Can I charge a client’s credit card without their express permission?

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Can I charge a client’s credit card without their express permission?

I have a client who signed a contract with my company for $780. He paid $400 on his credit card and said that he would send a check for the balance. Since then repeated calls and e-mails have been ignored regarding getting the money. I do have a signed contract for the service and e-mails from him acknowledging that he owes the money and the service was provided to his satisfaction. Can I charge his credit card again for the balance? The contract simply states he agrees to pay the amount in full in 30 days, but not specifically that we can charge his card.

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is a tough call.  But really the contract governs here and how it is interpreted is what counts.  Therefore, reading it is important.  Additionally, although the four corners of the written contract are what governs and the general rule that outside oral testimony does not come in to play, there are exception to this rule.  If the contract is silent to the issue then outside information  - which can be your agreement to the check for the balance - could be binding on you.  You may have to sue him for the money (which would be a small claims action here given the amount).  Tread cautiously here.  Good luck.


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