How to collect an overdue debt?

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How to collect an overdue debt?

My mother sold her mobile home to someone, they both signed an agreed upon contract where the other party would pay $200 over a 10 month period to complete the sale. The contract was notarized. The other party only made one payment of $25, after multiple attempts to contact the other party, they stated that they had not been working much do to a dying parent. And that upon the death of the parent, they would settle the debt. It has been over 2 years and the other party has not attempted to settle the debt. My mother had misplaced the original contract, and just recently found it.

Asked on November 19, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

To collect on a debt or enforce a contract, someone has to sue--there is no other mechanism for doing so. The question is, whether it's worth it. If I am reading your question correctly, your mother is owed $175, which means that getting a lawyer is economically out of the question--the lawyer would cost far more than you could collect. That means, to try to recover, your mother would need to act as her own lawyer in small claims court. She'd incur some costs and filing fees--probably around $30 - $50, plus her time--have a chance of not winning (no lawsuit is ever 100% certain), and even if she won, might not be able to collect if the other person has no money. If the amount in question is really only $175, unless you can convince him to pay at least part of it voluntarily, it's probably not worth doing anything about.


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