What to do about an additional fee not mentioned in a contract?

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What to do about an additional fee not mentioned in a contract?

I have my daughter in a childcare program with the YWCA. The contract that I signed states that my monthly fee is $160 per month and due on the 1st of each month and is late on the 6th. They also stated that “FEES WILL NOT BE PRO-RATED OF REFUNDED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES”. I was informed on yesterday at 5:00 pm that our monthly fee due on the 1st (5 days) is $200 because there are 5 weeks in the month. No where in the contract that I signed does it say that they will reduce or increase the monthly fee based on the number of weeks in a particular month. What they are doing is prorating? They are threatening to drop my child and other children from the program if we do not pay. Do I have to pay this additional fee?

Asked on September 28, 2012 under Business Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A contract is enforceable as per its plain terms; a party to a contract only has to pay those fees in the contract, which the party agreed to, and the other party may not add additional fees. From what you write, it appears that they Y may not charge the extra money: $160/month is $160 for each calendar month (i.e. if the fee were $40/week, it would be a different matter) and no pro-ration would seem to cut both ways.

The above said, it may be the better course to pay: if you don't pay, the Y may drop the children from the program. To get them back in, you'd have to sue, which itself costs money--and more importantly, takes time; it could take months to get your children back into the program. An extra $40, even if not warranted under the agreement, may be cheaper than the cost of fighting.


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