How to Sue Hotels.com

April 6, 2021
How to Sue Hotels.com
People Clerk helps you with your small claims court lawsuit.

Do you have a dispute with Hotels.com over a refund, rental, or overcharges? You have several options, including suing Hotels.com in small claims court.

In this article, learn about:

  • Common types of small claims lawsuits against Hotels.com.
  • What to do before suing Hotels.com in small claims court.
  • How much does it cost to sue Hotels.com in small claims?
  • How much can you sue Hotels.com for in small claims?
  • How to file a small claims lawsuit against Hotels.com.
  • 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 Hotels.com

We often receive the question, can I sue Hotels.com in small claims? The answer is yes as long as the dispute is for $10,000 or less (more on this below). You may also want to consider suing the airline, hotel, or car rental company that would ultimately provide you with the service you purchased on Hotels.com.

Here are some examples of small claims lawsuits against Hotels.com:

  • Failure to refund you. For example, you accidentally purchased two tickets on Hotels.com instead of one.
  • Unexpected charges. For example, a week before trip you received an email that there would be an unexpected fee that you have to pay otherwise the reservation will get cancelled.
  • You reserved and paid for a reservation but when you got to the hotel they didn't have your registration!

What to do before suing Hotels.com in small claims court

Contact Hotels.com's Customer Service

Call Hotels.com's customer service phone number 1-800-246-8357 and have them troubleshoot your problem.

Contact Hotels.com on Twitter

Many companies respond to Twitter complaints extremely fast. Here is Hotels.com's Twitter handle: @hotelscomhelp

Consider filing a complaint with the BBB against Hotels.com

The Better Business Bureau may be able to help you with your complaint against Hotels.com. Here is how you can file a BBB complaint against Hotels.com.

Make sure to also review complaints other customers have filed against Hotels.com with the BBB (review Hotel.com's BBB complaints here). This will help you learn whether Hotels.com responds to BBB complaints.

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 Hotels.com:

  • 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 mail the demand letter to?

Hotels.com, L.P.

333 108th Ave. NE

Bellevue, WA 98004

You can also mail a copy of the letter to Hotels.com's agent in California:

National Registered Agents, Inc.

818 West Seventh Street

Suite 930

Los Angeles, CA 90017

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 Hotels.com ignores your demand letter, what is the next step? You may be able to sue Hotels.com in a small claims court. Make sure to review any contracts you have received from Hotels.com. Here are Hotels.com's terms of service.

How much does it cost to sue Hotels.com in small claims?

So how much are you going to spend by suing Hotels.com 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 Hotels.com 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.  

Serving Costs

Once the lawsuit is filed, you have to notify Hotels.com that you have sued them. This is called "serving." Serving Costs can range from $0-$75.

More on who to serve on behalf of Hotels.com below. If you win, you can request that Hotels.com pay for your court fees and serving costs.

How much can you sue Hotels.com for in small claims?

In California, you can sue Hotels.com for a maximum of $10,000 if you are an individual. If you are a business suing Hotels.com, 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 Hotels.com owes you $11,000, and you decide to sue in small claims, you are waiving suing for an additional $1,000. 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:

  1. Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.
  2. 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.
  3. Lawyers are generally not allowed in small claims which helps keep the costs of suing low.  

How to file a small claims lawsuit against Hotels.com

Step 1: Complete "Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court" (Form SC-100)

Hotels.com, L.P.

333 108th Ave. NE

Bellevue, WA 98004

Hotels.com's agent for service of process in California:

National Registered Agents, Inc.

818 West Seventh Street

Suite 930

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Make sure to always verify this information by reviewing the California Secretary of State's website as this information may change. Learn how here.

Step 2: File "Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court"

Each California Small Claims Court has a different procedure for filing. You have to check with your local small claims court whether they allow filing in-person, by mail, online, or by fax. Or we can file your case for you!

Step 3: Serve the lawsuit on Hotels.com's agent

Remember, you will be serving Hotels.com's "agent for service of process" as listed on the California Secretary of State's website. Learn more here.

Agent for Service of Process:

National Registered Agents, Inc.

818 West Seventh Street

Suite 930

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Make sure to always verify this information by reviewing the California Secretary of State's website as this information may change. Learn how here.

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 Hotels.com at the hearing?

  • The easiest way to answer this question is that a lawyer will not be representing Hotels.com since lawyers cannot represent parties at the initial small claims hearing. They will have a non-attorney representative.

The hearing:

  • Right before the hearing, the judge will ask you and Hotels.com'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 Hotels.com'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).
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