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If I rented a car in Wisconsin, but live in Tucson where do I file a small claims against them? here or there?

Tucson, AZ |

The claim is not about the rental itself, but the fact that they took money from my account in Tucson 4 months later. How do I go about filing the papers? or starting a small claims?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Your bank account was here, but it is more likely the proper jurisdiction is Wisconsin. This raises issues similar to the matters discussed by the US Supreme Court in the case of International Shoe v. Washington. There, the Court held that a corporation must have minimum contacts with the situs state so as not to "offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice."

In your case, you presented payment from your account in Wisconsin, you rented the car in Wisconsin, and used the car in Wisconsin. I would want to know if the method of payment was by debit card, especially as there is no specific way to identify where the account actually is. If so, it would be too much of a reach to say that "the company avail[ed] itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws." Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253 (1958).

Of course, even if the proper jurisdiction is Wisconsin, you might want to simply dispute the withdrawal with your bank. If they cannot justify the debit, the money will be returned to you. And if they explain the basis, you will have a better ability to evaluate the strength of your case.

Good luck!

The answers I give are based on the information in the question, but a complete answer requires an in office consultation. I am an Attorney with Cesta Legal at Gateway, a compasionate bankruptcy firm conveniently located off the US 60 in Mesa, Arizona. In addition to our other areas of practice, Cesta Legal is a debt relief agency. We help people and families file for relief under the bankruptcy code.


Jurisdiction would lie in Arizona, not Wisconsin. Small claims can be found at your local Justice Court. But I advise you to at least consult with a lawyer first.


Read the fine print in the rental contract and it should describe the proper place and manner that a claim can be made. It may be in an arbitration.