Can someone take legal action against me if they bought me a vehiclewithout a written agreement between us and nowI can’t afford to pay them?

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Can someone take legal action against me if they bought me a vehiclewithout a written agreement between us and nowI can’t afford to pay them?

A friend bought me a vehicle after I had fallen on hard times; he gave me a cashier’s check to pay for it and did not want his name on the title. He said I could make whatever monthly payments to him that I could afford. He also refused to make a written payment agreement. A month after that I took a tough pay cut and could not make payments. It has been a 2 1/2 years since then. He called me at work today, demanding that I pay him in 2 weeks or he will come get my car. Can he do that? Or can he take legal action against me if there is no proof that I even owe him anything?

Asked on December 21, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are two different issues here:

Legally, if he loaned you money and you were supposed to repay it, but did not, he may sue you. Oral loan agreements or promises to repay are enforceable; the loan did not need to be in writing.

Practically, without a written agreement, it can be very difficult to prove the obligation to repay or the terms of the loan (e.g. when it has to repaid; if there interest or not; etc.)  He should be able to prove that you received money from him, however--there should be records of you cashing the cashier's check and of him purchasing it, which together provide evidence you received it.


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