Legal Question in Business Law in California

right to refuse service

Can a small company refuse to do business with individuals who continually return product either on the internet or at their store? If so, is there languaging I need to include to make sure I'm not being racially, etc. discriminatory?

thank you!

Asked on 9/14/04, 12:30 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Re: right to refuse service

Why complicate things? Just don't do business with them. If you really insist on language, you can say (or print): "We reserve the right to refuse to do business with anyone." Period!

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Answered on 9/14/04, 12:40 pm

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: right to refuse service

First, every significant action a business takes, no matter how well intentioned, carries with it some possibility of a lawsuit. Some things are riskier than others; I would put telling particular customers that you don't want to do business with them somewhere in the middle of the risk list.

I would avoid putting anything in writing to the customer unless its absolutely necessary because of the way you do business, e.g. you might have to cancel an account in writing. If so, I would avoid stating a reason.

The most important thing to do, however, is to document your reason internally ... collect and maintain all records relating to the customer and the account. Good documentation showing a sound business reason for declining that person's trade provides a strong defense to a charge that you were acting from an improper motive.

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Answered on 9/14/04, 1:39 pm

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