New Zealand Woman Sues Boyfriend Over Broken Promise to Drive Her to Airport

By Stermy 3 Min Read

A woman in New Zealand took her boyfriend to small claims court over a broken promise to drive her to the airport and take care of her dogs during her trip, arguing that their agreement constituted an oral contract.

The woman claimed that her boyfriend breached a “verbal contract” by failing to show up.

According to The Guardian, she was set to travel to a concert with friends, while her boyfriend had agreed to stay at her house and look after her dogs. However, he did not arrive a day before her flight, causing her to miss it.

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As a result, the woman incurred multiple unexpected costs. She had to pay for a new flight the following day, arrange a shuttle to the airport, and cover fees for her dogs’ stay at a hostel.

Additionally, she demanded reimbursement for a ferry trip she had booked for both of them in the future.

The woman testified that they had a “verbal contract.” However, tribunal referee Krysia Cowie stated that for an agreement to be enforceable, there must be an intention to create a “legally binding relationship.” Cowie noted, “It is unlikely they can be legally enforced unless the parties perform some act that demonstrates an intention that they will be bound by their promises.”

Cowie explained that when friends fail to keep their promises, the other person may suffer a financial consequence but it may be that they cannot be compensated for that loss.

Adding that there are many examples of friends who have let their friend down, however, the courts have maintained that it is a non-recoverable loss unless the promise went beyond being a favor between friends and becomes a promise that they intend to be bound by.

Cowie determined that the promises made were exchanged as a normal give and take in an intimate relationship and that there was nothing that indicated an intention between the parties for the boyfriend to be bound by his promises.

She stated that the couple did not take any steps to show an intention to move the agreement beyond a promise made “between friends and to create legally binding consequences.”

“Although a promise was made, it falls short of being a contract. It forms part of the everyday family and domestic relationship agreements that are not enforceable in the disputes tribunal,” she wrote.

The boyfriend sent an email stating he would not attend the tribunal hearing and did not respond to a follow-up call from the tribunal referee.

As a result, the claim was dismissed. Court dismissed the suit, saying a promise isn’t a contract.

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