Can an email be a legal document?

I recently made a transaction through PayPal, then had the transaction cancelled before it ever went through. I also received an email from Paypal stating that a cancelled transaction means the money was never taken out of my account. However, a day later, PayPal is still trying to take the money out of my account. This is causing my bank to charge me NSF fees. I called PayPal and they told me the information on the email was wrong. Doesn’t PayPal have to abide by what they have written down? Is it legal for PayPal to continue to try and withdraw money from my account after the transaction was already cancelled when the email states I should not have been charged?

Asked on July 19, 2014 under Business Law, New Jersey


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

This is not an easy yes or no answer. The issue in using an email as evidence of say intent to enter in to a contract (a legal document) or as some other form of evidence requires authentication and reliability be proven. I urge you to call PayPal back and ask to speak with a supervisor and then that person's supervisor in order to get to the bottom of things. If there was a glitch on their end then you need to keep hounding them to make it right.  Remember to keep a log of when you called and who you spoke to. Good luck. 

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