"Wait a minute. This could be some kind of scam... or possibly scamola!"
August 12, 2011 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Is there a subpoena process in the Ontario small claims court system, and (if so) is it worth the time and effort to make use of it? I believe I was recently scammed by a rental car company for a non-trivial amount of money (for a student) and am hoping to both recoup my costs and really stick it to them.

The scam (or series of errors, if interpreted charitably) was as follows:

(i) Unnoticed by me, the rental agent wrote down the kilometres listed on the vehicle's odometer incorrectly (ie, much lower) at the start of a vehicle rental;
(ii) The agent claimed that I had unlimited kilometres, despite the fact that the contract said that only 200km were free;
(iii) I pointed the latter fact out to the agent, who repeated her claim, and I accepted (naïvely) it at face value;
(iv) I noticed the first error after I left the lot, but thought "the agent said I have unlimited kilometres, so this concern is moot...";
(v) It wasn't moot, and I was charged for markedly exceeding the free kilometre limit.

The question, then: I have already contacted the rental company, who would seem to have brushed me off. And I realize that I screwed myself over by signing the agreement without double-checking the vehicle's odometer.

However, if I press the issue and take it to small claims court (in Ontario), is there a subpoena process that I could make use of? I'm quite certain that the previous rental agreement for that vehicle would vindicate my claim by showing that the vehicle already had many more kilometres on it than what was written on my contract. But do I have any hope of getting a copy of this?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are some great guides to Ontario's Small Claims Court available from the provincial Attorney General.

You can find them here: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/guides/.

You can request the court summon a witness & compel them to produce named documents using form 18A from here: http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/forms/scc.

Note, you will be required to pay the court to issue the summons and you may be required to cover the witness's expenses.

If you're looking for a great aid in making small claims court actions, you might try My Legal Briefcase, an online service that walks you through the process.

[Full disclosure: My Legal Briefcase is owned by an entrepreneur friend of mine]
posted by Apollo's Favorite Mistake at 10:32 AM on August 12, 2011

You can issue a summons under the Small Claims Court Rules that requires the witness to bring documents related to the action; you could specify the documents you are looking for.

More information here and here.

posted by Dasein at 10:35 AM on August 12, 2011

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