You have two causes of action potentially against the manufacturer: detrimental reliance and unjust enrichment.
Detrimental reliance is a term commonly used to force another to perform their obligations under a contract, using the theory of promissory estoppel. Promissory estoppel may apply when the following elements are proven:
1. A promise was made
2. Relying on the promise was reasonable or foreseeable
3. There was actual and reasonable reliance on the promise
4. The reliance was detrimental
5. Injustice can only be prevented by enforcing the promise
Detrimental reliance must be shown to involve reliance that is reasonable, which is a determination made on an individual case-by-case basis, taking all factors into consideration. Detrimental means that some type of harm is suffered.
The following is an example of a state statute dealing with detrimental reliance:
Detrimental reliance by taxpayer, effect of 32.381. In the event the department of revenue enters into an agreement with a taxpayer and said agreement exceeds the department's statutory authority and the taxpayer has relied to his detriment, the department shall be permitted to honor said contract. This section shall only apply to cases where the department has collected sales tax that was not owed by the taxpayer
Unjust Enrichment: Unjust enrichment is a legal term denoting a particular type of causative event in which one party is unjustly enriched at the expense of another, and an obligation to make restitution arises, regardless of liability for wrongdoing.
Liability under the principle of unjust enrichment is wholly independent of liability for wrongdoing. Claims in unjust enrichment do not depend upon proof of any wrong. However, it is possible that on a single set of facts a claim based on unjust enrichment and a claim based on a wrong may both be available. A claim based on unjust enrichment always results in an obligation to make restitution. A claim based on a wrong always results in an obligation to make compensation, but may additionally result in an obligation to make restitution and on the other hand it will result in an obligation to make reimbursement which will allow the normal citizen to the courts for its wrongdoing which it never intended to do so.
It is generally accepted that a claim based on unjust enrichment can be submitted to four stages of analysis. These can be summarized in the form of the following questions:
- Was the defendant enriched?
- Was the enrichment at the expense of the claimant?
- Was the enrichment unjust?
- Does the defendant have a defense?