or $10,000, but it can be as low as $2,500. 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 under normal conditions- monetary (a dollar value payment) and equitable (any non-monetary request). However, 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.


Send National Car Rental 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 any paperwork. So if you want to sue National Car Rental in small claims court, you need to send them what is called a demand letter first.

Your demand letter can be simple and straightforward. Just tell National Car Rental who you are (your name, address, phone number and member or account number), what the problem is, and what you want from them. The whole letter can be a few sentences. You just need to check a legal box before you file the paperwork.

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:


EAN Services, LLC
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.

In order to sue National Car Rental in small claims court, you’re going to need to fill out some paper work based on where you live.

Each state has a set of forms that need to be filled out to file a claim, and sometimes counties will provide additional forms. You can find the right documents for free on your state court website here.

Make sure you fill out enough forms. Most states will ask for 3 or 4 copies. If you don’t have the right number, they will not accept your claim and you won’t be able to sue National Car Rental.


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 complicated.

For starters, 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. So, you have to leave home. If you are lucky, you may be able to file by mail, fax or (for a few courts) online.

In addition to making your first trip to the court, you will have to pay a filing fee before they allow your to sue National Car Rental 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.

After you file the forms, the clerk will stamp them and give you back some copies along with a court date. Hang on to all of it for the next steps.


“Serve” your forms on National Car Rental.

It is a long process to sue National Car Rental in small claims court, but you are doing well.

Now that you’ve filed the papers, you need to tell National Car Rental that it’s been sued. This is a called “serving” National Car Rental. To do this, you need to deliver one of the stamped copies of your filed papers to National Car Rental.

Again, look at your state court website for instructions on how to properly do this here or search for “[your state] small claims service of process”. Your claim will be dropped if you do not follow them perfectly. So be careful!


Show up for court.

When the court clerk gives you a court date (after you file your forms), that is the date of your hearing so don’t miss it.

Make sure you know which courthouse to go to. Bring your copy of your filed forms, and any other evidence that backs up why you decided to sue National Car Rental.

Sometimes, National Car Rental will not show up to oppose you. If you find yourself in this situation, focus on your side of the story and why you deserve compensation.

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

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