How do we get money back that was sent to someone for a purchase that they were supposed to make on our behalf?

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How do we get money back that was sent to someone for a purchase that they were supposed to make on our behalf?

My husband wired a total of $646 to a friend who lives in TX. It was to be used for purchasing a Superbowl ticket. My husband obtained his airfare after he sent the money. The friend picked up the money, called 2 days after, and said that when he went to pick up the tickets the person did not have it; he was waiting for that person’s husband to bring tickets to wife. He then said if he don’t come with the tickets he would send the money back. My husband never heard another word from this “friend”. My husband kept calling the “friends” phone, and Friday, when my husband was suppose to fly out, he attempted to reach out to this friend and the friend disconnected his cellphone. Can/how to get money back?

Asked on February 5, 2011 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your husband could sue his friend for fraud.  Fraud is the misrepresentation of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent to induce reliance on which your husband justifiably relied to his detriment. 

The fraud occurred when the friend misrepresented the material facts regarding the transaction on which your husband justifiably relied to his detriment by making the payment.  The friend disconnecting  the cell phone and ignoring  your husband's attempts to have the money refunded is evidence supporting a claim of fraud.

The amount of the transaction would be within the jurisdiction of Small Claims Court.  Your husband's damages (the amount he is seeking to recover in his lawsuit) would include the cost of the tickets plus the airfare and court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.  A process server in the community where the friend lives in Texas should serve the lawsuit.  You can find process servers in the telephone book or on-line listed under attorney services.

Once your husband obtains a judgment in Small Claims Court against the friend, the next step would be to obtain a wage garnishment against the friend in order to collect the amount of the judgment.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the friend. The friend either (1) violated a verbal or oral contract (the agreement to pick up the tickets) and/or (2) committed fraud; either would give you grounds to sue him for the $646 plus also for other costs you have incurred as a direct result of the friend's action, like the any nonrefundable airline tickets that your husband no had no use for. You should be able to sue him in your local costs, and you also should be able to sue in small claims court, where you can represent yourselves and save on court and lawyer costs--though it will still cost you something in terms  of money and, of course, time. There is no way to get the money back but suing, though you might also be able to contract the police in the friend's town and say that he stole from you.


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