What to do restaurant charged me for party services not utilized?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2011

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What to do restaurant charged me for party services not utilized?

I rented a party hall for a birthday party. We agreed on paying per head and 15% service charge on top of that. Then 2 days before the event, I estimated 70 people for the party but only 56 people turned up. Now the restaurant claims that I agreed to pay for 70 people regardless of how many people turned up. There is no written proof of agreement, obviously their interpretation is different from mine. Also, the service was poor. Can I decline service charge. I payed them in full, but can I reclaim any of that money?

Asked on December 14, 2011 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The issue will come down to whether there was an agreement to pay for 70 people or not. Even if there was no written agreement, there could have been an oral agreement, which is enforceable. If you do not pay for 70 people (including service charge), but the restaurant feels you had agreed to do, they may try to sue you; they could bring a lawsuit, and try to prove (e.g. through testimony) that you had agreed to pay for 70. You in turn could dispute that and provide your  evidence and testimony to the contrary.

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