Q: If a business receives an overpayment on an invoice, can we apply the overpayment to a different outstanding invoice?
If a client has an outstanding balance and overpays on an invoice, can we apply the overpayment to a different outstanding invoice or do we need to get permission first or do we just have to send them a check for the overpaid amount? Do I also need to contact them first if I sent back the overpaid amount?
A: As with many answers to legal questions, the answer is "it depends". It depends on what kind of contract you and your customer have. For example, a gym membership or statutorily defined consumer contract or retail installment contract may be regulated in such a way as to prohibit the right of setoff. For very little money, hire an attorney to review your specific contract (if any) and how you interact with customers to get the correct answer to your unique business.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
A: It could depend on the terms of the contract (and subject to state law). The safest approach could be to disclose the error and ask the client if they would like it applied to their outstanding invoice, thereby avoiding any accusations of questionable bookkeeping practices. Your rights to recover other invoice are not diminished by being forthright in the overpayment. You could contact them to let them know - it's unlikely anyone would object to being told about money being returned to them. Good luck
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.