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ThankYou17

Cell phone contract and verbal agreement

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My niece was thrown out of her house by her father (mom lost custody 13 years ago. No relation ship) at 17 years old. She came to live with me in the hopes that I could help her finish school and move out on her own etc...

I added a cell phone to my account with the agreement that she would pay me monthly. I planned to hold her to that agreement.

Neice decides in 4 weeks she wants an IPhone, Not the Android we purchased. I told her that she is free to buy her own, but she still has to complete the payment plan for the Android. She complains for a couple of months, makes no payments. I don't cave.

Next my neices mom (my sister) comes back into her daughters life. She (nieces mom) brings up the phone. I tell her not to buy a new phone, and that it is very complicated. She has a phone, and she has an agreement which she has not adhered to.

Mom takes neice to the phone store. Buys her a brand new IPhone, puts her on her cell phone plan, and says "she (neice) will pay me 40 per month for the phone." Her service is $69 per month. 3 months go by...neice moved out the day she turned 18, no payments to me at all. The phone is broken, so I could not get any $$ for it. I asked both Mom and Neice for $400 early term fee so that I don't have to keep paying for service that they abandoned, and a broken phone for the next 15 months. They refuse to give me $400 and state when Neice can...she will pay me some $$.

I just injured my back as a Hospice nurse...and am raising my 2 adopted grandchildren. Money is a little more than tight. I know I am legally bound to the phone company contract. Is there any other recourse? I would have never imagined considering this further and just paid it. But I don't have the $$ and this sister has a long history of leeching off the world. In my mind, when she brought her dtr. To the phone store, she was a minor, and that minors mother enabled her to walk away from her comittment and leave me with the burden.

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Your problem is that your contract was with your niece, not your sister. Your niece was 17 when the contract was made. Under Massachusetts law, a minor may avoid the contracts she makes. In other words, you cannot successfully sue the niece to enforce payment of the contract you made with her at age 17 because she was still a minor when the contract was made. If the niece affirmed the contract after reaching age 18, that would allow you to sue her for it, but it does not sound like she has reaffirmed it.

 

You don’t have a contract with your sister. Yes, your sister helped enable your niece get the iPhone she wanted making it easier for the niece to stop paying on the Android phone you got for her. But while that undermined your position with the niece it doesn’t make her contractually obligated to pay the niece’s contract to you. Your sister also is not liable just because it was her daughter who entered into the contract with you. Parents are not obligated for their children’s contracts and the expense you incurred here was not a necessary expense of support for which a parent or guardian would be liable.

 

In short, from the facts you stated, it appears you may be stuck here unless you get the niece to reaffirm that she owes you on the contract you had with her. Best to get that in writing if you can.

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Now you know why Dad threw his daughter out of the house and divorced the mother.

An alternative to paying for nothing would be to buy a used phone on eBay, activating it on your cellular service and subletting it to a trustworthy person. Used phones can be purchased very cheaply is you get one two or three versions back. I would check with your carrier to see if you can limit the minutes and data usage, though.

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