Can she charge late fees with only 1 payment left?

I am getting married in 2 months. I hired a wedding coordinator to decorate my wedding. I recently asked her to send my last invoice as I only owe a $payment for July in the amount of $315.17. She sent a final invoice requesting $630.34. I questioned the amount and she since then sent an updated in voice for $1157. Stating I owe late fees. The contract lis the late fees but when we spoke she said late fees aren’t applied as long as we don’t allow payments to go into another month and communicate. So now that I questioned the last invoice of$ 630 she almost doubled. I asked her to send the July invoice separately from the late fees and to provide a date in which late fees are required. It’s been 3 days and she will not respond via email, phone nor Facebook. What can I do? My big day is less than 2 months away.

Asked on July 7, 2017 under Business Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

To elaborate: look at the due dates for payments in the written contract--any payments made later are considered "late" and will trigger late fees. Then look at the late fee(s) specified in the contract. Calculate what you owe under the contract, based on when you paid. That is what you owe and should pay.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you had a written contract, it is binding on *both* of you until and unless it is changed in writing--an oral or spoken agreement does not modify or revise a written contract, or waive any of its terms. So you owe whatever late fees the written contract says you owe, and no more than that: you have to pay whatever late fees are due based on the terms of the written contract and she cannot charge you any late fees not required by the contract's plain terms. At  need, if you cannot work any disagreements out between the two of you, either of you could file a lawsuit to enforce the contract--unfortunately, there is no other, easier, or quicker way to enforce a contract than by lawsuit.


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