How do I collect on $7,500 debt that someone owes me and which I have in writing?

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How do I collect on $7,500 debt that someone owes me and which I have in writing?

I wrote a contract out in pen stating I was selling him my motorcycle for $7500; I would take $200 a month until the debt was paid. He agreed and signed it. We have been friends for a long time and I thought that I could trust him since we have had similar deals in the past without any issues. I gave him the title so he could register the bike and he has. It’s been a year of excuses and lies and he still has not paid me. I don’t know if he has sold it or still has it but he has not returned any of my calls since I asked him to return it.

Asked on August 4, 2011 Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to sue him. A written contract of sale, like the one you describe, is enforceable. The only way to enforce it, however, is to sue him for the money. After you sue him, assuming you win (which seems likely based on what you write), if he still doesn't pay voluntarily, you could look to garnish wages or a bank account, execute on property (e.g. force the sale of some of his belongings), or a put a lien on his home. In the future, if you engage in sales like this, you could make the motorcycle (or other property) be collateral for payment, allowing you to reposses if unpaid. In the meantime, you may wish to check the jurisdictional limit--i.e. the dollar limit--of small claims court, to see if bringing a suit there (where you would not need an attorney) may be an option. Good luck.

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your friend for breach of contract for failure to pay the $7500.  When you get a judgment against him, it would be advisable to get a wage garnishment to enforce the judgment. 


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