I moved to New York from California and bought a house. The company I used to work for worked in the shipping industry and was responsible for shipping my belongings here.
Months before my wife and I moved I would pester the manager for a firm price and he always brushed me off telling me that 'they would take care of me' and 'don't worry about it.'
Towards the move date I got a figure out of him of around $700 for one large crate. This was all verbal. Nothing was ever in e-mail or writing of any kind.
Four weeks after I arrived in New York they still hadn't sent my belongings.
I finally got a call from the Manager telling me he hadn't been able to get the price that he always got and it would now be around 2500. I told him on the phone that there was no way I would pay this and he needed to go and do better.
The next correspondence was a text letting me know a delivery date for the items.
Again, nothing was ever in writing.
They are now pestering me for 2500 and I have not ignored a single e-mail from them. I have told them that I would be more than willing to settle the bill at the 700 agreed and they wouldn't get any money until I had it in writing that they were ok with that.
Today, 8 months later they have just sent an e-mail to me explaining that they are going to place a lien on my house...
I need to know if they are going to be able to go to court and do this. They have nothing in writing anywhere that I ever agreed to the amount and nothing in writing that I even asked them to do this.
Should I be worried?
Al;so, will I get a letter telling me to go to court in LA and if I don't go do they automatically win the judgement?
1 Answer from Attorneys
It is hard to say what a judge will do with a case like this. There is a lot of "gray" in the facts you provided, so it could honestly go either way in front of a judge. The key is that you need to prove that they quoted you $700, then picked up the crate. If they quoted you $2,500 before they collected the crate, then you will need to prove that you attempted to cancel the move, but they went ahead anyway. Yes, they may be able to sue you in Los Angeles because the initial contract (even if it was verbal) was made in LA. If you don't show up for court, they will win by default.
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