Can I be held liable for a group’s hotel cancellation charge without a signed contract agreement?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can I be held liable for a group’s hotel cancellation charge without a signed contract agreement?

I am a Home Based Travel Agent. In Oct. 2018 I contacted three hotels to get
a quote for a small group traveling to Orlando, June 2019 for 13 rooms. In June I
received a call from the hotel representative asking if the group was still coming.
I said No, the Group Cancelled their trip. I was then told, my credit card which
provided would be charged a cancelation fee of over 2000.00.
I did not recall giving my credit card information to any of the hotels I’d called.
I Do Not have a Contract for This nor Any of the other hotels I contacted. I called
and emailed that hotel representative to forward a signed agreement for me to
examine. There is none.
My bank has cancelled the charge back and paid the hotel, leaving me owing
my bank the charge. My banking institution says my releasing a card number
made me liable even in the absence of a contract agreement.

Asked on September 3, 2019 under Business Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, releasing a card number does not automatically make you liable for the charge: at most, it is evidence that suggests or supports that you agreed to cover the charge, but does not necessarily by itself prove that. Many states, including the state you list, LA, have laws saying that certain contracts, like those to answer for or pay the debts of others, must be in writing to be enforceable, and this situation might fall under that heading. You may wish to sue the hotel for $2,000 on the grounds that they charged you without there being an agreement that you would pay. Of course, in your line of work, suing a hotel might be a bad thing to do; and if they are in a different state, the costs and effort of suing them might exceed the value of the $2,000. Unfortunately, suing is the only option you'd have to get the money back, so you need to decide if it is worthwhile to you to do so.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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