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 against Amazon.
- What to do before suing Amazon in small claims court.
- How much does it cost to sue Amazon in small claims?
- How much can you sue Amazon for in small claims?
- How to file a small claims lawsuit against Amazon.
- Fun fact, lawyers are not allowed at the initial small claims hearing! This is to even the playing field so that each party has an equal chance of obtaining justice.
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 dispute is for $10,000 or less (more on this below).
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 to your seller's account.
What to do before suing Amazon in small claims court
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.
If you eventually decide to sue in California small claims court, you are required to first request your money or property back before you can file the lawsuit. 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.
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:
410 Terry Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109
You can also send a copy of the letter to their registered agent in California:
CSC- Lawyers Incorporating Service
2710 Gateway Oaks Drive
Sacramento, CA 95833
Make sure to always verify this information by reviewing the California Secretary of State's website as this information may change. Learn how here.
If Amazon ignores your demand letter, what is the next step? You can sue Amazon in a small claims court.
How much does it cost to sue Amazon in small claims?
So how much are you going to spend by suing Amazon in small claims court?
Court Filing Fees
The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit in California depends on how much you are suing Amazon for. You will pay between $30 to $75 to file the lawsuit. If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees.
Once the lawsuit is filed, you have to notify Amazon that you have sued them. This is called "serving." Serving Costs can range from $0-$75.
Amazon has an agent in each state it has a store. Officially this agent is called an "agent for service of process" which means the person or business responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of Amazon.
In California, this is Amazon's agent:
CT Corporation System
818 West Seventh Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
If you win, you can request that Amazon pay for your court fees and serving costs.
How much can you sue Amazon for in small claims?
In California, you can sue Amazon for a maximum of $10,000 if you are an individual. If you are a business suing Amazon, you can sue for a maximum of $5,000. Note, if you are a sole proprietor, you count as an individual.
By suing in small claims you are agreeing to waive any amount over the maximum amount you can sue for, even if you are owed more. For example, if Amazon owes you $15,000, and you decide to sue in small claims, you are waiving suing for an additional $5,000. Meaning that you will win a maximum of $10,000.
While you may be missing out on the full amount you are owed, there are practical benefits to suing in small claims instead of suing in "regular court."
Here are some of the benefits:
- Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.
- The process is faster in small claims than in other courts as your hearing will usually be scheduled 30-70 days after you file the lawsuit.
- Lawyers are generally not allowed in small claims which helps keep the costs of suing low.
How to file a small claims lawsuit against Amazon
We have outlined each one of these steps in detail, click the links to learn more.
- Prepare and file the lawsuit. Learn more.
- Notify ("serve") Amazon's agent for service of process. Learn more.
- Prepare for and attend the small claims hearing. Learn more.
Once the lawsuit is filed, the small claims hearing will be scheduled 30-70 days later.
What is a small claims court hearing like?
Small claims hearings in California small claims are informal and most hearings last around 15 minutes. While many disputes settle before the hearing, here is what to expect if your lawsuit does not settle.
Who will represent Amazon at the hearing?
- The easiest way to answer this question is that a lawyer will not be representing Amazon since lawyers cannot represent parties at the initial small claims hearing. They will have a non-attorney representative.
- Right before the hearing, the judge will ask you and Amazon's representative to show each other the evidence that you will later show the judge.
- The judge will ask you why you are suing.
- The judge will ask Amazon's representative to tell them their side of the story.
- The hearing will last around 15 minutes.
- The judge will ask you to show them the evidence you brought. Sometimes the judge will keep the evidence. Other times, you will get the evidence right back.
- Very rarely a judge will tell you whether you won or lost at the hearing. Instead, the judge will tell you that their decision will be mailed to you (usually takes a few weeks to two months or so).