My neighbor was given cash to fix my car, he ran off stole my car battery, What can I do?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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My neighbor was given cash to fix my car, he ran off stole my car battery, What can I do?

I was in a car accident this past May and the car had gotten damaged. My father
had presented me to a guy who lived around my area who was a mechanic. We
had already seen him tinker with my fiancs car so we trusted that hed help us,
plus he lived near us so wed know where to find him. We had payed him to fix my
crashed car and sent it to his place to fix since thats where he had most of his
tools. Two months go by and he still wasnt finished with the car, as we called and
asked what was taking him so long he said he still needed parts. He suggested that
he could go to the junkyard to find parts so we gave him more money to do that as
well. Weeks passed, and many visits to his place later, he still hadnt been done
with my car. He kept giving us excuses and promised that he just needed some
more time. At this point we were regretting that we had already payed him and was
hoping hed be done to never do business with him again. He could not pay us back
due to his wife stealing his money and going to prison I couldnt make this up even
if I tried so it was either he fixed the car or hed pay us back he wasnt paying his
rent so the last option wasnt looking to good for us. It is now November and he was
forced to move out of his house due to not paying his rent and had been forced to
leave. We had to call a tow truck to get my car out of the place and thats when we
noticed that the car battery was stolen. Weve spent 1,500 for him to fix the car
and basically, I got robbed. I regret not making him sign some sort of contract for
legal purposes, but this was the first time anything likes this has happened. Even
though I dont have any papers to prove he worked for us as a mechanic and was
responsible for my car, can I still file charges against him?

Asked on December 1, 2018 under Business Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can still file charges against him: when someone steals money from you, including by trickery or fraud, (claiming he will do work that will not), that is still theft; and clearly, taking your battery out is theft, too. You could also sue him for the money and the value of the battery. Suing in small claims court, as your own attorney ("pro se") is recommended: he may not have any money, so suing him might not actually get you anything, but the cost of suing in small claims as your own lawyer is very low (around $50 in my state)--it's worth the investment for the chance of getting some  of your money back.

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 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.

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