5. Go to Small Claims Court
Try these tools:
Use this letter-writing tool to complain about a product or service.
You can also think about suing the business in . This might be an option where:
- the Ministry is not able to help you because the business did not break any laws,
- the Ministry is taking the business to court, but you might also be able to get money for other damages
If you're asking for $35,000 or less, you can file a claim in Small Claims Court. You must file your claim within 2 years of when you first learned about the problem.
If you want to sue for more than $35,000, you have to do this in Superior Court. It's very hard to do this without a lawyer. You should try to get legal help. Or, you can decide to sue in Small Claims Court if you waive the amount that is over $35,000. For example, if you're owed $40,000, you can give up your right to $5,000 and sue in Small Claims Court for $35,000.
The Ministry of the Attorney General website has a self-help guide for Small Claims Court.
In Small Claims Court, you have a chance to tell your story to a judge and present your evidence. The business will also have a chance to tell their story.
You don't need a lawyer to represent you in Small Claims Court. But, talking to a lawyer or paralegal can help you understand the court process. If you have a low income, you might be able to get help from Pro Bono Ontario.
But, there are some reasons why you might not want to sue in court, including:
- you have to pay court fees
- if you lose, the court could order you to pay some of the business's legal costs
- it's complicated and a lot of work for you, especially if you don't have a lawyer
- it can take a year or more to get a decision
- if you win but the business doesn't pay, you have to try to collect the money on your own
For more information about suing in Small Claims Court, read the question: How can I sue in Small Claims Court?