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VIC Australian Consumer Law - Is Dentist Cancellation Fee Too Excessive?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Edward John, 30 June 2016.

  1. Edward John

    Edward John Member

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    Recently got my appointment time wrong with a dentist. I thought it was 10 am, not 9 am. Is a 18-dollar cancellation fee excessive as a penalty under Australian Consumer Law?
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    No. Seems quite reasonable, even more so for a dentist.
     
  3. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Whose fault was it that you got the appointment time wrong?
     
  4. @thelawbundle

    @thelawbundle Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ed,

    The first question I would be asking (prior to considering whether this was a contractual penalty) is whether you were contractually bound to pay the $18 at all.

    Were you given notice that this fee would be payable before you missed your appointment? If not, then I would be telling your dentist that you are not bound to pay that amount.

    If you were given notice that this fee was payable, then I agree with both Sophea's and Rod's comments above. That is, if missing the appointment was your fault, $18 does seem to be reasonable (and not a penalty) on the face of it.

    However, I would suggest that if you turned up at 10am and still paid for your appointment (albeit a later appointment) and the dentist did not have to turn any customers away (or serviced another customer in your 9am slot) then you would not be liable to pay the $18 fee.

    Generally, an amount will only be a "penalty" in this circumstance if it is not a "genuine pre-estimate" of the dentist's loss or is "unconscionable / extravagant" in the circumstances.
     

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