Legal Question in Business Law in Florida

I have been a member of a local organic food buying club for around three years. I usually pay for my produce with cash, occassionally a check - never with credit. Last week they distributed a Credit Card Authorization Form, along with a letter stating that the credit card will not be charged unless there is a past due amount. If they must make a charge, there will be a 1% fee for processing any unpaid balance via credit card. I feel extremely uncomfortable completing and submitting this form since, essentially, they admit to having accumulated a considerable sum of balances due because of poor business practices. In addition, the owners have been dealing with serious and, I'm sure, expensive health issues. My question: Can they force me to sign this Credit Card Authorization Form as a condition of remaining a member? I would rather always pay cash than sign this form. Can they refuse to sell to me if I refuse to sign the form and offer to always pay in cash and in full? I have always paid in full, never bounced a check, and never made a late payment. I feel I'm being penalized unfairly for their poor business practices and the delinquency of some other members.

Asked on 5/11/13, 9:12 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

William Gwaltney William W. Gwaltney, Attorneys at Law

The simple answer is yes they can make signing the authorization a condition of membership. You are free to sign it, or place your business elsewhere. Unless you are the only member of this club I do not see that you are being "punished", they simply seem to have made a decision about how to conduct their business which you disagree with. if you do not like it you can choose to not continue doing business with them.

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Answered on 5/13/13, 8:45 am

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