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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 33554
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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I signed a non refundable agreement with A dating service.

Customer Question

I signed a non refundable agreement with A dating service. Prior to it hitting the credit card I realized that they did not do as verbally stipulated (an advertised on web site), the security check. I cancelled the debit to the card by disputing it. Now 6 months later the credit card company is putting charges back on due to the "non refundable agreement" for services. I have had no contact with the dating service with the exception of them calling back in May. I received no services from them. Can I sue to get this off my credit card?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

Does the agreement have any sections regarding venue or jurisdiction? Most have some type of language stating where a case must be filed.

Also, is there any language in there regarding arbitration?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
to both questions. The agreement must be disputed in Hillsborough County Florida, and pursuant to Florida Arbitration Code. I really want to make this go away. My approach may not be the agreement itself but the verbal and advertised items that sold me on the agreement that are not in the agreement.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

If the agreement has standard language regarding arbitration then you can't sue, you have to go to arbitration. Any lawsuit you file will be dismissed and you will have wasted the filing fees and costs of service (a few hundred dollars).

So the technical answer to the question is no, you can't sue to get this off of the credit card but you can file to arbitrate the matter pursuant to the arbitration agreement.

If you need an explanation as to how arbitration works, let me know and I'd be happy to explain. It would be considered a follow up question and there's no additional charge if we answer it in this thread.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What if I did not want to arbitrate the agreement but sue them up here in a local court for false advertisement and signing an agreement under duriss?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

If it is a standard arbitration agreement it is mandatory and if you file them then, as I mentioned above, they will file a response and objection and your lawsuit will be dismissed and you will have lost the filing fees, etc. There is a very slight possibility that the court would award their attorney's fees against you for filing the lawsuit instead of arbitrating per the agreement but that usually doesn't happen.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay so this is not fun. How do I go about arbitrating?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

No, they make it as difficult as possible.

To arbitrate contact an arbitration firm that meets the requirements of the agreement (goes by the Florida Arbitration Code) and explain that you want to schedule the arbitration. They will provide you the form to start the process.

An arbitration will follow the general procedures of a trial but they are usually less formal. The arbitrator will provide the specific rules they go by but generally you get a chance to present your evidence and call your witnesses and then

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

Sorry, it posted before I was ready

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.

and then the other side gets a chance to present their evidence and witnesses.

Some arbitrators will even allow you to do it by videoconference (Skype) although that's not my favorite way to do those things regardless of the distance. I find it works out better if you're there and looking them in the face.

Normally the parties split the cost of arbitration and if you win the arbitrator can award that cost back to you.

You will want to look at the contract and see if it says the arbitration is binding or non-binding.

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