If I was given furniture, and now they’re asking for it back, do I have to?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I was given furniture, and now they’re asking for it back, do I have to?

My ex moved in with me back in July 2015, we broke up in October 2015. When he moved in I gave my furniture away, to make room
for his. When we broke up he gave me his furniture considering I gave away mine. Now, he is asking for it back because apparently
the furniture was never paid for. Do I have to return it, or is he obligated to clean up his own mess he made?

Asked on March 21, 2016 under Business Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) IF the furniture had been fully paid for, you would not legally have to give it back; once it is given to someone, it belongs to them, and the giver cannot recover it.
2) If it is not fully paid for, though, then the issue is what do you mean was "never paid for":
a) if he bought it on his credit card or with a check but defaulted, then it is his problem; when you buy items that way, ownership transfers to the buyer when he purchases it, so he could have given you ownership--then, if the store is not paid, their recourse is to sue him;
b) BUT if he was buying it over time, financing it through a rent-to-own deal, etc., then it is most likely the case that title never transferred fully to him (i.e. he'd only get legal ownership free and clear of the furniture if/when it was paid in full) and/or that the store retained a security interest that would let it get the furniture back if not paid, the same way a car dealer can repossess if there is a default in car payments.
If the second case above, he could *not* give you ownership of the furniture because he never had it to give, and the store is allowed to get the furniture back; the store's right in this case to recover the unpaid-for furniture cannot be circumvented by giving the furniture to someone else. So in this case, you'd have to return the furniture.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption