Do you have a dispute with Vroom over a car you purchased, a refund on a warranty, or bad title? You have several options, including suing Vroom in small claims court.
In this article, learn about:
- Common types of small claims lawsuits against car dealerships.
- What to do before suing Vroom in small claims court.
- How much does it cost to sue Vroom in small claims?
- How much can you sue Vroom for in small claims?
- How to file a small claims lawsuit against Vroom.
- 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 car dealerships
We often receive the question, can I sue a car dealership 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 car dealerships:
- The car had mechanical issues shortly after you bought it. For example, you bought the car and the next day the engine started to act up.
- Made a fraudulent misrepresentation or advertising regarding the car you purchased. For example, the car dealership lied that the car was never in an accident.
- Failing to fix your car after you purchased a warranty. For example, you purchased a warranty when you bought the car and you pay for repairs after having mechanical issues. Now the dealership or the warranty won't refund you for the money you spent fixing the car.
- Failure to refund you. For example, if you cancelled an extended warranty you purchase and the dealership agreed to refund you but never did.
- Failure to give you the title documents. For example, you purchased a car but the car dealership didn't provide you with the title documents to the car.
California DMV Car Buyer's Bill of Rights. The DMV publishes a guide on common issues with car dealerships here are some of the topics covered (1) required disclosures car dealerships are supposed to provide you with, (2) using the word "certified" when selling a used car, (3) buying a used car and the option to cancel the contract within 2 days.
What to do before suing Vroom in small claims court
Contact Vroom's Customer Service
Call Vroom's customer service number 855-524-1300 and have them troubleshoot your problem. You can also email Vroom's customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consider filing a complaint against Vroom with the DMV
- Prepare the DMV complaint form.
- Create an evidence packet to attach to the complaint form. For example, any contracts, receipts, disclosures, warranties, checks, pictures, etc. that are relevant to the DMV complaint you are filing against Vroom. We can create an evidence packet for you!
- Mail the complaint and the evidence packet to the closest DMV investigations office to where you are located or to their Sacramento office. You can find a list of DMV investigative offices on the second page of the DMV complaint form.
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 Vroom:
- 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?
Attn: General Counsel
New York, NY 10018
How much does it cost to sue Vroom in small claims?
So how much are you going to spend by suing Vroom 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 Vroom 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 Vroom that you have sued them. This is called "serving." Serving Costs can range from $0-$75.
More on who to serve on behalf of Vroom below. If you win, you can request that Vroom pay for your court fees and serving costs.
How much can you sue Vroom for in small claims?
In California, you can sue Vroom for a maximum of $10,000 if you are an individual. If you are a business suing Vroom, 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 Vroom owes you $12,000, and you decide to sue in small claims, you are waiving suing for an additional $2,000. 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.
You can also speak to a lawyer if you think Vroom may owe you a lot more than the small claims limit. Most consumer fraud lawyers will provide you with a free consultation to determine if they can take your case. Reach out to us via our chat if you need assistance finding a consumer fraud lawyer.
How to file a small claims lawsuit against Vroom
Step 1: Identify the legal name for Vroom, their address, and their "agent of service of process."
In order to sue in California small claims, you need to be able to correctly name the person or business you are suing. Identifying whether Vroom is doing business as an LLC or Corporation is very important.
- Look for names Vroom uses on contracts, receipts or communications with you. Look through any documents you received from Vroom and write down any potential names. Follow the steps below using the names you have written down.
- Run a search on the CA DMV website. Car dealerships have to be licensed with the DMV. You can run a search for their license information on the DMV website. Their license information will list their legal entity name.
- Fictitious Business Names. Many car dealerships use a name other than their legal name to do business. They do this for marketing purposes usually because their legal name is too long. A name other than a legal name is called a fictitious business name. Each county has a database of fictitious business names where you can search for the real legal entity name. In this article, we cover this process in detail.
- Search on the California Secretary of State's website. Vroom is likely registered as a corporation or LLC in California. You will need to identify the name of the corporation or LLC. In this article, we cover this process in detail. It is important to identify who the agent for service of process (someone selected by the corporation or LLC to receive legal documents on its behalf) as this is the person who will be served.
Step 2: Complete "Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court" (Form SC-100)
- This form starts the California Small Claims Court lawsuit process. Download here.
- It is also known as the "complaint" or "claim."
- Remember, we can help you prepare the small claims lawsuit and file it with the court!
Step 3: 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 4: Serve the lawsuit on Vroom's agent
Remember, you will be serving Vroom's "agent for service of process" as listed on the California Secretary of State's website. Learn more 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 Vroom at the hearing?
- The easiest way to answer this question is that a lawyer will not be representing Vroom 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 Vroom'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 Vroom'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).