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Oil got delivered to my former house after I cancelled my services. I told them to pump it out or contact the tenants.

Coatesville, PA |

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.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

Sounds like they made a mistake. Fight them in court.

The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs. www.figgardenlaw.com

Asker

Posted

Thanks for the support- I'm gonna try!

Posted

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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LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fienman is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His phone number is 215-839-9529 and his email address is michael@forgoodlaw.com . To learn more about Mr. Fienman, please visit his website: http://www.forgoodlaw.com Mr. Fienman is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Mr. Fienman's responses are merely educational and are intended only to provide general information about the matter stated in question. Oftentimes, the question does not include significant facts that, if known, could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fienman always recommends that the questioner contact an attorney who is licensed in their state to ensure that proper advice is received. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Asker

Posted

To be honest I think they are just shooting fish in a barrel. But maybe you are right... ???

Posted

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.

Asker

Posted

Oh! Thanks! That seems to fit! Do you really think I can't go in and defend myself? I really cannot afford a lawyer! Would it be crazy to just go in and present the information myself? :(

Asker

Posted

Would the collection agency have to pay the fees if I win?? ;) I do think I will win...

Asker

Posted

BINGO! This is perfect and thanks so much for taking the time to point this out to me!! You are a God-send!! :)

John R. Bonica

John R. Bonica

Posted

Yes, I really think you need a lawyer. You may have a great case but if you don't know how to offer and exclude evidence, the other side may get the best of you unless the judge bends over backwards to even the playing field. If you really can't afford a lawyer, there may be help from legal aid organizations. Try http://www.lasp.org/ first

John R. Bonica

John R. Bonica

Posted

And I don't know if the collection agency would have to pay legal fees. Maybe one of the Pennsylvania lawyers knows the answer to that question.

Posted

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: gregabbott@comcast.net. Specializing in Consumer and Small Business Law.

Asker

Posted

Thanks! They have absolutely NOTHING with my signature- I asked them to give me a copy of my auto delivery contract or my fuel oil service contract and they don't have anything. The only thing they have is that I got fuel oil auto delivered in the past. PA law has something about more than $500 needed to have a signature, which one of the above gentlemen pointed out. I have a print out of all charges and credits. It shows me getting a $50 credit because they charged way too much per gallon for oil , then it shows a charge for the yearly furnace servicing contract (which I do not have any obligation to sign each year at all), then the next three months are late fees each month for the servicing contract that I don't even have to accept each year, so how can there be late charges for this!? Then you see on the next lines in mid-May that it all gets 0.00'd out and there is no balance. That is when I called and told them I was was canceling service. To go along with my evidence, I have a listing for renting my house that has a date right at that same time, and a lease signed one month later, and my new furnace servicing contract with a new company signed in July. I knew we were moving and we were gong to rent the house. The company I am disputing with did not allow me to have the servicing contract with them unless I required my tenants to buy oil from them too, which I didn't want to do. That's the main reason I know I cancelled at that minute when all the charges were put to zero in May. The last part is that I didn't even receive, benefit or use the oil. If anything, they should have contacted the tenants, which is what I told them waaay back last year when this all started. What do you think?

Gregory L Abbott

Gregory L Abbott

Posted

On what you've presented, it sounds like you have done your homework and may have a strong case. That said, however, if you are going up against an experienced attorney without having one of your own, you will be at an extreme disadvantage. It is not like small claims court where you just go tell your story to the Judge. You will be held to the same performance standards as an attorney - all the same procedural rules, rules of civil procedure, rules of evidence, legal time lines to file motions or responses, etc. Again, at a bare minimum, talk with an attorney before going to court - and sooner is better than later, given potential rules and/or motions and the requisite timing. Good luck!

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