I live in France.

3 months ago, I was living with someone, in their flat, and I had to buy some piece of furniture (for about 700 euros).

About 2 months ago, I had to leave this place because we couldn't stand the other people presence any longer. At that time, as I had nowhere else to store the piece of furniture I bought, we agreed with this other person that I could leave them at his place, while I was seeking for a new place of my own.

Some week after this, I encountered this person again, and I have been asked if they could refund me the price of the furnitures spanning 2 years, regarding monthly payment, to which I agreed orally.

Fast forwarding today, I never received any money from this person, and last time I saw them, they told me I couldn't have my good back, because now they're theirs and that they won't refund me at all, neither give me my goods back.

Can I do something about it, or did I really lose property on the goods ?

  • You now have a contract with them. You can't have the goods but you can have the money. Go to small claims court and hold the person to account.
    – Greendrake
    Apr 20, 2019 at 13:03

2 Answers 2


Did I lose possession of my goods?

That seems unlikely. But enforcing it sounds complicated, at least from the standpoint of substantive law (the Code civil). I am not knowledgeable of French procedural law. The difficulty begins with identifying whether your claim is cognizable as unjust enrichment, or --per your subsequent oral agreement-- breach of contract.

You might want to read sections "The French Law of Unjust Enrichment" and "Enrichissement sans Cause" in this post. Please note that the French Civil Code recently underwent significant reforms, whence references of its articles are likely outdated. Here I pointed out one example of statutory renumbering in the Code.

In the second link, you will read that

originally [...] the action in enrichissement sans cause would not be available to the claimant if he or she had any other cause of action, even if that cause of action was blocked for some reason. [...] [B]ut it is perhaps here that the law has relaxed most in recent cases.

Thus, the subtleties of your matter can be decisive for identifying the type of claim that is applicable to your situation.

Lastly, according to this treatise (on p.54), "[t]he French legal system does not have the principle of [reasonable] reliance as it exists in the American legal system" (brackets added). That makes it easier for a plaintiff to prove his claims under French law.

  • The questioner says he traded away ownership of the item in return for a payment promise. He essentially sold the item to the other party. So, yes he did lose possession of his sofa. Now it should be an issue of collecting payment. Apr 20, 2019 at 19:09
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    @GeorgeWhite "Now it should be an issue of collecting payment". Not necessarily. The OP also may opt to rescind the contract pursuant to Article 1224 of the Code civil. Furthermore, a contract theory would require the assumptions that (1) the factual prior circumstances do not pre-empt or nullify the formation of such contract, and (2) the OP is able to prove the formation of that oral contract. Apr 20, 2019 at 19:31

Judge Judy most likely would ask you:

  • how long did you stay together?
  • which expenses did you share during that period?
  • how much rent did you pay?
  • how much did you pay for utility bills?
  • did you have agreement to share residence's accommodations? after answring these questions you might find yourself even owing substantial amount of € to other tenants...hahahaaaaa

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