Can a business charge an extra fee based upon the time of day of a purchase?

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Can a business charge an extra fee based upon the time of day of a purchase?

Is it legal for a business, in this situation a beer distributor, to charge an extra fee based upon the time of day a purchase is made? In this situation, the business implemented a $1/case and $2/keg fee for any purchase between 10 pm and 11 pm.

Asked on April 25, 2012 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is unusual but legal. A business may charge any amount it likes for its products, and is allowed to offer any sort of pricing scheme--any who doesn't like its pricing should seek other suppliers or sources. Various sorts of discounts and/or additional fees are common; e.g. discounts for paying invoices early or for ordering larger quantities; or conversely, higher costs for special handling or small order sizes. There is nothing illegal about basing pricing on time of day.

The one exception to the above would be if you have a written contract setting out pricing; if so, during its term (i.e. until its expiration or its cancellation in accordance with any provisions for early cancellation), its pricing will control.


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