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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 20400
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs exp with Consumer Law issues
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I loaned almost $2,600 to a friend. This amount was given at

Customer Question

I loaned almost $2,600 to a friend. This amount was given at different times with the promise to pay back. I asked her twice to pay me back but she will not respond. I sent her two certified letters. One she accepted. The other she refused to accept. I planned on taking her to small claims court but was told by Legal Aid that unless I had some kind of contract signed by her that she owed me the money, I cannot do anything to collect from her. I have the canceled checks that I made out to her, with her signature that she cashed them. I cannot reach her by phone or mail. Is there some way I can get this money returned to me? I am on a very limited income and have only Social Security of $1200.00 a month to pay rent Car Payment, Insurances, food, and miscellaneous bills. I just can't make it. The money she owes would help me so much. Can you advise me what to do? Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX XXX-XXX-XXXX

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the information and your question. The legal aid attorney was correct in the sense that unless you have something in writing that someone will pay you back, then it is very difficult to establish that there was an agreement to pay the money back. That doesn't make it impossible, but what it would come down to in small claims court is your word against hers unless you have any documentation that she acknowledge the debt or a witness that she did. You can file your suit and let the court decide who they believe, that is definitely your right to do. But evidence that you gave her money is not enough, in an of itself, to prove a debt. That is why your testimony, or some other proof would have to show it was a loan and not a gift.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear Marsha'

Thank you for your response. The fact that I have the returned, signed and cashed checks doesn't show any proof that she borrowd the money, and she has no documents to show she ever paid me back?

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 4 years ago.

No, the cashed checks show that you gave her money, but not that you had an agreement for her to pay you back. That is why I mentioned that it would be considered a "gift" unless you can convince the court that you had a meeting of the minds (verbal contract) for her to pay you back. Verbal contracts are established in court everyday, so it isn't impossible, however, you just need to go into it understanding that you need more than just the cashed checks.