Is collecting payment before having paid for something a criminal offense? 3 Answers as of June 07, 2011

I recently went on a trip with a friend to Europe. I'm a journalist (but my friend isn't) so if I do a travel story featuring the hotels I stay in, I can get complimentary stays. I stayed in some of the hotels for free on my trip. After I came back from my trip however, I could not get a confirmation for a travel story, so I am prepared to pay for the hotels I stayed in. I told my friend all along that we have to pay for the hotels, as I didn't want to tell him from the start that the hotels were free in case I really couldn't do a travel story. So after the trip, I asked for payment for the hotels from my friend but my friend found out from the hotel receptions during the trip that our stay were complimentary so now he says to ask for payment from him when we haven't paid for the stays is illegal. Is it really a criminal offense to ask for payment from him so that I can pay the hotels? You mean I actually have to pay the hotels first then ask for payment from him? Many thanks for your help.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
It is not illegal for you to ask your friend to pay half the bills for the hotels that you stayed in, but he is under no obligation to pay.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/7/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
This sounds like a "tempest in a teapot" meaning it's more of an argument between two friends. In fact, if he stayed in the hotels and you eventually have to pay for those hotels, then he is obligated to pay his share, whether it is before, during or after paying for them yourself. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/6/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
As long as the hotels that you did not stay at free of charge get paid they can not charge you and/or your friend with a crime. However if your friend gave you payment for hotels that you stayed at for free then decent morality and common sense dictates that you return any money paid by your friend for hotels that you stayed at for free. You and your friend should split the cost of the hotels that you stayed at that were not free of charge. Therefore do the math and reimburse your friend as appropriate ( especially if you want to keep his friendship ).
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/6/2011
Click to View More Answers: