What are my legal options in regards to the situation I describe below? Am I legally obligated to pay? Can I technically ignore them?

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What are my legal options in regards to the situation I describe below? Am I legally obligated to pay? Can I technically ignore them?

Hi

I am a financially-struggling college student who organized a 5-day global health
trip with an international organization based in Central America to provide
international volunteer work experience for my participants i.e fellow college
peers. I charge my participants and I pay this organization for setting up the
volunteer experience I am just the middle man. Long story short, the organization
I temporarily partnered with mistakenly made an error in their accounting
department and told me I had paid the invoice I owed in full, when in reality I only
paid 40 of what was promised. Fast forward 1 month after the trip has taken
place and they are contacting me they just discovered this mistake to pay the
other 60 6,000. I have not been communicating with them since, until I figure
out my options. I don’t have the money they demand as it has been spent. I do
have a voicemail recording and a PDF receipt from their representative
mistakenly stating I had made all outstanding payment.

Can they sue me or force me to pay? Feel free to banter on about ethics/morality
if it makes you feel better, but I am looking for a legal advice. Nothing more,
nothing less.

Thx

Asked on February 26, 2017 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends on what the terms or agreement was--that is, what cost were you initially told for the trip, and to what cost did you agree? If you agreed to pay, for example, $10,000 but only paid $4,000, they could sue you for the balance, even if they mistakenly told you that your partial payment was payment in full: you are contractually obligated to pay the full agreed-upon amount, and the law is clear that their error does not absolve you of that legal obligation. On the other hand, if you paid the full amount you'd agreed initially to pay, that is the contracted amount; they cannot demand more after the fact.


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