What to do if someone reneges on a verbal agreement?

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What to do if someone reneges on a verbal agreement?

I was a independent contractor for a man in GA. He bought the semi-truck for me to drive. I was paying the truck payment, insurance, and all fuel and maintenance. After seeing my pay sheet, I realized he owed me money (about $1500) and had deducted more than I owed him on the truck. After bringing this to his attention, he refused to pay me and sent a wrecker after the truck and trailer and told me I owed him for the wrecker bill and he would not pay me. What can I do? I have filed a complaint with the GA DOL and the BBB.

Asked on November 10, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Verbal, or more  properly, oral agreements, are enforceable legally. Practically, it can be very difficult to prove what their terms were, and so to prove that someone breached it. If you believe that the other party breached a verbal agreement, you could sue him, if necessary, to enforce the agreement. Unfortunately, that is the only way to enforce it--the agencies you mention will not force the other party to honor its agreement. (If by DOL you mean "department of labor," for example, they will  enforce labor laws, but do not intervene in contractual disputes with bona fide independent contractors as a general rule.) You will need to weight the costs of a lawsuit with what you hope to either recover or avoid paying to see if it makes sense for you.


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