If a friend of mine signed a contract for several mobile phones, can he take me to small claims court for money owed on the bill that he never paid?

We agreed to the service when he said he’d get a job to pay his portion; two of us paid the first bill, but when the enormous second bill (full of prorated charges) came, he still had no job and couldn’t pay, so none of us did. The account went to collections, and now, 6 months later, he is trying to take us to small claims court for the money that we all “owe”, even though he did not cancel the service when we refused to pay. Right now, he is still jobless and desperate for money, which is why if any of us pay him, it would just go to his rent or something else. What should we do?

Asked on July 21, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your potential liabilty depends on the terms of the agreement among you. If he only signed the contract because you (and/or others) agreed to pay some or all of the bill, and that agreement did not include limitations on usage or on maximum charges, then he would seem to have grounds to sue for the money due under the agreement.

If the contracts with the phone providers could have been terminated, he likely cannot hold you accountable for charges incurred past the point at which you told him you wouldn't pay or he should terminate the contracts--though if there is a fee or penalty for terminating at that point, he could likely sue to recover your share of that, too.

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