A friend asked over a year ago if I would order a computer for her kids because she could not with credit and she would reimburse me the cost of the laptop. I agreed and viewed this as me selling property which would legally be mine until she paid for the item, like i would sell anything else. Well as stated it was a verbal agreement but she has paid a portion of the cost. She has been given a statement with the orginal cost and still refuses to pay the balance. I asked for the property to be returned. she wants her money back, but in the world i live in you dont pay for it you dont keep it. She owes me approx $1100 on the laptop. I know the laptop is broken and really just want the money she agreed to pay. What is my option as she wont return it either. Do i have a case if i brought the matter to small claims court?
3 Answers from Attorneys
Of course you have a case. Get all your documents together. Also, subpoena anybody who could be a witness to any conversations you and she had about the arrangement. Go for it.
You can sue her for money she owes, but you have no right to the computer based on your post. The "world you live in" requires an appropriate security interest for that.
You actually have a very weak case. When you loan money (and that in and of itself is a bad idea) you MUST get a written document not just showing what is owed, but when payments are due, what interest and late fees are due, and what happens when payments are missed.
You MIGHT in small claims court have an argument she owes you some money based on what you posted. But how do you plan to prove when it's due, or that it's even due yet? You have that burden of proof in court. Bear in mind that if you win that doesn't guarantee you will ever collect. She may bankrupt or prove to be judgment proof. In any event, take your case to small claims court (called Magistrates Court).