Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Pennsylvania

While living with a boyfriend, I gave him $8000.00 that we were to buy a car with. He then decided to buy a cheaper car, which I gave him another $800.00 until we got the money back from supposedly defaulting on the first car. He now tells me the money never went toward a car, but he used it to pay back bills and does not have the money to pay me back. What are my legal rights? Is there any way to get this money back in full?

Asked on 6/02/11, 3:42 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Glenn Brown Real World Law, P.C.

Head to small claims court ( district justice) and hope one of those court tv shows chooses your case.

Does he have anything worth $8,800, like a bank account?

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Answered on 6/02/11, 3:50 pm

Rule of thumb - if you are not married to the person, don't give him funds. Your soon-to-be-ex boyfriend sounds like a major loser. If he has this much problems with money and he has lied to you, then I suspect he has a problem with gambling, drug addiction, other women or child support. There has to be a reason why he was behind on these bills. Once you figure it out only you and he will have to decide whether you want to continue the relationship, but a lawsuit will definitely put an end ot it.

Before you jump off onto the lawsuit bandwagon, do you have anything in writing in which he promised to pay back the money? If not, he is going to argue that it was a gift. If you don't have an agreement, do you have anything where he re-paid some of the money and wrote "loan" in the memo line of the check?

If not, you still first need to make a demand on him. And change your words - if you characterize this as a gift (you say you GAVE him funds) then you are not going to win at all in regular court. Say that you "LOANED" him money. That the loan was to be repaid and that it has not been repaid. Offer to work out a deal - he either pays a nice hunk in a lump sum OR he can make payments to you on the whole amount plus interest. Ask for a response in 15-30 days. Send the letter via UPS/FedEx and keep a copy for you. If he does not respond, then take him to small claims court.

However, getting a judgment is no guarantee that he will pay. Anything under $300 in the bank is exempt and if he has no money in the bank, you cannot seize that. There is no wage garnishment in PA. Does he have a car or land owned free and clear? If he has no asets that can be seized and sold, the judgment will just sit there and get bigger as it earns 6% interest per year.

While the judgment on land can be renewed after 5 years, your soon-to-be-ex boyfriend sounds like he will always be a loser. He will just move on to other more fertile game and prey on some other woman with more cash than you. He will never pay or even worse, he will file for bankruptcy and then you will be completely out of luck.

I would do the letter and try small claims, but I would not spend money on this unless you know he has assets. In that case, you will pay a lawyer to help you execute on any judgment that you get.

Otherwise, chalk this up to an expensive lesson and don't lend out this kind of money to loser boyfriends.

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Answered on 6/02/11, 5:08 pm

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