0

I've read that legal tender laws require a debt collector to accept any legal tender for the debt. Does the law also obligate the debt collector to return any change owed?

So suppose I walk into a sit-down restaurant, order a $2 soda, drink it, and then ask for my check. I'm now in debt for $2 to the restaurant. Suppose I somehow had managed to acquire a rare $10,000 note (which is technically still legal tender), and were to present it as payment for my bill (obviously not the smart choice, as the note is undoubtedly worth more than face value to collectors!). If I'm not mistaken, the restaurant is legally obligated to accept my note as payment...are they also legally obligated to provide me with $9,998 in change?

  • 1
    They aren't legally obligated to accept your note as payment either. – JohnFx Jun 16 '15 at 13:20
  • 1
    As a more realistic question, many small restaurants and mom-and-pop stores also have signs that they will not accept $50 and $100 bills for payment (and return change to the customer). – Dilip Sarwate Jun 16 '15 at 15:04
  • @JohnFx the first article I linked suggests otherwise: "However, restaurants that do not collect payment until after a meal is served must accept any legal tender for the debt incurred in purchasing the meal.". Are you saying that statement is inaccurate? – Kevin K Jul 20 '15 at 13:55
  • I also updated my example to make it clearer that I was talking about that sort of situation – Kevin K Jul 20 '15 at 13:59
6

They're not legally obligated to provide you change. They're not legally obligated to accept more than you owe, either.

Generally, ordering food in a restaurant is not considered a loan, and they're not your creditors.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.