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Originally Posted by WTF Bach
I do not know the local laws, but in Italy this behaviour would constitute a major breach of the contract, giving cause for:

1) immediate resolution of the contract for cause

2) entitlements of a damage reimbursement

I would ask to the dealer to

1) give a conspicuous rebate on the initial agreed price

2) stipulate a new contract with weekly penalty to be payed in case of further delay.


Don't panic. Haha. Just to be clear. No contract has taken place..😅 No money changed hands. I have a history with my dealer and they will accept payment in full when they have received delivery and are bringing it to me. I paid No deposit. I do know they have placed the orders and are waiting for manufacture and import. The financing mentioned was a personal bank loan.


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Yes, a contract has taken place: the dealer promised to supply a good to the buyer, for a payment that will take place when the good will be shipped.

At least in Italy a contract does not need the written form, and does not need the payment to be perfect: just the mutual promise to exchange money for a good.

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In the USA the usual phrase is "A verbal contract is as good as the paper it's written on." Meaning it's no good because it's not written down and signed by each party.

If an agreement is 100% verbal it may, may, be enforceable as long as there is proof. That usually means a recording. Some states are known as "one party consent" recording states while others are known as "two party consent" recording states. See this link for the list of two party consent states: https://www.rev.com/blog/phone-call-recording-laws-state

In a one party consent state, only one person directly part of the conversation needs to know that a recording is being made. In a two party consent state, all people directly involved in a conversation need to know that a recording is being made. If one person is in a one party consent state and the other is in a two party consent state, it's against the law for the person in the one party state to record the person in the two party state without their knowledge, and vice versa. (One of the very few exceptions is when the conversation takes place in a public area because there is no expectation of privacy in a public area.)

These are all anti-eavesdropping and anti-wiretapping laws. Remember the names in the link at the end of this paragraph? The one person escaped an indictment solely because she had received governmental immunity and the government knew about the recordings at the time they granted immunity. Most of us would not be so fortunate. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2000-may-25-mn-33924-story.html

Although Tripp was shielded from prosecution in federal court, prosecutors believed they could properly charge her in Maryland, where she resides, because it is against state law to record a telephone conversation without the consent of both parties.

If there is anything in writing it overrides the verbal part. A company's written policies override anything a salesperson says.

One negotiation rule I was taught very early in my career was with regard to verbal representations. As soon as a salesperson makes a verbal representation (a promise), the immediate response is "That sounds great. How can we word that so it's part of the contract?"

If they balk at putting it in writing they were lying.

No, I am not a lawyer. I just did a lot of contract negotiations in my time.

Remember, in the USA If it's not part of the written contract, it's not part of the deal.

Ray


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Verbal contract stipulated in front of witnesses? Contract deducted by consequent behaviour (emails, order coupon etc)?

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Originally Posted by WTF Bach
Verbal contract stipulated in front of witnesses? Contract deducted by consequent behaviour (emails, order coupon etc)?

"He said, she said" rarely turns out well over here.


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I see. And watch about an email clearly stating “we apologise but the delivery date is postponed to - let’s say - March 2020”?

Isn’t it a consequent demonstration that an implicit verbal contract was stipulated, and moreover that the original delivery date was originally foreseen for - let’s say - December 2021?

In any case, there is also the so called “pre-contractual responsibility”, i..e. when A negotiate with B constituting in B a bona fide expectation that A is truly interested in reaching an agreement with him. In this case, if B does not negotiate with other parts, upon the expectation that A is really willing to establish a contract with him, a precontractual responsibility could be invoked and damages restoration can be asked.

This can be a nice class action starting point, as hundreds of people, upon the expectation that their verbal agreement would be satisfied, restrained themselves to buy an instrument somewhere else.

Moreover, if they opened a loan and have now to pay interests, there is even more patrimonial damage.

Last edited by WTF Bach; 12/17/21 07:41 AM.
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Let me put it this way:

The population of Italy is about 60 million. The population of the USA is about 330 million. That means we have at least five times as many lawyers here trying to figure out how to keep people and companies from having to take responsibility for their actions and inactions. smile As an aside, the actual percentage of lawyers is remarkably close between the two countries, about four-tenths of one percent of the population in each. Interesting.

It would cost several hundred dollars to thousands of dollar to even pursue a case. If the case was seen as frivolous then the person bringing the action could be held liable for both party's legal and other fees. I'd bet that all a company would have to do is claim "Pandemic shipping delays caused a Force majeure event" and you lose.

Literally every contract has a Force majeure clause. You can fight like heck to have it removed, but on a piano delivery from overseas? Nope, the selling party would need something more valuable in return. There always are customers lined up for products so the seller really does not care if you are the one to buy it or not so the seller is not going to increase their legal exposure needlessly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_majeure

Italian law may be different in this regard but there still seems to be some applicability: https://www.mondaq.com/italy/litiga...re/1037042/coronavirus-and-force-majeure

However, a temporary impossibility to perform a contract, let's say for emergency reasons, cannot be used as an excuse for not performing the same contract when the emergency measure will be over. Normally it will be a matter of simply delaying the final deed of sale to a future date.

In conclusion, we can confirm that Covid-19 may affect some contracts, however the pandemic cannot be used as an excuse for not performing an agreement.


In other words, delay, delay, delay. That in fact is what is going on.

The loan, in this case, was a personal loan and not a loan through the piano seller. Unless the seller required that the buyer take out that loan, and they could not do that without the buyer's consent, the consequences are totally on the buyer. No one forced them to take out a personal loan. Payments on a loan obtained from the seller never start until the product is delivered.

This likely will be my last post on this aspect because this is taking the thread off-topic a bit even though I find it interesting and there is some applicability to the subject.

Last edited by NXR; 12/17/21 11:31 AM.

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If the selling part would say: because a force majeure cause, we need to postpone the shipment to an unforeseenable date, everything would be ok: the customer can decide if he/she prefers to wait or to step down from the contract - because there is a contract.

The problem arise when the seller - who probably knows that he is not sure to be able to honour the contract - continues to move the delivery date, with the intent - potentially malicious - not to lose the customer.

Yes, a piano is not a first need good - nevertheless there is people who has been damaged by this behaviour.

Last but not least: Italy is the birthplace of law, so it is understandable we have so many lawyers pro-capite grin

Last edited by WTF Bach; 12/17/21 12:37 PM.
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