What to do if I was delivered heating oil by mistake?

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What to do if I was delivered heating oil by mistake?

I recently received notice from my oil company that I owe them for 1a delivery of 100 extra gallons of oil that was put in my tank by their driver by mistake; this was over 2 years ago. Who is responsible for this error – me, the driver or the oil company?

Asked on November 20, 2012 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, if a delivery is made to your home in error, the party making the delivery would be liable for the cost, etc. However, the timeframe in question may be problematic; 2 years have passed. If you never brought the mistake to the company's attention and used all of the extra oil delivered, a court may impose an equitable remedy known as "unjust enrichment" and impose the cost of the delivery on you; the theory being that you cannot take advantage of the mistake and use the oil for free. The fact is that had you timely notifed the company of their error, it could have come back and emptied the tank and gotten the oil back. If such a result is reached by the court, you would be charged for the then going rate.

Note: Even after 2 years, the company still has standing to take legal action in this matter.

 


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