Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Pennsylvania

Hello if I were to sue a friend for a loan ($225) that I gave them two months ago and want to take them to small claims court can I also recover missed wages, gas, tolls, mileage, lawyers fees. When I lent this person money I took it to them and I also work form home in the evening so I also lost two hours of work taking them the money as well. The person is saying I never lent them the money and I have no contract or I.O.U will I win

Asked on 10/16/12, 7:36 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

No, you cannot recover tolls, lost wages, gas, mileage and attorney fees. This is a simple action for breach of an alleged agreement to pay money. The most you can recover in such a case is the amount you loaned plus interest. You could recover attorney fees if you had a written promissory note that provided for it but it requires that you actually hire an attorney.

Your problem here is that you do not have a written promissory note. So it will be your word against the borrower's word. What are the terms of this oral agreement? You loaned the $225. How was it to be repaid? In installments? Or on demand? If on demand, have you made a demand? If in installments, was any repayment at all made? If so, how? Did you give a receipt or is there a cancelled check with the word "loan repayment" or something like that in the memo line?

You are going to have to think about this and get all your arguments lined up before you go to court if you want to maximize your chances of success.

Before you sue, I would write a letter to the borrower and send it via UPS/FedEx so you can track it (get signature confirmation) ro try certified mail. I have found that people play games with certified mail and refuse it. With UPS/FedEx, the package is delivered and signed for. All you need to show is that they got it.

In the letter, I would recite how the loan came into being and remind them of what a good buddy you were by helping them out. Recite the essence of the agreement (that they borrowed money interest free and was to repay on demand or in installments). Advise whether they have paid or not and demand the whole sum or amount in delinquency. Advise that if they do not contact you in 15 days of the date of the letter, then you will have no choice but to pursue further action. If they fail to respond by the deadline, on the 16th day you toodle down to the magistrate's office in the county where the borrower resides and fill out a complaint for money owed. If you are lucky, the person may respond to you in writing and if they admit the debt, it will be hard to argue a gift.

For the future, never lend anyone, especially a friend, money if you value the friendship. And never make a loan without getting a promissory note. There are plenty of free samples online (try for one) which would be better than not having a promissory note at all.

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Answered on 10/16/12, 4:27 pm

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