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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 53727
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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Customer Question

I have a small amount due ($433.) that I have been unable to collect. This was derived from a verbal purchase order. Although I do not have a written PO, I do have, however, several e-mails with various payment promises, plus proof of deliver of product. Any advise as to whether I should or should not attempt to collect through small claims is greatly appreciated. Harrell [email protected]

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Richard replied 3 years ago.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. Yes, you absolutely should pursue this. The lack of a written contract can be overcome by the concept of promissory estoppel, detrimental reliance, and unjust enrichment. This situation arises when Person A relied upon the verbal agreement, Person A performed based on such reliance, and because Person B defaulted, such reliance is now to Person A's detriment. Where there is i) partial performance by Person A based upon the mutual promises, ii) Person A relied upon such promises to perform, iii) Person B's failure to perform would be to Person A's detriment, and iv) result in Person B being unjustly enriched, Person A can overcome the legal requirement that the agreement be in writing. Filing suit will get you the collection options and leverage you need. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead property to satisfy the judgment.

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