Do I have Any Recourse if a Company Suddenly Refuses my Business Causing me to Refund Thousands of Dollars?

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“I have a business where I provide passenger gifts for people who are going on cruise ships. We are licensed to sell wine & beer. We have been in business for 17 years. Today one of the cruiselines decided to not allow any of our gift packages on board that contain alcohol. The original memo (which i was not able to get) stated it was because they wanted to keep the revenue for themselves. The letter that i received states that their guests were trying to get around their rules of not allowing passengers to bring wine on aboard themselves. They have accepted our gifts for 17 years & accept a $5 per item receiving fee. At no point prior have they refused any gift & have cashed our checks for the fees. This action will put us out of business, I have already had to refund thousands of dollars to customers & have thousands more that will need to be refunded. Is this legal? Do I have any recourse?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

This is a tricky situation. The first place to look is at the contract you have with the cruise line. What, if anything, does it say about alcohol, or the cruise line’s right to refuse your product?

Next, there are the various issues of waiver and detrimental reliance, as well as breach and constructive breach.

All these are fancy ways of saying that even if the contract itself doesn’t support your position, past practices between you and the cruiseline may run to your favour. Or, vice versa.

Your best bet at this point is to consult with a business litigation attorney who is very familiar with contract cases.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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