I let a friend borrow my cell phone that still has a 2 year contract on it and they sold it to someone, what can I do?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2011

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I let a friend borrow my cell phone that still has a 2 year contract on it and they sold it to someone, what can I do?

My ex needed a cell phone to use so I told her if she would like to use my other line and just pay half the bill then she won;t need to run off and get her own right away. I have a contract on the phone still and need it back now because we are no longer together. She went and traded it in to get her own phone and plan. I’ve asked her to get me the phone or to give me money to get a new one to replace it. She said she took it as a gift so she thought she could do what she wants with it. But she know it still had a contract on it. What can I do?

Asked on December 14, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You could sue her for the cost of the phone and/or the money you owe under the contract; but it may not be worthwhile to do so. The issue is, if there was nothing in writing, it is just your word that it was a loan versus her word that it was a gift; since you're suing her, the burden in on you to prove your case, which means you'd need to prove that it was a loan by a "preponderance of the evidence," or that it was more likely than not. If it's just your testimony against hers, then you have be more believable than her to win. If the amount of money you have lost and/or are exposed for under the contract is just a few hundred dollars, you have to weigh your time and the cost of filing (though in small claims court, it's small--usually $25 - $50) versus what you hope to recover, balancing in that winning if probably a 50 - 50 shot at best. If you do decide it's worthwhile, then filing a lawsuit in small claims is probably your best bet.

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