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Read articles on debt collection written by Carlo Pegna

Are you owed money, but don’t have a contract?

Often we are asked to recover money for goods and/or services supplied to customers where there is no contract to support the same. Although not ideal, it doesn’t make debt recovery impossible and the usual defence ‘get lost, I didn’t sign anything’ depending on the circumstances does not apply.

Unjust Enrichment

Unjust Enrichment is a general equitable principle that no person should be allowed to profit at another's expense without making restitution for the reasonable value of any property, services, or other benefits that have been unfairly received and retained.

Unjust enrichment is not based on an express contract. Instead, litigants normally resort to the remedy of unjust enrichment when they have no written or verbal contract to support their claim for relief. In such instances litigants ask a court to find a contractual relationship that is implied in law, a relationship created by courts to do justice in a particular case.

Unjust enrichment has four elements:-

  1. The Defendant has been enriched by the receipt of a benefit
  2. The enrichment is at the expense of the Claimant.
  3. The retention of the enrichment must be unjust.
  4. There must be no defence or bar to the claim.

Examples of Unjust Enrichment

For example a Builders Merchant supplies customer 200 bricks (the Bricks) without having previously quoted for the same. Nevertheless the Builders Merchant invoices for the (Bricks) which the customer has not returned, and despite admitting receipt of the Bricks refuses to pay. As a result the customer has been enriched at the expense of the Builders Merchant and it would be unjust for the customer to continue to be enriched without paying the Builders Merchant an amount representing the reasonable value of the Bricks.

In other circumstances unjust enrichment is the appropriate remedy for parties who have entered a legally enforceable contract, but where performance by one party exceeds the precise requirements of the agreement. For example, a homeowner and a builder have entered into a legally binding contract for the construction of a garage.

One day the owner returns to her residence and discovers that in addition to constructing a garage, the builder has paved the driveway. The owner makes no complaint about the driveway but later refuses to compensate the builder for the paving job. The builder has a claim for unjust enrichment in an amount representing the reasonable value of the labour and materials used in paving the driveway.

If you are owed money but don’t have a contract and/or have a case with the above hallmarks call award winning credit professional and Legal Executive Carlo Pegna at Master Collections on 01920 481467 for a FREE debt recovery assessment.