Can I take my friend to court since I’m going to end up paying the debt on an account that we both co-signed for?

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Can I take my friend to court since I’m going to end up paying the debt on an account that we both co-signed for?

I co-signed for my friend’s wedding dress account a couple years ago. She assured me that she would make all the payments on time. Now the account is in collections and she is refusing to pay. She is buying a big TV instead. I am going to settle the account with the collections man because it is killing my credit. I asked her to give me all the items purchased with the account and she is refusing. Do I have a case?

Asked on May 2, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to sue your friend for  the payments she should have made for the dress; you would sue her for breach of contract, for both violating her obligations under the financing or purchase agreement for the dress and for violating any agreement or understanding she had with you in regards to her obligations to pay. If you sue  and win, you could recover the money she should have paid, though you cannot force her to give you the television or any other items bought with that money (though you can agree to take them as payment or settlement of the judgment, if you like).

Depending on much is at stake, it may make sense for you to sue in small claims court, representing yourself, so as to avoid legal fees.

One issue though is what's called the "statute of limitions," or the time to sue. If your friend defaulted on paying too many years ago, it would now be too late to sue. If you are going to sue her, therefore, you should bring a lawsuit immediately, before more time goes by.


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