If my husband purchased a car for a friend and now his friend won’t pay the bill, what can we do?

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If my husband purchased a car for a friend and now his friend won’t pay the bill, what can we do?

My husband’s friend has some bankruptcy issue and so the situation ended with my husband purchasing the car under his name and his insurance. His friend however, paid half of the car’s total price and promised to pay the rest in 2 years. Now it was okay for the first few months until about 2 months ago when he started avoiding our calls. I would like to know how to deal with this matter. I don’t think his friend would be willing to give the car back but he won’t pay either so we’re kind of stuck in the middle.

Asked on August 17, 2011 Illinois


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If your husband is on legal title to the car he purchased for his friend and insurance is in your husband's name, then technically the car is your husband's car especially since one-half of the car was paid by your husband.

The problem is that the car is in the friend's possession. I suspect that the friend may have possibly committed bankruptcy fraud by having the car placed in your husband's name in light of his "bankruptcy issues".

I recommend writing the friend a letter memorializing the agreement and request that payments resume. Keep a copy of the letter for future reference. Hopefully you have receipts or copies of cancelled checks concerning some of the payments made.

If the friend refuses to make payments, small claims court may be the course for your husband assuming that the amount owed is less than the maximum amount that could be obtained in small claims. If a greater amount is owed, then a lawsuit would be filed in your state's superior court with possibly a limited jurisdiction designation if the amount owed is less than $25,000.

You should consult with an attorney about this situation before filing any lawsuit.

Good luck.

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