Can the person that I bought a car from take me to court over money that I already tried to pay if he previously said that he not want my money?

About 1 1/2 years ago, I purchased a vehicle from a private party. We had a verbal agreement that I

would work off the debt. Well things changed and I told the fella I couldnt work anymore, that I would be more than happy to not him the remaining balance of $400. Well 2 months ago, I called him to give him the $400 cash but instead of accepting it, he told me that he did not want my money through a text message. So I thought that was the end of it. However, now he is threatening to take me to court over the $400 that he wouldn’t accept. Can he do this legally even after he told me very very clearly that he did not want the money through a text message?

Asked on March 20, 2018 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless you gave him something else in exchange for him forgiving that last $400, his offer to forgive or forget about it is not binding: without him receiving something of value ("consideration") to create an enforceable contract, it was what is called a "gratuitious" (or freely made) promise, which someone may go back on or change at will. (Enforceable agreements--contracts--require that each side get something of value.)  So he can legally seek the last $400 from you even after saying he didn't want it.

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