I verified with the company that there were no signed contacts at all. I verbally cancelled and can show easily the day it happened by the print out of charges and credits. I offered to give them the tenants' contact info as they are responsible for the fuel oil. I also told them to pump it out. They expected me to pay the full bill with a $50 credit (that would just cover the inflated per gallon cost)!! I got no benefit or use of the oil. I am going to have to appear in district court to defend against a judgment.
I spoke to the oil co reps and manager several times over several days as soon as I was aware of the charge. I sent a certified letter to the manager. He basically wanted me to pay or the oil and get the tenants to pay for it... I told him to pump it out or contact the tenants himself as it was not my mistake or problem. I did not want to have to disrupt their quiet enjoyment of the property. This got sent to a collection attorney & I once again sent certified letters explaining the situation. Just yesterday, just a couple days shy of one year from the oil delivery, I was given a civil notice for Mag Dist. Court in my town. So I guess I'll go try to defend myself. If I can prove that I had no contract with them and that I did not benefit or use the oil, can they really hold me responsible for it???? I tried to do everything right in this from the beginning & have all my letters & registered mail receipts.
Family Law Attorney
Sounds like they made a mistake. Fight them in court.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
You have no choice but to fight them in court as they filed an action against you.
That being said, they are represented by counsel (who knows your story because you provided them with it in your many letters and phone calls to the oil company). Rest assured, the attorney would not have filed the lawsuit unless he or she thought that they have a good chance of winning. Therefore, it is in your best interests to hire an attorney who, like me, routinely practices before the Magisterial District Courts on small claims matters. Compared to the price of the oil delivery, my fee will be relatively inexpensive to defend you at the Magisterial District level.
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If there was no signed contract, as you say, and if the value of the delivery was greater than $500.00, then you may have a defense under the Pennsylvania Commercial Code. "Except as otherwise provided in this section a contract for the sale of goods for the price of $500 or more is not enforceable by way of action or defense unless there is some writing sufficient to indicate that a contract for sale has been made between the parties and signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought or by his authorized agent or broker." 13 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 2201 You should engage a Pennsylvania lawyer to represent you in the action that has been brought against you.
Legal disclaimer: John Bonica is licensed to practice law only in Texas. His response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is only intended to provide general information. The question may not include significant and important facts that would change the response. You should confer with a local attorney for competent legal advice.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
As I see it on the limited facts presented, the issue will come down to can they prove you authorized or ordered the delivery and, if so, can you prove that you cancelled the order with enough time that they could have reasonably stopped the delivery. A consultation with a local attorney about how you might challenge their proof and how to best bolster your own. Good luck
Nothing contained herein should be considered as legal advice for any specific situation and nothing herein is intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. Every case is very "fact-specific" and persons wishing legal advice on a specific matter should contact me or another attorney for an appointment to review their particular circumstances and to create a lawyer-client relationship. Gregory L. Abbott, Attorney at Law, 6635 North Baltimore, Suite 254, Portland, Oregon 97203. Tel: 503-283-4568; Fax: 503-283-4586; Email: email@example.com. Specializing in Consumer and Small Business Law.