If an oil company delivered oil to my residence in error, am I obligated to pay for their mistake?

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If an oil company delivered oil to my residence in error, am I obligated to pay for their mistake?

Neighbor ordered from discount oil company. They entered my fenced locked yard in error and delivered oil to my tank. Now want they want me to pay. However I pay my own oil company for contract and set priced oil deliveries. Does this discount fuel company have the right for payment for oil I did not order or authorize delivery of?

Asked on May 10, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

While you don't have to accept the delivery and pay, you can't the oil without paying for it--if you refuse to pay, you would have to allow them to pump the oil out. (If you keep something wrongfully delivered to you, you have accepted it; also, it would be "unjust enrichment"--something the courts disfavor--to keep oil without paying for it.)

You have to offer them the opportunity to reclaim their oil; if they instead try to sue you for the money, you would raise as a defense that the delivery was in error and you gave them the opportunity to recover their oil. Therefore, you should put your refusal to pay and you offer to let them reclaim their oil in writing, sent some way to them that you can prove delivery.


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