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?

UPDATED: Dec 21, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

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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