If my client pre-paid on a boarding contract what, if anything, must I refund to them?

I board animals here for other people. I have a customer who I had we had a

falling out with, so she removed her animals off my property with only a 24 hour notice. She paid me a year in advance. I was wondering how much I have to give her back.

Asked on November 20, 2018 under Business Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A customer has no automatic legal right to provide a refund for services paid if they cancel the service early, unless there exists a valid contract to the contrary. Accordingly, you can keep all of the money paid to you. You should note, however, that had you cancelled the service, then you would need to provide your customer with a refund as keeping payment for services not rendered is illegal. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

There is no inherent right to a refund when the client or customer decides to no longer use your services (if you had kicked her out, so to speak, that would be different; then you'd have to return her money, since a business cannot deny services while keeping a customer's money).  Since she removed her animals, unless your contract gives her a right to refund in these circumstances, you don't have to give her anything back; the law does not entitle her to a refund apart from anything your contract offers her.


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