Can a business refuse to give you a refund when they take your money by mistake?

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Can a business refuse to give you a refund when they take your money by mistake?

I have a $500 credit with my internet provider for overcharging in the past. They were supposed to use that to cover my bill for this month, which was $300. Instead they took the money from my bank account via direct deposit, overcharging it and leaving my family and I penniless and without groceries

for the following 3 days. When we called trying to rectify the situation, they acknowledged their mistake, but told us that they’ll just credit it to next month’s bill instead of refunding the money. So there’s really no guarantee that they won’t make the same mistake again next month. My bank

advised me to withdraw the overdraft protection on my debit card in cash to make ends meet until the $1300 check I cashed the evening before finished processing, which was 3 days away. I have reported our provider and this incident to the better business bureau. Can they my internet provider get

away with this? Isn’t this negligent?

Can anything else be done at my end

that would be cost effective?

Asked on August 20, 2017 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, there's no cost-effective option. Say you tried to sue; say you sued in small claims court as your own attorney ("pro se") which is not just the cheapest option, but also the fastest; you can typically get into court in 4 - 8 weeks. By the time you get into court, you will have received the credit against the next bill; i.e. you will received compensation, and so the issue will be moot due to you effectively already getting the money to which you'd otherwise be entitled.


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