General Question

yankeetooter's avatar

Is it illegal for another person to sign for a food order that was placed on a different individual's credit card?

Asked by yankeetooter (9651points) March 21st, 2016

The individual whose credit card the order was placed on is giving their permission, but does that make it legal? Either way, if the person being asked to sign for the order does not feel comfortable doing so, should they be required to?

My boss was going into a meeting, and hadn’t ordered is food early enough like a responsible adult would in order for his food to arrive on time. (That’s on him.) Except that he then asked me to sign for the order (placed on his card), and to add a $5.00 tip. I told him that I did not sign for other people’s credit card orders. He seemed to deal with it fine (and actually had another person come up and sign for it for him), but I just want to know if he can in any way hold that against me.

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33 Answers

chyna's avatar

I sign all the time for the various doctors in my office. They order lunch for us and are seeing patients so can’t be here to sign. It doesn’t bother me at all.
I can’t say whether your boss can/will hold it against you as I don’t know him.

jca's avatar

The question of whether or not your boss can hold it against you has to do with insubordination. If your boss tells you to do something and, other than jeopardizing your safety, you refuse, he can charge you with insubordination. For the government agency I work for, if you are charged with insubordination, that can be grounds for termination.

Silence04's avatar

It could only be considered “fraudulent” if he disputed the charge on his card. Even then, it would be very difficult to convict you of a crime.

If there is anything he can hold against you, it’s your ignorance on the subject of credit card fraud. Which could potentially lead to other prejudgements.

yankeetooter's avatar

But the question of legality still exists. Whether or not the credit card owner is going to complain, I am asking whether it is technically legal to do so. I guess I will shoot an email to our HR department on this. After all, especially when adding a tip, he could then say he had not authorized me to do that, and then certainly at the least, I could be fired for having done so.

Frankly, it bothers me that the responses have seemed to say, never mind if it’s legal, as long as he okayed it, it’s fine. One should never do something that could have legal ramifications, especially at one’s job, without understanding that it could come back and harm your job, etc. After all, if it’s against the law, and he does write me up for insubordination because I refused to break the law, I’m pretty sure I would have cause to fight it.

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s not a question of legality – at all.

The only way that you can be prosecuted in a criminal court for attempting to use someone else’s credit card or other accounts is if that is done in the commission of a fraud. That is, you “borrow” your boss’ card and charge things in his account – unknown to him – which you then use. Or you using company accounts to feather your own nest – embezzling, in other words.

The person who would start the legal proceedings against you (or start an investigation, if one is to be mounted) would be either your boss, if he thought you had defrauded him, or the credit card company. (The only reason the credit card company might start that would be if they called your boss to ask if such-and-such a charge was legitimate and he said “No.”) So, really, this comes down to the relationship between you and your boss, and whether you distrust him to an extent that you think he might try to trap you in such a manner.

Your ultra-strict orthodoxy on this issue (and subsequent failure to realize that this is how the world works, and it’s not so bad) – while entirely “legal” (as it is not illegal to refuse to sign for someone else’s charges) – may cost you the position due to your inflexible attitude. Assistants use their bosses’ credit cards and accounts ALL THE TIME to facilitate travel, meals and other routine and mundane expenses for them. That is what makes them “assistive”.

Strauss's avatar

I think your signature is your statement that you are authorized to use the card for the particular transaction.

yankeetooter's avatar

Actually, @CWOTUS…I don’t trust him sad to say. And even if it’s not that I think he always has an ulterior motive, he is not “a reliable source unto himself” at the best of times. He will tell staff one thing one day, and then insist he said the opposite thing the next day. He will even admit to being forgetful.

I am just not doing it. Suppose his wife had it out with him the other night to stop ordering out food. (who knows? maybe money’s tight, or she wants him to eat healthier?) Now she gets the credit card statement, and, in an attempt to avoid an argument, he claims that he never ordered the food. Now my signature is on the slip. Who is looking for a job now?

I don’t care what anybody says, I am not going to do what I feel is

yankeetooter's avatar

Just talked to our HR department, and we are in no way required to sign for someone else’s purchase. Also, HR assured me that we could not be written up for insubordination for refusing to do the above.

chyna's avatar

Since you feel so strongly about it, then don’t do it. You don’t need our advice. Since you have told him no this time, I doubt he will ask you again.

canidmajor's avatar

Really, @yankeetooter, this does not seem to be a battle worth fighting for. I hope when you said you wouldn’t do it that you weren’t as high-horsey as you are sounding here. Don’t sign if you are not comfortable, but this is not that big a deal, and not really a slippery slope circumstance.
And, I suppose, technically it’s not legal, unless it’s the equivalent of a company (expense account) card, in which case the line is very fuzzy since you are both employed at the same place.
And really, his wife? None of your business in any universe.

yankeetooter's avatar

@canidmajor…just an example of what could happen, which I would think you would have recognized.

chyna's avatar

@yankeetooter. This seems more than just about signing your boss’s credit card. You really seem to mistrust him and most of the people in the office from your other questions. This really surprises me as in questions in the past from you indicated you were more than willing to bend over backwards to help your co workers. What has changed?

canidmajor's avatar

And again, not something that should have any bearing at all on your reaction. The only thing here that has anything to do with the situation is your discomfort. Say no, let it go.
The point may be moot soon enough, as you are probably getting a reputation for being a certain amount of difficult, and might be needing to look for another job sooner rather than later.

yankeetooter's avatar

@chyna…this new boss is what has changed, and the atmosphere he has created.

@canidmajor…thanks, but I’m not worried. I have always stuck to my beliefs in what I feel is right and wrong, and in almost 30 years of working, have yet to be fired for it.

canidmajor's avatar

Good luck with that.

jca's avatar

@yankeetooter: As far as who ordered the food if his wife were to be upset and he says he didn’t order, the pizza place would likely have his name and maybe even a recording of the call.

I don’t see this as any different than if we order something for work and the UPS man or Fex Ex man delivers it and someone signs for the delivery.

What it sounds like to me is that you are pushing back because you don’t like your boss. You seem like you are becoming a difficult, inflexible employee. In cases like this, the boss usually “wins” because they have the power and the employee ends up becoming more and more resentful.

You will also end up with a reputation for being difficult. “We are asking for contact information and one person doesn’t want to give it.” “Who’s that?” ”@yankeetooter.” “Figures.” “The boss ordered pizza for the meeting and we need someone to sign for it.”
”@yankeetooter can’t sign?” “No.” “Ugh.”

JLeslie's avatar

It’s tricky. It is a felony in most states to use someone’s credit card without their permission. Your question goes to how can you prove he gave you permission if he decided to report it as a fraudulent charge and reported it to the police.

I just did this, because the aide taking care of my aunt was taking her card without permission and using it. She was arrested, I don’t know if they will take her to court or not. It’s worth saying the credit card company did not do anything when I reported the fraudulent charges, I had to go to the police, I supplied the police with all the information for where and when the charges happened, and then they got video of the aide using the card.

In your case, I wouldn’t worry about it at all, but you have every right to decline doing it if you’re uncomfortable.

The truth is, the charge doesn’t really need to be signed. It does put the restaurant at risk if the charge is challenged, but if I were the restaurant I wouldn’t worry about it. If it’s a regular customer, the chance of a challenge is extremely low.

zenvelo's avatar

This is the new boss you don’t like? So he demonstrates a level of trust in you, but you prefer to be a stickler and even check with H R?

It is not at all illegal. He gave you permission to accept the order and sign for it. While this instance may not be grounds for notation in your record, he will no that you cannot be relied upon or to be trusted.

I think you need to find a new job where you will be happy.

Just read @jca‘s post, who has similar thoughts on this.

jca's avatar

Also, @yankeetooter, you insult the boss in your details, stating that he did not order the food in time like a responsible adult would. As the principal, he’s probably very busy and ordering food was probably not high on the list of priorities. It happens to me all the time at work. Emails, phone calls, other workers with issues, ordering stuff. I can assure you that low on the priority list is getting coffee, going to the bathroom and thinking about lunch.

dappled_leaves's avatar

In practice, it doesn’t seem that a signature on a credit card receipt has the same weight that it used to. Since we now constantly pay by credit card for items bought over the phone or online, there is no way to even sign a substantial portion of items bought by credit card. So, I don’t think anyone would ever track down a signature or compare it to the cardholder’s signature. It’s just not going to happen, perhaps unless the cardholder reports the card as stolen. And you know he won’t.

That being said, I personally don’t like the idea of signing for a purchase made on someone else’s card either, and probably would refuse to do it. Your boss cannot force you to do it. The only ramifications for you in this situation are personal ones – your boss may be annoyed that you refused to make his life simpler.

PriceisRightx26's avatar

OP obviously already made his decision; not sure why so many people are focusing on “advising” his attitude towards the situation. Seemed like a simple yes or no question (“is it illegal for another person to sign [given permission] for a food order that was placed on a different individual’s credit card?”—yes it is illegal to sign for another person, or no, it is not illegal to sign for another person) on the legality of the situation. Which I didn’t see that anyone had actually answered. Maybe it’s because I don’t come to the social side here much, but yeesh, so many unnecessarily emotionally-charged responses on this post.

@yankeetooter Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re asking specifically what your stance is from a legal standpoint, yes? I gather that you’re looking for the law to back you up just in case your boss decides to be a dick about the refusal. Assuming yes, I unfortunately don’t have the answers you’re looking for, though I’m curious as well. If you find out, I’d like to hear about it.

PriceisRightx26's avatar

@dappled_leaves interesting point about the sans-signing purchases.

Question: if someone is signing for another’s card, are they signing their own name or forging the cardholders signature?

I’m in the same boat where I would just refuse to sign.

zenvelo's avatar

@PriceisRightx26 I answered the legality question. But the OP threw in a lot more, and has been vocal on this site about not liking or respecting his new boss.

PriceisRightx26's avatar

@zenvelo Yeah, sorry, I must have glossed your response. So, by the credit card company’s contract, someone else can sign for you (with your permission)?

just noticed that it says this is a general section question; how did I manage to pull that one? what a goose.

jca's avatar

I think many people above spoke to the issue of legality.

LostInParadise's avatar

I was always under the impression that the signature of the card’s owner is required. Apparently I am wrong. Does this apply to personal checks? Could the boss have given an unsigned check, requiring the OP to sign it? Is it technically legal to give a pre-signed check with the amount to be added later?

zenvelo's avatar

@LostInParadise No, the account holder has to sign the check. But the amount can be filled in later. I just left a check for my daughter made out to DMV, and said to fill in the amount once she knows.

And yes, you may authorize another person to use one’s credit card. Happens all the time.

JLeslie's avatar

@LostinParadise What do you mean exactly by the signature is required for a credit card? Required for what? People but things over the phone and online all the time and there is no signature. While in a store if they forget to get your signature they can still process the charge.

jca's avatar

People lend credit cards to others all the time. My friend gives her cards to her sons to use. My mom has given me hers to use.

Also, like others have pointed out, online use of a credit card has no way of verifying who is actually using the card.

LostInParadise's avatar

For online, don’t you have to at least enter your PIN?

jca's avatar

@LostInParadise: No, only for Am Ex.

janbb's avatar

@LostInParadise Notb your PIN but the security code on the back of the credit card. You give it over the phone for orders too.

JLeslie's avatar

@LostInParadise You might have to give the security code if the company you are buying from requires it. It’s not a law.

The signature is your agreement to the charge. It only comes into play if a charge is challenged. For instance, let’s say you call your Visa company because you see a charge at Macy’s that you don’t remember purchasing. Your credit card company will contact Macy’s and Macy’s will produce the signature receipt. If there is no signature Macy’s has very little to stand on regarding holding you to the obligation of the charge. If you see there is a signature, but not yours, you or the store can investigate it, etcetera. A place like Macy’s will possibly have video of the transaction being made to see how the purchase was made. When I worked for the department store we would write in phone order on the signature line.

Now, some stores don’t even ask for a signature under $25. Every time you buy gas at the pump you don’t sign.

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