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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lawyer
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Is it legal (in my case Kaiser Hospital) to take an order

Customer Question

Is it legal for merchant (in my case Kaiser Hospital) to take an order (e.g. prescription refill), and credit card number, then accept and COMPLETE the order ...without revealing the cost to the customer. They state that the information will be emailed later.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

There is no specific criminal law that applies to this situation. However, a contract requires a meeting of the minds, and an agreement to purchase something is a contract. If you had no idea how much an item would cost before agreeing to the purchase, and they did not tell you, then you could argue that there was no agreement. In that scenario, they would have to accept the medication back and give you a refund. That's something you could have insisted on at the time this happened, before signing the receipt and before leaving the premises. If you took the medication and left, and have started to take the drugs as prescribed, it would be much more difficult to argue that you did not agree. Signing the receipt is an agreement to pay, and the receipt has the amount on it. The agreement is also implied in your act in taking the drugs and leaving the facility. So that makes it much more difficult to argue that they need to give you a refund.

The best way to avoid this situation in the future is to refuse to hand over your credit card until the merchant has stated the exact amount that will be charged. But I'm sorry to say, it could be difficult to get your money back in the scenario you've described.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This was an online purchase and I do not believe the drugs in question have even been mailed as the order was yesterday. My choice of course is to drive to the hospital and purchase the drugs. The hospital encourages the online method, but it seems to me not revealing the price up front is shady business.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Yes, it is.

If you did everything online, you may still be able to cancel and get your money back. There's a much stronger argument in that case that the transaction was invalid, because they wouldn't let you agree to the price.

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