Can I Take Legal Actions on a Credit Card I Took Out for a Friend?

Updated on February 10, 2019
L.J. asks from New York, NY
17 answers

A friend asked me to be her maid of honor, which i accepted. When dress shopping, she was denied for the credit card. As a friend and knowing how special this day would be. I offered my credit and she would pay the monthly bills. She did at the beginning promt every month, then she called off wedding and now hasnt made a payment in three months. I'm getting collector calls. I know its my name my acct. But can i take her to court to at least get the dress and accessories back?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Diane D, Yes I should have seen that as a red flag. But I once had bad credit myself and I guess I just was stupid enough to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she would really pay it off. I guess it all came down to her cancelling her wedding, and therefore she sees no need in paying it off. I feel bad about this, cause to me she was more than a friend, and I've always been here for her when she's needed someone's support.
Margie. I would drop off statements she would pay. once the payments stopped I would ask what was going on if she needed for me to give the payment for that month, she would say she would pay on her payday. once I told her I was getting sent to collection she stated she would pay it off already to get it over with. turns out she didn't and is now not responding to my texts.

More Answers

D.D.

answers from Boston on

At this point you are stuck with that bill because its on your credit card. You are on the hook to pay it off. Get your paperwork together that shows when the wedding stuff was charged and the monthly payments she made. Then contact her (a text is fine) letting her know that as of today you owe XXXX to pay off the wedding dress and accessories. If she makes no effort then file a case in small claims court. Be sure you have all the documentation in place that shows the receipt from the bridal shop of what was purchased on that day (so it shows its a wedding dress) and the payments she has made.

I'm sorry you are going to lose a friend over this. The first red flag was right at the beginning when she was denied for the credit card and didn't have the funds to pay for what she wanted. You can't expect to drink champagne when you have a beer budget.

11 moms found this helpful

W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Welcome to mamapedia, 3 boys, 2 girls - if you didn't give her permissions to the card? You are liable. Especially if you were there when it was opened.

You could take her to small claims court - but really? You might not get anything that way either.

Pay off the balance and realize she's not a friend.

7 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.M.

answers from Dallas on

Call Judge Judy.
For real you might be able to do small claims court. But not sure how much that might cost you. I would see if there are any attorneys around that have free consults.

7 moms found this helpful

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

Big lesson learned... never loan money you can’t afford to lose.

You put yourself in the dire situation with the credit card company because the card is in your name and it’s your credit. The card company doesn’t care what excuses and reasons are used... it’s your card and your responsibility.

You should have been paying this debt all along and never put yourself in this position.

In the event of a judgment in your favor... you still will most likely never see the money plus you’ll be out any and all court fees.

It’s sad, because the credit card is in your name, the bad credit report is on you.

Don’t expect any reimbursement. Chalk it up to a big lesson and never ever loan money again unless you know and are ok with never seeing it again.

7 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

You CAN. Question is, should you? The problem I see here is that YOU FAILED to continue to pay on it even though she was the one who used it. it was and IS in YOUR NAME and YOUR credit. I would have continued to pay the card and then tell her how much she owes.

If she's not paying it now? What makes you think she will pay after a court order? Her credit is already trashed so a lien or judgement isn't going to make her cry and pay.

Call the place where the dress was purchased. Ask them if they can accept it back since the wedding was canceled. If she ALREADY has the dress? If you take her to court? You can sue for the amount and ask for the dress too, since by this time? You've paid for it.

Call the credit card company and tell them what is going on. I doubt they will remove the late payments from your account since YOU ARE the responsible party. But you might be able to negotiate a pay off and get it cleaned up on your credit report.

6 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

no. you walked into this with your eyes wide open, and got shafted.

consider each monthly payment a hard lesson.

don't do it again.

khairete
S.

6 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Unfortunately you might have to pay it off yourself.
This has screwed up your credit rating once again - you will have to guard it carefully from now on.
I'd find it hard to believe that she still has the items after all this time - she's probably sold them and pocketed the cash.
She's not paying off the bill, and she seems done giving you excuses what with not even taking your calls anymore.
Yeah I'm afraid no good deed goes unpunished and the friendship is definitely over.

I wouldn't even want the dress/accessories - that would still leave me with a bill.
Although if you CAN get them, then you can sell them for some of the money to pay it off.
Take her to small claims to get the bill paid off in full - I have no idea how well a legal decree that she owes you money actually gets you paid off - collecting on it might still be difficult.
In the mean time - to save your credit - you are going to have to pay the bill.
You might have to sacrifice other things - hard to do I know.

Next time any friend wants to get married - they pay for things up front - or you can remind them that a justice of the peace wedding hardly costs anything and they'd still be just as married without going into debt doing it that way.

You are a good and trusting friend but this lady has burned you badly.
Chalk it up as a lesson learned.

6 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.B.

answers from Denver on

Contact the place where the dress was purchased. Ask if they would accept a return of the dress and any accessories. If the dress was altered, or if anything was on sale (or clearance) or was a special purchase, or if the shop has a "no returns" policy of any kind, you'll know that the option of getting the dress back is useless to you. But it's possible that they might take the dress back, although possibly not for the full price.

Then decide whether legal action is worth the time and cost to you. If it was a dress that was on sale, costing relatively little, it might not be worth going to court.

But if it was a dress/accessories/fitting/alteration that cost thousands, as wedding gowns easily can, it may well be worth pursuing in court.

Find out from your city or county what small claims court involves. You can find out online or go down to the courthouse and get information. Maybe what the dress costs is over the small claims limits, and at that point you can contact an attorney.

You probably don't have anything in writing from your friend in which she promises to pay you, but you can get copies of your credit card statements, and any checks she wrote to you for those first few payments. Make sure to have them.

Then write her a letter and send it certified mail, with a signature required from her. Inform her of the dress shop's decision (that they'll either take everything back for a refund, or that they won't take anything back, or whatever you find out from them), and demand payment for the remainder of the bill that she owes you or return of the dress in perfect condition. Give her 30 days to make things right. Tell her that your credit is being ruined now.

If possible, call the collection agencies and ask them if you will pay what is owed, would they refrain from notifying the credit reporting agencies? Sometimes they will. Check your credit reports on Experian and Trans Union (you may have to create an account but it's free) and see if any damage has already been done to your credit. If you can, make the payments to avoid more damage and then pursue your friend via the legal system.

6 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

I would not expect that she is going to pay at this point so I would simply go to her house and ask point blank for the money or the items. You could look into small claims court but without a contract or something stating she will pay I am not sure you have much of a case. This may just be an expensive lesson for you.

5 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.K.

answers from Wausau on

You can probably file in small claims court for the amount she owes you. You can use the record of her payments and the credit card statement(s) showing the bridal stores to prove that you had an agreement. There is a fee for filing, but she can be ordered to pay that too.

In the meantime, you must pay at least the minimum due every month on your credit card.. You won't be able to get late fees and such from your friend because it is your legal responsibility to make the payments. Catch up on payments now before you do more damage to your credit report.

5 moms found this helpful

D.S.

answers from Phoenix on

It’s your name on the bill. You are responsible for the bill. You might be able to take her to court but all you would get is a judgment for her to pay you. They will not collect the money for you. It’s up to you to collect. So you are right back where you started after going to a lot of trouble.
You might sit down with her and have a conversation and maybe she’ll cough up the money. Most likely she will not.
So count this as a lesson learned and don’t ever do this again. Never lend more money than you are willing to give out right.
Debts between friends will end friendships. If you’ve learned a lesson this might be money well spent. And I sure hope you canceled the card. Never do this again.
One thing you might consider. If it’s gone to collections they might accept less to settle the debt. Get it in writing if they agree and NEVER give them access to your bank account like through an automatic draft.

4 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.G.

answers from Portland on

I agree about getting her (or you might want to at this point) to call the store and see if they will buy the dress back at this point - even at a reduced price. These things happen where brides cancel their wedding days, or they opt to buy another dress. You see it on those shows all the time on TLC. That way at least some of the money may be recovered. Can you work with your friend at all on this? You don't mention how communication is going - what's happened to the dress, and are you still in contact?

Even if she sold it online. What is she planning on doing? I guess what has been attempted so far.

If you've exhausted all those options, only then would I look to go to court. That seems like the last resort to me. Of course you can, but it doesn't always work out and it will ruin your friendship.

If she's been through an emotional roller coaster and does not have the funds, she may be willing to let you take the lead on calling the store or trying to sell the dress. She may be in a very bad headspace if her fiancé dumped her or whatever. I don't know the circumstances. I'd try to work with her as best I could first.

4 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

Elena gave you a very comprehensive answer. I agree about the dress shop and trying to sell back the items (dress and accessories) but I also think others have raised valid concerns that she already sold these items and pocketed the money.

It's good that you admit you made 2 mistakes: 1) helping her o begin with and 2) allowing the payments to lapse when she stopped paying. It's good that you have records of her having made payments, and probably some texts or emails about the issue. So, her paying some payments shows there was at least a verbal contract. Print out 2 copies of everything - canceled checks, credit card statements, texts, emails, plus anything you can get from the store (which may be harder since the receipt is in her name, but still the billing was in yours). Make 2 files - one is a working file and one is a back-up so you can give copies to the court or whoever else requires them.

Having had bad credit in the past, you should have seen the red flag, as you admit. You allowed yourself to get back in a bad debt situation, and the first thing to do is to stop the bleeding there. The credit card company does not care about your problem with her - so don't even start with them. I think you have to start making payments immediately - it is far better o start with the credit card company and not with collection agencies. At this point, however, they may not agree to this.

Depending on how much money you're talking about, it may make sense to go to Small Claims Court. If it's over heir limit, you may need an attorney. The Court staff may be able to give you some advice. If the case is decided in your favor, you can ask for the costs to be added to her tab. They will worry about collecting from her, and if she defaults, she will be in contempt.

What worries me is that you are still holding on to the notion that she was "more than a friend" and that somehow you think she'll come around and do the right thing. Short of being in the depths of depression or totally destitute, she's not going to come through. She may even have other debts that come from canceling a wedding - caterer, venue, etc. They are going after her too - and you're far down the list. She has written you off, and may even have moved on to someone else. You cannot save this friendship and you need to be businesslike in your approach from here on out.

4 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.L.

answers from Denver on

I have a rule that I don't loan anything that I can't afford to ever get back. You will have to pay it off. It is in your name. Cancel the card. You can try to negotiate with her later. You are totally stuck at this point. It is in your name and I'm sure you never had a legal agreement with her - therefore you can't take it to small claims court. I guess this is a lesson learned. I would never give someone a credit card under my name.
Next time, if you want to loan someone money, give them a certain amount...and know that you'll probably never get it back. If that's not okay, don't loan it.

Updated

I have a rule that I don't loan anything that I can't afford to ever get back. You will have to pay it off. It is in your name. Cancel the card. You can try to negotiate with her later. You are totally stuck at this point. It is in your name and I'm sure you never had a legal agreement with her - therefore you can't take it to small claims court. I guess this is a lesson learned. I would never give someone a credit card under my name.
Next time, if you want to loan someone money, give them a certain amount...and know that you'll probably never get it back. If that's not okay, don't loan it.

4 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

You can take her to small claims court to get a judgment. However, collecting may be a problem even then.

In the meantime, your name is on the card and you do need to pay. That’s a hard lesson but it is the way it is.

4 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.P.

answers from Portland on

I understand why you would want to help your friend. I'm guessing you're young and haven't learned about money. You're learning the hard way. You had bad credit, fixed that and now you have bad credit again. You must take responsibility for managing your money.

Pay the Credit Collection Agency now before you do anything more to get her to pay. She is responsible to pay you.
I've received bills from a Credit Collection Agency.. Once I called the business to try to take care of it and I learned that when debt is sent to the agency, the store has already written off the debt and will no longer be involved. Pay the agency now before they take further action. They can take court action. Your credit is already damaged.your credit score will be lowered more if you don't pay
I suspect you didn't and continue to not pay because you're trying to get her to pay. I urge you to learn about your responsibilities with money and how to improve your credit score. Do you know why you originately had bad credit? Time for you to khow how to manage financial mattters. I suggest you start with a budget so you'll know how much money you have so you'll know if you can afford debt.

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.W.

answers from Boca Raton on

Call the credit card company. They have a fraud department. Your card was not stolen, it was misused. At least ask what they can do and offer any resolution. It's your card, your charge, but perhaps they will extend payment plans, block any further use of the card (get a new one) But brace yourself for taking responsibility for the charges. We have all learned lessons the hard way...best to you to at least get the dress and accessories back. She may have already brought them back for credit or cash. Taking her to court takes money out of your pocket.

2 moms found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us