Can I sue in small claims court for return of, or payment for, an item loaned?

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Can I sue in small claims court for return of, or payment for, an item loaned?

I loaned one of my trombones to a past associate who begged me for help for a friend of his. His friend had a son at the start of the school year in band who needed an instrument. I told him I would sell it to his friend at my cost if he wanted to try it out. Three months went by and I asked my associate when I would either be getting the instrument back or payment. He apologized, saying he’d been out of the

country. I then sent him an invoice for the cost of the instrument, asking for payment. Each passing month I re-sent the invoice, with no resolution and apparently no desire to resolve. In the last invoice, I included the cost of the instrument, along with rental fees of $25 for each month. I told him that I need either the cost of the instrument or the return of the instrument along with rental fees for the time it was used.

If I were to pursue this in small claims, do I have any leg to stand on? Do I

have any recourse, if not in court?

Asked on May 4, 2017 under Business Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue in small claims court for the value of the  trombone: he can't simply keep your property without paying for it. You can't sue for rental fees *unless* rental fees were part of the initial agreement: he is only required to pay amounts which he had consented or agreed to, and you cannot add fees after the fact.


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