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moonglow630

Owner of property bought with Credit Card

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I am the owner of two credit card accounts in which there is alo an authorized user. On one of the accounts both of our cards even have the same account number. I have paid the bills for all the charges. I understand that I am responsible as the owner of the account. My question is, as the owner of the account and the one that pays the bills, are the items purchased by the authorized user legally mine? As the account holder wouldn't I legally be considered the owner of the property purchased on my account paid for by be? And if so, can I reclaim the property? I am in Washington State. Thank you for taking the time to answer.

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My question is, as the owner of the account and the one that pays the bills, are the items purchased by the authorized user legally mine? As the account holder wouldn't I legally be considered the owner of the property purchased on my account paid for by be?

No, the stuff the authorized user bought are not your property just because he used your credit card. The use of your card was use of your money, just the same as if he came to you and borrowed money from you to buy something. In both cases, you may have a claim to sue him for a money judgment for the value of the stuff he bought but didn't pay you for, but you'd not be able to just take the stuff he bought without first getting a judgment against him.

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Would the answer change if due to the nature of the relationship the items were considered community property? Or if I have a promisorry note where the person acknowledges they are responsible for the charges, and they have not yet paid for them. I'm wanting to see if I can repossess the items until such time as they are paid for. Does it matter at all if the cards were used for purchases that the card was not intended for? For example the card was given to him so that he caould pay for tuition, books and school supplies, and he repeatedly used it for video games and rollerblades. I advised him not to continue to do so, but he did. We were living together and planning on getting married at the time, so just taking the card away from him was not an option. I am currently putting together a very involved and complicated case, So all the information I can gather on options I might have is greatly appreciated. I'm disabled and on SSDI, so the more questions I get answered now, the less I have to pay for legal fees in the future. Thank you so much for talking the time to answer and sharing your knowledge.

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Would the answer change if due to the nature of the relationship the items were considered community property?

The only relationship that could produce that result would be a marriage (which you said didn't exist in your situation, so this is really just an academic point). If Bob and Sue are married and Sue is an "authorized user" on Bob's credit card accounts and purchases items that are community property, then both Bob and Sue would (by definition) have community property interests in the items purchased.

Or if I have a promisorry note where the person acknowledges they are responsible for the charges, and they have not yet paid for them.

That would not change the answer. Other than if the two persons involved are married, the only way the answer would change would be if the purchaser gave the items purchased to the account holder or if they had an agreement that the account holder, and not the purchaser, would be the owner of the items.

Does it matter at all if the cards were used for purchases that the card was not intended for? For example the card was given to him so that he caould pay for tuition, books and school supplies, and he repeatedly used it for video games and rollerblades.

No. That wouldn't matter at all.

We were living together and planning on getting married at the time, so just taking the card away from him was not an option.

Of course it was an option. Just because an option is undesirbable doesn't mean it's not an option.

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Would the answer change if due to the nature of the relationship the items were considered community property?

Community property would only apply if you were married and you were residing in one of the 9 states that uses the community property system. You didn't indicate in what state you and your boyfriend were living in, but since you weren't married, it doesn't matter anyway.

Would the answer change if due to the nature of the relationship the items were considered community property? Or if I have a promisorry note where the person acknowledges they are responsible for the charges, and they have not yet paid for them. I'm wanting to see if I can repossess the items until such time as they are paid for.

No. In order to "repossess" the goods, you need to have a security interest in them. For personal property like roller blades, video game players, etc., you typically obtain a security interest in them by getting the debtor to execute a security agreement and then filing the security agreement with a financing statement in the appropriate state or county office. The details vary by state. You could have obtained a security agreement that covered anything he bought with the credit you extended him (i.e. whatever he bought with the card) and had you properly recorded that with a financing statement, then you'd be able to take the stuff he bought to pay off the loan if he failed to pay you as agreed. You didn't do that, so repossession is not an option here.

Does it matter at all if the cards were used for purchases that the card was not intended for? For example the card was given to him so that he caould pay for tuition, books and school supplies, and he repeatedly used it for video games and rollerblades. I advised him not to continue to do so, but he did.

That still won't allow you to repossess the stuff now. It might give you an additional breach of contract argument in an action for a judgment for the debt he owes you, though. Once you sue him and get a judgment, then you can use the judgment to do things like attach wages (in all but 4 states), attach his bank account, and to take non-exempt personal property that he owns to collect what is owed to you. But you have to sue him and get that judgment first. And that will take some time.

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