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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Legal Expert
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A previous oil company delivered oil to my tank when I specifically

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A previous oil company delivered oil to my tank when I specifically asked them not to because they were charging too much. I did not hear from them after I complained and told them I did not want the oil. Now they are now suing me for the oil at the higher cost and the interest. I am I obligated to pay for something I asked NOT to be delivered?

TMcJD :

Hi, I will be happy to assist you, and it is my goal to make you a very satisfied customer! This may take a few minutes, so thanks for your patience.

TMcJD :

Did you have a contract with them where you agreed to take oil deliveries for a specified period of time?

Customer:

No - they solicited me and offered a lower price then charged me more than I was previously paying. In addition I lost my ability to pre-buy for the season thus incurring about $900 in additional heating oil fees.

Customer:

I was not home when they delivered the oil or I would have stopped them

TMcJD :

So they solicited you and you agreed based on the lower price they quoted. Did they then charge you the higher price after the delivery?

Customer:

yes - so I asked them not to deliver to me again without notification of pricing. A few days later they delivered again at a price about .30 more than I could pay locally just by calling not a pre-by price which would have been about .60 less

Customer:

Without notifying me

Customer:

They adjusted the first delivery but would not adjust any other delivery

Customer:

I was out of the country for a month when the first two deliveries happened

TMcJD :

But you never signed anything with them?

Customer:

It was all done online and on the phone

Customer:

There was never any agreement for auto delivery

TMcJD :

Okay, so you agreed to one delivery. Paid them after adjustment and told them not to make further deliveries. They did anyway and tried to charge you an even higher price. Now they won't make an adjustment. Is that all correct?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

No I did pay for the other delivery that came while I was away as well

Customer:

they refused to adjust that one and that was when I told them not to deliver any more

TMcJD :

Okay. Thanks for helping me be clear on the facts. Then you have no contractual obligation to pay them the amount they are trying to charge. There is a legal theory they could use to ask that you pay them a fair price. This is known as unjust enrichment. It's a legal theory that allows compensation to one party when there is no contract because the other party would be unjustly enriched if allowed to keep the benefit of the product received without paying some compensation to the other party. However, it is an equitable principle based on "fairness." Thus, even if you ended up having to pay them something, it would not be more than what you would have paid a third party if they had listened to you and not delivered when they were not supposed to do so.

Customer:

Can I also ask for the additional amount I had to pay based on their original pricing? I only switched to them based on that - it cost me a lot of extra money

TMcJD :

There is a legal argument you can make. You can ask to be compensated based on differences in prices because you relied on their price quote to your detriment. This is known as detrimental reliance. Essentially, it prevents them from charging a higher price than what was quoted and that you based your decision on.

Customer:

Thank you

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