Can a business legally charge a cancellation fee in advance?

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Can a business legally charge a cancellation fee in advance?

When I booked an appointment with a local business, they charged my credit card a $50 “no-show” fee. I thought it was basically a deposit which would be creditted to my bill when I showed up. Instead, they charged me the full cost of services ($369) and promised to refund the “no-show” charge. Now I’m getting the runaround. Judging from on-line reviews, getting a refund of the “no-show” charge seems to be a common problem with this particular business. So I’m wondering if it’s even legal for them to charge a fee on advance, then not give the customer credit at the time of service.

Asked on August 9, 2012 under Business Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you were not advised up front and signed an agreement allowing for the "up front fee" that you have written about the charge is not allowable under principles of contractual law. I suggest that you contest the charge on your credit card if you have not done so already with your credit card company.


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