DEAR JEFF: Is it illegal for a customer to leave me a copy of their credit card for me to charge a monthly payment toward their outstanding bill? Signed, “Show Me The Money”

Dear “Show Me The Money”: I would not advise charging a credit card on a monthly basis by using a copy. The Electronic Funds Transfer Act requires permission before a business can charge a credit or debit card. It would be easy for a customer to claim that you did not have permission to charge repeatedly.

Jeffrey Bates is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, but is not board certified in any area of specialty by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

This column is meant for general information and educational purposes only, and neither this column nor the transmittal of a legal question via email constitutes the creation of an attorney/client relationship between the reader and Jeffrey Bates and/or Southern Newspapers Inc. For specific advice regarding legal matters affecting you, consult an attorney.

To submit a question, send it via email to, or via regular mail to Ask the Lawyer, 101 S. First St., Lufkin 75901, or call 639-2900.

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