What can my friend do about a car that a friend bought me and now wants back?

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What can my friend do about a car that a friend bought me and now wants back?

A friend bought me a car a few months ago. We never agreed that I would pay him back but we did talk about it. He now wants the car back along with other things that he bought for me as gifts. He also gave me $3300 for my credit card and is expecting me to pay it back now. He said that if I don’t sign what he wants me to sign that he is going to take me to court. The car is in my name. What are my options? Do I need to give him the car back?

Asked on December 27, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The answer depends entirely on what was agreed to *at the time* you were given the car and the money (and other items):

1) If it was a gift at the time, then the friend can't get it back; once gifted, it cannot be "ungifted" and it belongs to the recipient.

2) If the items and money were loans, then you would have to repay them according to the terms of the loans. (Note: if you were "loand" the money for the car, he can't get the car back unless there was a specific agreement making the car collateral for the loan--but he can still sue for the money.)

Obviously, the answer could be different for each item or payment--some may have been gifts, others loans.

If you and he have different recollections of what was done or said, he could try to sue and try to prove his case in court, such as with his testimony; you, in turn, could present your evidence or testimony to the contrary. The burden of proof would be on him, as the one suing, to prove his case by a "preponderance of the evidence" (more likely than not).


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