Can a company collect a cancellation fee using my debit card account without prior authorization or notification?

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Can a company collect a cancellation fee using my debit card account without prior authorization or notification?

I made a purchase in 2010 and was recently charged a cancellation fee for not maintaining service for the agreed amount of time. I called the company and was told that it was a legitimate transaction and that the notification was in terms and conditions I agreed to when I first made the purchase. When I asked if there was somebody else I could speak with I was told no because “nothing was going to be done”. Is the terms and conditions legally my notifications of this transaction?

Asked on February 22, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The fundamental question is whether this was in your terms and conditions. If it was, it could be enforced, and there is no need to provide an additional notice; people are legally presumed to read and understand the terms and conditions for purchases, services,  etc. Of course, if the term was in very obscure, ambiguous, seemingly contradictory, or difficult-to-understand language, it may be the case then that it would not be legally binding on you, since in that case, it could be argued you did not in fact agree to it. However, that is a question of fact; the legal principal is that terms in the terms and conditions at the time or point of sale may be enforced and there is no general need for further notice  of them or their consequences.


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