kdenton65

Person refuses to return borrowed property

20 posts in this topic

I made friends with a woman just last year. She was in bad financial shape and I would help her out with certain things if I could. I bought a new laptop for my daughter, but she wasn't able to put it to use because she lived in a house with no internet access. Since I was making monthly payments on it and it was just sitting in my house unused, I let my friend borrow it because she could really use it. I told her I would let her borrow it until - 1)She was able to purchase one of her own, or 2)She would return it before she moved back to California in June 2017, or 3)My daughter was able to use it and wanted it back. My daughter contacted her last Friday and told her she was coming to her house to get her laptop. The woman told her that I gave her the laptop as a gift and not to come there or she would have her arrested. I went with her to the house and was met with her sister who refused to let us collect the laptop and told us to leave before she called the police. She even threatened to shoot my 5 months pregnant daughter if she did not leave. I tried to talk calmly and sensibly to the sister, and was told that the laptop was in storage and we agreed that I would retrieve it the next day. I tried to get in touch with my "friend" about coming out and getting the laptop and we could be done with it. I received no reply. I contacted her son and asked him to talk to his mom about coming to collect, but he didn't return my message. I did a device search of the computer and it reported that the laptop had been online just 1 hour before and it showed the location on a map. The location was her sister's house. I sent her an email telling her I knew she had the laptop in her possession and had been used that morning, and I included a screenshot of the location finder and the information it gave. I told her again to return my laptop - the time for civility had passed. Still no reply. I wanted to report it as stolen to the sheriff's office, and was told I couldn't because I had willfully loaned it to her. Now I guess my only alternative is to file a civil suit. What I want to know is what are my rights in this situation? Will taking it to court do any good or am I spending more money in court fees on top of the money I am out on the computer?

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As you said, your only alternative is to take the issue to court.  It sounds as if you have a good case but no one here can definitely predict the outcome of the case.  File a claim for detinue (unlawful possession of personal property or its value.)

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10 hours ago, kdenton65 said:

Now I guess my only alternative is to file a civil suit. What I want to know is what are my rights in this situation?

 

The right to file a civil suit for the return of your property.

 

10 hours ago, kdenton65 said:

Will taking it to court do any good or am I spending more money in court fees on top of the money I am out on the computer?

 

Of course you will spend money on court fees and process service. Whether it will do you any good is anybody's guess. Sometimes when people get sued they get scared enough to do the right thing. Although that doesn't often work with low life like the person you are apparently dealing with.

 

Texas small claims rules allow for a lawsuit for the recovery of property. See Rule 500.3(a) at:

 

https://www.dallascounty.org/Assets/uploads/docs/jpcourts/2-2/TexasRulesofCivilProcedure_PartV_JusticeCourt.pdf

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, kdenton65 said:

What I want to know is what are my rights in this situation?

 

Like anyone else, you have dozens of legal rights, and it would serve no useful purpose to try and list them all.

 

 

14 hours ago, kdenton65 said:

Will taking it to court do any good or am I spending more money in court fees on top of the money I am out on the computer?

 

We have no way of predicting how the case will turn out if you sue her, but you obviously will get nothing if you don't try.  Why wouldn't you try.

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Thank you for your replies. I have a few more questions. I have recently gotten in touch with the woman who has my laptop. She wrote me a very insulting email, and in it she claimed that by law she could keep my laptop as long as she wanted because I had loaned it to her, and had been advised that if it went to court, the judge would rule in her favor because I had willingly loaned it to her. I replied and tried to reason with her, but she wrote back with more personal insults and told me not to write back and not to contact her or she would use the emails as evidence of harassment. She told me she would not give the laptop back because it had her personal information on it, but would purchase a new one in the next few days to give to me. I answered back and told her to make sure it was of equal value. She answered and told me to stop harassing her. I guess she intends to try to use that in court against me if it comes down to a lawsuit. I haven't written her again, but I also haven't gotten a new laptop. That was just over a week ago. I thought I would give her one more week, and if I haven't heard from her I would send a Letter of Demand by certified mail giving her 14 days to compensate me or I will file a suit. I figure she probably won't sign for the letter and never read it. My questions are: What happens if the judge rules in my favor and she doesn't compensate me before she moves to California in June? What if the court date is set for a time after her move to California in June? I assume that once she leaves the state there is nothing further that can be done is there? What if she buys an inferior laptop to replace the one she took? What if she counter-sues for harassment? Can she do that even though I haven't actually been harassing her? I mean, if I were a bill collector trying to recover payment for services or merchandise and calling her every day, that wouldn't be considered harassment would it?

I apologize for the barrage of questions, but I've never had to deal with this kind of thing before and know nothing about it. Thank you in advance for any help.

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It sounds as if you live for "what if".  File the d--- suit.  Do it now!  No 14 day letter!  This person is manipulating you and you are allowing it to happen.  Worry about what happens after the hearing after the hearing.  You will win.  Asking for return of your property is not now and has never been harassment.   Geez man, get off the dime.

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OK I hear you and I will take your advice. But what does "get off the dime" mean?

Also I want you to read an excerpt from the email she sent me and tell me your thoughts.Here it is:

 

"As I said You will have a new laptop alas I wont be bullied and I will not be extorted either!
This email will be used as evidence in the event this goes to court.. 
As I told Megan this laptop was given to me to use until I moved back to Cali in May, If I did then I could either give the laptop back or pay you for it.. We had a verbal agreement I have consulted an attorney on this matter and verbal agreements are considered the same as a contract in the state of Texas, and Megan's omission of this was "loaned" is more than enough for a judge to rule in my favor. that this was all over her being pissed I told you about her fake illness..
Thus with that being said I shall forewarn  that all emails and messenger messages will be used as evidence.. 
I will be in touch. 
Good luck to you all"
 

The condition that she could keep it until June was just one of the conditions I gave to her that day, as I stated in my first post.

Does she have a leg to stand on as she seems to think? I'm sorry about all the "what ifs," but I am living on Social Security Disability and it's not a lot of money. I can't afford to waste $128 in court fees if I'm not relatively sure I'll win the case and get the money back (from her.)

Just one more question. Would you advise against me sending her one more email telling her my demands and warning her that I will take her to court?

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If you told her she could keep it until June, she may have a leg to stand on. Either way, no one can guarantee an outcome. I would not contact her again, either sue her or move on. get of the dime is an expression that means stop sitting there and get on with it.

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So even though one of the conditions have been met, she can claim that one condition and be able to keep it until she moves. And if she moves to California with my laptop there isn't a d--- thing I can do about it because she's in another state. This is our justice system? I understand why people take the law into their own hands.

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The woman says what she wants to say in an email.  That is not evidence that can be used against you.  I could send you an email saying you gave the laptop to me.  That would not prove you did.  It is called a self serving statement.  She says she contacted and attorney who said she could keep it until she moved.  How do you know that is true?  If she did contact an attorney, what did she tell him were the conditions of the loan?  You need to stop believing what she told you.

 

One of the alleged conditions of the loan, according to your original post was that she could keep it until your daughter could use it.  Your daughter asked for the return of the laptop.  That is enough to trigger the requirement to return the laptop.  Keep in mind that it is YOUR laptop.  The loan was a gratuitous gesture on your part.  It is not a contract.  It is a loan and you have the right to revoke the loan.

 

No you should not send another letter.  It has not worked before and it will not work now.  The lady has basically stolen your laptop and she won't give it back until a judge orders her to.  That is the reality of the situation.

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I had a bit of an epiphany this morning. I bought that laptop FOR MY DAUGHTER. It is HER laptop, and she never entered into any verbal contract with this woman. Now, can she demand her laptop back immediately or sue? Do you think she should demand the laptop back or the money that was paid for it?

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The I think you would both have to sue her for the return, or she will claim that when you loaned it to her you were acting as your daughter's agent.  So just do it or .don't. draggin your feet will not change the facts/

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Are you familiar with the term "paralysis by analysis"? You bought the laptop for your daughter but didn't give it to her because she didn't have WIFI.  When it came time to give it to her, the woman refused to return it to you.  Your right to the laptop is superior to the woman's and no judge is going to split hairs the way you are imagining.  You will undoubtedly be suing in small claims court and will be cut a lot if slack.  You are doing a disservice by conjuring up all the ways you can lose.  The best way to lose is to do nothing. 

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2 minutes ago, RetiredinVA said:

Are you familiar with the term "paralysis by analysis"? You bought the laptop for your daughter but didn't give it to her because she didn't have WIFI.  When it came time to give it to her, the woman refused to return it to you.  Your right to the laptop is superior to the woman's and no judge is going to split hairs the way you are imagining.  You will undoubtedly be suing in small claims court and will be cut a lot if slack.  You are doing a disservice by conjuring up all the ways you can lose.  The best way to lose is to do nothing. 

Actually I did give it to her when I bought it. She even went to Best Buy with me to pick out what she wanted. She was starting a new job and needed a laptop, so I told her I would charge it on my credit card and she could just pay me back when she started getting paid. A little over a week later, it became clear to her that the woman who hired her as her personal assistant was mentally unstable and was lying to her about being able to pay her the salary she was promised. So she left and took the laptop with her and she moved back home for a while. But a short time later she went back to her ex-boyfriend and moved in with him. It was there that she had no internet so she left the laptop with me. I did not ask her before I loaned the laptop to this woman, and she was not happy with me when she found out I had loaned it out. When she messaged the woman and demanded her laptop back, she refused and that's where my original post started.

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4 hours ago, doucar said:

The I think you would both have to sue her for the return, or she will claim that when you loaned it to her you were acting as your daughter's agent.  So just do it or .don't. draggin your feet will not change the facts/

Thank you very much for your advice. You have been very helpful to me and not been rude - which is more than I can say for RetiredinVA.

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On 2/25/2017 at 4:13 PM, kdenton65 said:

she wrote back with more personal insults and told me not to write back and not to contact her or she would use the emails as evidence of harassment.

 

That's silly on her part, but continuing to contact her apparently will serve no useful purpose, so either sue or don't sue, and if you don't sue, move on.

 

 

On 2/25/2017 at 4:13 PM, kdenton65 said:

I thought I would give her one more week, and if I haven't heard from her I would send a Letter of Demand by certified mail giving her 14 days to compensate me or I will file a suit.

 

Why certified mail?  And why yet another notice that you'll give even more time?  What's the point.

 

 

On 2/25/2017 at 4:13 PM, kdenton65 said:

My questions are: What happens if the judge rules in my favor and she doesn't compensate me before she moves to California in June?

 

Then, for all practical purposes, you'll be s*** out of luck.  Of course, you could domesticate your Texas judgment in California and try to enforce it there, but that would cost a lot of $$ (probably more than the amount of the judgment), and most of that $$ wouldn't be recoverable.  Yet another reason not to wait.

 

 

On 2/25/2017 at 4:13 PM, kdenton65 said:

I assume that once she leaves the state there is nothing further that can be done is there?

 

Not true.  It will just be more expensive and difficult.

 

 

On 2/25/2017 at 4:13 PM, kdenton65 said:

What if she counter-sues for harassment?

 

There's no such thing as a civil lawsuit for harassment but, if there were, you'd defend it, and she'd have the burden of proof.

 

 

On 2/25/2017 at 4:13 PM, kdenton65 said:

Can she do that even though I haven't actually been harassing her?

 

Anyone can sue anyone for anything.

 

 

On 2/26/2017 at 6:14 AM, kdenton65 said:

 

I had a bit of an epiphany this morning. I bought that laptop FOR MY DAUGHTER. It is HER laptop, and she never entered into any verbal contract with this woman. Now, can she demand her laptop back immediately or sue? Do you think she should demand the laptop back or the money that was paid for it?

 

 

If it's your daughter's computer, then you have no standing to do anything, and this is for your daughter to deal with, not you.  Obviously, she can make whatever demand she wants.

 

Stop overthinking this.  Either sue or don't.

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31 minutes ago, pg1067 said:

 

That's silly on her part, but continuing to contact her apparently will serve no useful purpose, so either sue or don't sue, and if you don't sue, move on.

 

 

 

Why certified mail?  And why yet another notice that you'll give even more time?  What's the point.

 

 

 

Then, for all practical purposes, you'll be s*** out of luck.  Of course, you could domesticate your Texas judgment in California and try to enforce it there, but that would cost a lot of $$ (probably more than the amount of the judgment), and most of that $$ wouldn't be recoverable.  Yet another reason not to wait.

 

 

 

Not true.  It will just be more expensive and difficult.

 

 

 

There's no such thing as a civil lawsuit for harassment but, if there were, you'd defend it, and she'd have the burden of proof.

 

 

 

Anyone can sue anyone for anything.

 

 

 

If it's your daughter's computer, then you have no standing to do anything, and this is for your daughter to deal with, not you.  Obviously, she can make whatever demand she wants.

 

Stop overthinking this.  Either sue or don't.

I know you're right. All of you are right. I talked to my daughter and she definitely wants to sue. So we are going first thing tomorrow to file. Thank all of you for your insight. You have all been very helpful.

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