Milford, MA asked in Business Formation, Civil Litigation, Contracts and Consumer Law for Massachusetts

Q: Who and where should I file a lawsuit against a company that is not in my state?

I was wondering who I should contact or just to go through small claims court in regards to a travel agency that promised to refund me and is giving the run-around as to why they can't refund me, after already promising to do so. Any information is greatly appreciated.

1 Lawyer Answer

A: If you signed a contract with the travel agency (most likely for your original transaction, not the refund), that contract may contain a provision regarding consent to jurisdiction and governing law. If that provision exists, contact an attorney in the state described in that provision.

If there is no governing law provision, does the travel agency have a physical presence in the state where you live? If so, you may be able to file in the county where they have a physical location.

If there is no governing law provision and no physical location in your state, find out what state the travel agency has been incorporated in, and filing there may be the best course of action. You'll want to do this in any case to determine the identity of their registered agent.

Identifying the appropriate company, determining where you may sue them, and actually serving a lawsuit on their registered agent is a technical process where it is easy to make an error. Making an error in this process can mean you have to go through the whole process again or mean you've lost your claim entirely if the limitations period has expired.

I am not your attorney and I am not advising you as to any recommended course of legal action. Contact a consumer law attorney in your state and they may be able to better assist you. Sometimes, a phone call from an attorney who has become involved is all it takes to solve this type of problem, the cost of which may likely outweigh the time investment in learning the relevant rules of civil procedure and how to file a small claims action, then actually proceeding with filing such a claim.

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