main image

How To Sue Amazon

Camila Lopez - Suing a Business - June 19, 2024

Thinking of suing? Send a demand letter first. Use our free demand letter creator.

Start Letter

Contents

    Do you have a dispute with Amazon over a refund, purchase, personal injury, or damages to your vehicle? You have several options, including suing Amazon in small claims court. In this article, learn about common types of small claims lawsuits filed against Amazon, how to sue Amazon in small claims court, and what to do before taking legal action. 

    Start by sending Amazon a demand letter using our free tool. Get started.

    Common Types of Small Claims Lawsuits Against Amazon

    We often receive the question, can I sue Amazon in small claims? The answer is yes, as long as the amount you are seeking falls within the small claims limit (which typically goes up to $10,000). 

    Here are some examples of small claims lawsuits against Amazon:

    • Failure to deliver the items you purchased. For example, you purchased an item from Amazon, but Amazon never delivered the item. You would now like to sue for a refund.

    • Failure to refund your account. For example, Amazon agreed to refund you but never did.

    • Failure to deposit funds into your seller account. For example, you sold on Amazon, but they never deposited the money you earned into your seller's account.

    • Improper services provided to an Amazon seller. For example, Amazon deactivates your listings or loses your inventory. 

    Examples of Lawsuits Filed Against Amazon

    Case Facts 

    Case Outcome 

    A San Francisco small claims lawsuit was filed against Amazon for negligence and breach of contract because an Amazon seller’s listings were deactivated and their inventory was lost.  

    The seller was seeking a total of $3,500 in damages for lost sales during the time the listings were deactivated

    The court awarded the seller a total of $1,500, plus an additional $120.89 in court costs. It is unclear from the court’s decision why they awarded this amount. 

    A Los Angeles small claims lawsuit was filed against Amazon for not receiving credit after returning items purchased back to Amazon

    The customer was seeking a total of $635.07, which was the amount they paid for the items they later returned to Amazon

    The court dismissed the case. Usually, dismissals happen when the parties are able to reach a settlement before the hearing, or they may have closed their case for other reasons. 

    * Please remember, each small claims case is unique, and the outcome of a particular case cannot be guaranteed. Ultimately, it will be up to the judge to decide how responsible Amazon is for your damages and how much they owe you.

    What to do before suing Amazon in small claims court

    Review Amazon’s Conditions of Use/Terms and Conditions 

    It is recommended that you first check the appropriate terms and conditions agreement relevant to your claims before suing Amazon in small claims court, as it may contain important provisions that could impact your case. Amazon’s terms and conditions are written to favor Amazon, obviously, however, it will be up to the judge to determine whether to enforce their terms and how to interpret their terms

    Amazon’s Dispute Provision for Customers: 

    • Under the Dispute section of Amazon’s Conditions of Use, it states any disputes against Amazon will be tried in state or federal courts in Kings County, Washington.

    • Small claims courts are part of the state court system, so you may be able to bring a small claims lawsuit in Washington state against Amazon. 

    • You may be able to bring your case against Amazon in another state’s small claims court. However, it will be up to the judge to decide whether to honor Amazon’s Conditions of Use or up to Amazon whether they will enforce this provision. 

    Amazon’s Dispute Provision for Amazon Sellers: 

    • Under the Dispute section of Amazon’s Seller Central Conditions of Use (found on the Amazon Seller Central website), it states disputes or claims relating to Amazon Service will be resolved through binding arbitration, EXCEPT for small claims which can be asserted in small claims court. This section does not limit jurisdiction to a particular state, unlike the Disputes Provision discussed in the section above. 

    • Arbitration is a similar legal process to going to court. However, in arbitration, a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, is appointed to resolve a dispute between parties. 

    • Decisions made by an arbitrator are binding and enforceable in a court of law.  

    • Arbitration can be conducted over telephone, or in person in the county where you live or at a mutually agreed location. However, it will be up to the judge to decide whether to honor Amazon’s arbitration provision or up to Amazon whether they will enforce this provision. 

    • Check the Seller Central Conditions of Use for more information about how to request arbitration. 

    Amazon’s Dispute Provision for Business Accounts: 

    • Under the Disputes section of Amazon’s Business Accounts Terms and Conditions (applicable to Amazon sellers), it states any disputes against Amazon Business will be resolved through binding arbitration

    • In this Dispute section, there is no exception for small claims disputes. 

    • Arbitration can be conducted over telephone, or at a mutually agreed locationHowever, it will be up to the judge to decide whether to honor Amazon’s arbitration provision or up to Amazon whether they will enforce this provision.   

    • Check the Business Accounts Terms and Conditions for more information about how to request arbitration. 

    If you have any legal questions about claims you would like to bring against Amazon as a business, seller, or customer, you can always reach out to a civil attorney for a consultation. 

    File a Complaint Against Amazon 

    Besides suing in small claims court, you can also file a complaint against Amazon for various reasons with the following government or nongovernment organizations: 

    • The Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC's main mission is to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. Learn how to file a complaint with the FTC here

    • Your state’s Attorney General’s Office. State attorney generals are the primary enforcers of consumer protection laws and handle consumer complaints against businesses like Amazon. Usually, consumer complaints can be filed with an Attorney General online or by mail

    • The Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau (“BBB”), is a non-profit that serves as an intermediary between businesses, like Amazon, and consumers. If you have a complaint you would like to file against Amazon, the BBB allows you to file complaints and reviews online.

    Send a Demand Letter

    A demand letter is a letter that outlines a set of requests. For example, you could request a refund and explain why you are requesting a refund. While you can request your money or property back orally, it is recommended you do so in writing in the form of a demand letter, as this guarantees there is a physical record of your attempt to settle.

    What to include in the demand letter?

    Unsure of what to include in your demand letter to Amazon? Here are a few suggestions:

    • How much money you are owed.

    • Why you are owed money.

    • Your contact information.

    • Where to send payment.

    • Give them a few days to respond (usually about 7 to 14 days).

    • State that if they don't respond, you intend to sue.

    Where to send the letter:

    • You can mail the demand letter to Amazon’s headquarters: 

    Amazon.com, Inc. 

    410 Terry Ave. N 

    Seattle, WA 98109

    Amazon.com, Inc.

    Corporation Service Company

    Attn: Legal Department – Legal Process

    300 Deschutes Way SW, Suite 208 MC-CSC1

    Tumwater, WA 98501

    Make sure to verify this information is current as of the date you are mailing your demand letter. 

    If Amazon ignores your demand letter, what is the next step? You can sue Amazon in a small claims courtMake sure to review any contracts you have received from Amazon. Here are Amazon’s Conditions of Use.

    Start by sending Amazon a demand letter using our free tool. Get started.

    Here is a video on how our demand letter tool works:

    Small Claims Court Quick Facts 

    Small claims court is a type of court that handles disputes involving small amounts of money. Compared to other courts, the proceedings in small claims courts are generally more streamlined, simplified, and less formal. This allows people to represent themselves without the need for an attorney

    How much can I sue for in small claims court? 

    The amount you can sue for in small claims court is known as the small claims limit. This amount varies by state and even by court but is usually around $10,000

    If you want to sue for more than the small claims limit, you will have to waive whatever amount is over the limit or consider suing in a regular court (however, this is going to be more expensive). 

    How long do you have to sue in small claims court? 

    States have set deadlines, called statutes of limitations, that let you know by when you should sue. 

    These deadlines will vary by state and by type of claim. For example, if you are suing for breach of contract, you will want to check the breach of contract statute of limitations in your state.

    How much does it cost to sue in small claims court? 

    States have made filing in small claims court accessible. 

    Most small claims court charge between $10-$75 to file a lawsuit. 

    Some small claims courts also offer court fee waivers, which means if you apply, you could pay $0 to file and serve your lawsuit. 

    Who can represent you in small claims court? 

    Small claims courts were intended to allow individuals to file, and represent themselves without the need for a lawyer

    For example, if you sue in a California small claims court, you will have to represent yourself as they don’t allow lawyers at the initial hearing.

    Steps to Filing a Lawsuit Against Amazon in Small Claims Court

    Here is an overview of how to sue Amazon in small claims court:

    1. Prepare the lawsuit. 

    2. File the lawsuit. 

    3. Serve Amazon. 

    4. Prepare for your small claims hearing against Amazon. 

    People Clerk can help you file and serve your small claims lawsuit against Amazon.

    Step 1: Prepare the Lawsuit  

    Prepare the lawsuit using the proper forms. These are usually available for download on your local small claims court website. The court will want to know (1) why you are suing Amazon, (2) how much you are suing Amazon for, and finally, (3) how you calculated the amount you are suing Amazon for.

    Who are you suing? 

    • In order to sue Amazon in a small claims court, you will need to make sure you have the right legal name and the correct mailing address for Amazon

    • This is necessary to make sure Amazon can be notified about the lawsuit later on. 

    • Here are some names we have seen Amazon refer themselves to; Amazon.com, Amazon.com Services LLC, or Amazon.com Services. It is very important that you find the correct name for Amazon to get a valid judgment against them.  

    • You may be able to find more information about Amazon and its correct legal name by going through its Conditions of Use to see what names they use. Or you can run a search on the Secretary of State website in your State. 

    How much are you suing for? 

    • You need to explain in your small claims complaint form (used to initiate your claim) how you calculated the amount you are suing for

    • For example, you purchased a defective product on Amazon, and Amazon refuses to refund your purchase. 

    Step 2: File the Lawsuit  

    Prepare the lawsuit against Amazon by using the proper forms, this is usually available for download on your local small claims court website. 

    There are several ways you may be able to file the lawsuit: 

    1. In person at your local small claims court, 

    2. By mail 

    3. Electronically (not available in all courts), 

    4. By fax (not available in all courts). 

    Step 3: Notify Amazon About the Small Claims Lawsuit

    Once you file your claim with the small claims court clerk, you will then need to “serve” (notify) Amazon about the small claims lawsuit. 

    Step 4: Prepare for Your Small Claims Hearing 

    Preparing for your small claims hearing is one of the most important steps, as the goal is to win the lawsuit against Amazon. Hence, the more prepared you are, the better you set yourself up for the hearing.

    To prepare to win at your small claims court hearing: 

    • Research the law. At this stage, you can also consider consulting with an attorney if you have questions about the claim you want to bring to court. 

    • Prepare your evidence. Your evidence should be geared towards showing the judge why Amazon owes you money damages for their conduct. You also want to have your evidence organized with titles, dates, and why that piece of evidence is important. We have seen people with really strong cases fail to win at their hearing because they couldn’t find the right piece of evidence to support their claims. People Clerk can help you organize your evidence in a judge-friendly evidence packet.

    • Prepare what to say. During the hearing, the judge will ask you why you are suing. The judge will then turn to Amazon, and ask for their side of the story. Start by addressing the judge as “your honor,” and from there, explain in a clear and concise manner what the dispute is about.  

    • Print enough copies of all your evidence. Make sure you have enough copies for yourself, Amazon, and the judge. 

    • Learn about the 5 mistakes you should avoid making during your small claims hearing. 

    Start by sending Amazon a demand letter using our free tool. Get started.

    Author

    Camila Lopez

    Legal Educator @ People Clerk. Camila holds a law degree and is a certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.

    Subscribe for Small Claims Tips