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What can I do when a lender/owner who is also a good friend…

Customer Question
What can I do...

What can I do when a lender/owner who is also a good friend defaults on a promissory note? I have an agreement on a shared vehicle with its owner. With a shared vehicle the lender makes the monthly loan payment and I pay the insurance payments and also mechanical issues for the vehicle.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

North Carolina

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

I ask for the vehicle to be returned in my possession. I have also put in a small claim to recover possession of personal property and breach of contract

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

The lender has taken the vehicle without notice I currently have personal belongings in the vehicle and do not have access to them because I do not know where the vehicle is. I have made every insurance payment on time and have upheld my part in the agreement. I'm not sure why the lender/owner has recovered the vehicle. Initially the vehicle was a gift to me and we have a promissory agreement but the owner pays the monthly car payment and I as the borrower pays the insurance and responsible for vehicle maintenance. Please tell me what I can do?

Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/20/2018
Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 5 months ago
Nisha Jones
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3,490
Experience: Managing Attorney at Nisha Jones Law, LLC
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Good morning, I am an attorney expert with the JustAnswer website, and former Prosecutor for the State Attorney's Office. I have a near 100% customer satisfaction rate, and I'll be answering your questions today. JustAnswer provides general legal information only and does not constitute legal advice. Please allow me just a few minutes to review your question, thank you!

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Ok
Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 5 months ago

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Give me just a few minutes to finish typing up some information for you, thanks!

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Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 5 months ago

The title to the vehicle is in your friend's name, correct?

If so, then that unfortunately prevents you from being able to have the police involved and from potentially having their help in the return of the vehicle.

It appears that you have otherwise done what any attorney would recommend -- file a claim in small claims court for the breach of your agreement.

Since you have a written agreement and promissory note this should prove very helpful in making your case to the judge, and should help obtain a judgment in your favor.

Do you have anything else in writing documenting that the vehicle was intended to be gifted to you? If so, that would be helpful evidence in your case as well.

I hope that helps!

Please let me know if you have any other questions about this. Also, please take a moment to rate me using the stars at the top of the page, as it's the only way experts are compensated for our time on the site. I do not receive a salary here at JustAnswer, and am only compensated for my time after receiving a rating of 3 stars or more (5 stars are always appreciated). The question won't close after rating, so you can still ask follow-up questions after. Thanks, ***** ***** it!

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
the title to the vehicle is in my friend's name, the police say this is a civil matter. I may have a text message from my friend/owner mentioning the vehicle as a gift. If it is very clear that my friend breached our agreement and the terms are clear in the agreement that I am entitled to the vehicle, the vehicle is for my use, the vehicle was also a gift, and I'm in good standing when it comes to our agreement in what ways could this play out? Also due to my friend unlawfully keeping possession of the property and depriving me from its use I have no means of transportation. Unfortunately I was not able to attend my grandmother's funeral this past weekend. Mentioning this in small claims court will it help my claim to recover the vehicle?
Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 5 months ago

Yes, that's correct, since title is in your friend's name there unfortunately is not much the police can do to get involved, as this would not be considered a theft.

You do however appear to have a breach of contract claim.

With regards ***** ***** this can most likely play out, even though the vehicle was intended to be a gift, the title is in your friend's name, which means that the court most likely would not/ cannot order to vehicle title to be signed over to you.

Since you have a written promissory agreement, you can most likely recover a monetary award for the amount you paid out for insurance or other vehicle repairs and expenses. You can also attempt to recover funds for the sudden loss of transportation during this time, such as the amount of money paid to a car rental, taxi, etc.

Sorry to not have better news for you, but I hope that helps!

Please take a moment to rate so I can be credited for my time and help with your question, thanks!

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I really just want the vehicle back. I'm not sure what the terminology is called but I would like for the court to demand the vehicle to be returned in my possession and demand my friend to continue to uphold our promissory agreement. Is it possible that this could be done?
Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 5 months ago

Does the promissory note state that ownership of the vehicle is being shared with you, or just how the payments are to be handled?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The beginning of the promissory note reads: this promissory note is created with the following terms between "myself" and "friend" for the USE of the "model" vehicle. Both parties would ensure in good faith to fulfill the promises listed below otherwise promissory note will be considered breached and return to lender. It goes on about payments, insurance, etc. Also listed below it does specifically states I "myself" promise to be the sole driver of the "model" vehicle; also meaning friends and family will not drive the "model" vehicle unless I "myself" is occupied in the vehicle. Does this help?
Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 5 months ago

Thanks for the additional information.

This appears to be a contract more so for the use of the vehicle, not its ownership.

The bot***** *****ne comes down to the title being in your friend's name.

You should however be able to recover damages for your deprived use of the vehicle -- such as rental car fees, taxi fees, etc.

I hope that helps! Let me know if you still have any questions about this.

Don't forget to rate so I can be credited for my time and help with your question, thanks!

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