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Will a verbal contract hold up in small claims court?

Clay, NY |

I recently did work for a friend (painted his motorcycle) in return he was suppose to put windows in my house. Well he kept blowing me off for two months so fiance's father, brother and i put them in due to winter month was arriving. I wrote him up a bill for the motorcycle 1680.00. He only wants to pay 750.00 supposedly the cost of installing the 10 windows. do i have a case to go after the full 1680.00?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. I assume you mean an oral Agmt, as opposed to one that was written down, both of which are “verbal” contracts which just means they use words. Oral Agmts are subject to the "Statute of Frauds." In general oral Agmts are enforceable unless they fall within one of the prohibited areas. Two that might apply:
    (1) Contract for sale of goods valued at more than (typically) $500 and
    (2) Contract not to be performed within a year.
    I do not see that either of these exceptions applies to your facts to prevent your recovery.
    My concern with your case is that you don’t state that you two ever agreed on the amount or value of the respective services that were done. What is the basis for your price on the motorcycle job of $1,680?

    DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO system, its terms and conditions. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship. I am admitted only in California. (Bryant) Keith Martin sbbizlaw.com


  2. You have a case. As in any oral contract case, it is your word against the other side. Writings avoid that problem. But, performance can be used to prove a contract. If you do nothing you get nothing, which is the worst that you can get if you lose. I say go for it and sue.


  3. I am sorry to hear about your situation. Why did you make this trade if the values were so different? Or do you disagree with his $750 value?

    You should contact an attorney to discuss your questions as additional information would be helpful.

    Our firm has many years of experience in this field.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Please remember that I do not normally monitor these questions after I have posted a reply.

    Free phone consultation Monday — Thursday 1-5 pm.
    Hayley Greenberg
    Greenberg & Merola, LLP
    Attorneys at Law
    521 5th Ave. Ste. 1700
    New York, NY 10175
    (212) 593-6111, facsimile (516) 887-1720
    (Additional offices: Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island)
    www.GreenbergMerola.com


  4. I am sorry to hear about your situation. Why did you make this trade if the values were so different? Or do you disagree with his $750 value?

    You should contact an attorney to discuss your questions as additional information would be helpful.

    Our firm has many years of experience in this field.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Please remember that I do not normally monitor these questions after I have posted a reply.

    Free phone consultation Monday — Thursday 1-5 pm.
    Hayley Greenberg
    Greenberg & Merola, LLP
    Attorneys at Law
    521 5th Ave. Ste. 1700
    New York, NY 10175
    (212) 593-6111, facsimile (516) 887-1720
    (Additional offices: Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island)
    www.GreenbergMerola.com

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