Do we have any recourse on a breach of contract that was oral and not written?

UPDATED: Sep 11, 2011

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Do we have any recourse on a breach of contract that was oral and not written?

This past spring, we had contractors out to our camp for estimates on raising it (it has flooded inside the past 3 years). The contractor we ultimately chose gave us his price, which we agreed to. He told us he wouldn’t be able to do it until mid-summer due to his current workload. We said that was fine. No contract was signed; it was an oral contract. We live about an hour from where our camp is and we asked him if he was going to send us a contract. He said it wasn’t necessary, that we could fill out the paperwork when he committed to a date. However, the he said that he’d strat came and went and we didn’t hear from him. My husband contacted himand he apologized but said he was behind in his work due to the wet spring we had (which is true), but that everything was still a go but it might be more like another month or so. Now that time as also come and gone and when we called him, he hung up on us and no longer even answers the phone. Winter weather is almost upon us and if it is not raised, it will flood again. We relied on this getting done before winter and he assured us he would do it. Because of the oral contract he made with us, we counted on this being done.

Asked on September 11, 2011 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you don't have a contract and the type of agreement you had you needed it to be in writing. Now, if you look at this and say you relied to your detriment on his verbal assertions that he would begin his project on a certain date for a certain price and now you have to pay more to get it done, you can always consider filing a small claims action in your local small claims court for the difference and see if the judge would agree to pay you some if not all based on your testimony and the testimony of this person. Also, if there is an agency that licenses this person, you may wish to contact that agency and file a complaint.

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