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Topics addressed on May 2, 2007:
Borrowed credit cards cause lost friendship
A while ago I let a friend use my credit on two of my credit cards to help him with his business. He made minimum payments for a while, but now he refuses to pay the balance. Do I have any legal recourse on this, or is just my debt?
I’m so sorry that your friend didn’t behave like a friend should and has lost your trust.
There are several ways that you can let a friend use your credit cards, but I’m afraid the end result in all of them is that you are responsible for the debt.
The first way is to simply hand your friend the credit cards or give him your account number to use for purchases. He would have no contractual association with the account, and so would have no responsibility for the charges he made.
You could include him on the accounts as an authorized user. Doing so allows him to use the cards, but you still are fully responsible for any charges he makes.
The third possibility is to make him a joint account holder. As a joint account holder, he would share equal responsibility for the debts under the credit card contract. However, you are responsible for the full debt if he chooses not to pay.
I am not a legal expert and cannot give legal advice. But, if your friend was not a joint account holder, you may have a legal claim to whatever he purchased with your cards.
Essentially, he appears to have agreed to pay you for the things you bought. If he doesn’t fulfill that agreement, you might be able to repossess those items from him.
I suggest you talk to an attorney about your legal recourse. A legal professional can tell you if you have any legal authority to claim whatever goods your friend purchased using your credit cards if he does not pay for them.
Of course, whether you collect the goods or money or not, the real loss is a friendship.
- The "Ask Experian" team