I have a billing dispute with a vendor who processed payment with a VISA card on file. I believe the dispute is clear cut ($60 vs $900) but my vendor disagrees and is ignoring my phone calls. The CC authorization sheet that I signed reads "If credit card company refuses to pay...for any reason I acknowledge to pay the amount plus any legal and collection fees". Should I dispute the charge and let it go to small claims or pay the charge and take them to small claims myself?
Disclaimer: The materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
Generally, when a contract has an attorney's fees clause, and the parties enter into a dispute, the party who prevails is entitled to recovery of his/her/its reasonable attorney's fees. You need to review the contract provision in question and see how it was drafted. There are variations of the language, which can make it applicable to attorney's fees in any dispute, or attorney's fees only when legal action is taken, etc. You also need to assess the strength of your evidence and the chances of your prevailing in such a dispute. Be sure to consult your own attorney to protect your legal rights.
If there is an attorney's fee provision and you lose in a lawsuit, you would be responsible for the other side's attorney's fees and costs.
The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
Debt Settlement Attorney
I agree with the above with the following caveat: in California, a party is not allowed to be represented by counsel in a small claims action. Therefore, you would not be obligated to pay attorney's fees if you lost in a small claims action brought by or againstnthe creditor
This answer is intended to provide general information only. It does not create an attorney client relationship nor should it be construed as legal advice or an opinion on specific situations. Donald A. Green is only licensed to practice law in California and Oregon.