Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Washington

I live in Washington State and have an outstanding account with a local vet who just started her business. I took two dogs there and got vet care. I told her I could not pay upfront for care but they needed dentals. She said no problem that I could make payments. I asked her what the terms were and she said, "Oh like 6 months or a year". So we got the work done, I got a bill. I made a payment (thinking I was going to take a year or less to pay off). The second invoice I got from the office has a little scrap of paper saying that they are not only starting 11/14 with a $2.00 month Service Charge but also in January 2016 will start charging a monthly late fee which will be be "a percentage of the total amount due". NO percentage stated on the scrap of paper or the actual billing. I never signed an agreement to this and if known ahead I would not have. I would have had one dog done and then the other after the first was paid off. I feel is it unfair now. Is this legal what they are doing?

Asked on 11/10/15, 6:39 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonathan Baner Baner & Baner

You ASSUMED you would get a no interest loan, however, the law assumes that all loans bear interest. Calling it a loan is just shorthand. You paid for services on credit.

HOWEVER, the "service charge" isn't presumed. Also, if it started with no interest (for a couple of months at least) then one could more reasonably assume no interest. Though a court may still disagree. The Vet will eventually, but might not yet since you say she is new, have something that you've already signed allowing for these things (I have no idea and in my experience a lot of customers aren't aware of exactly all the details of things that were signed).

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Answered on 11/10/15, 6:58 pm

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