Angier, NC asked in Small Claims and Contracts for North Carolina

Q: If someone takes your car and says they'll make payments but then doesn't pay you can you report it stolen

My friend wanted to buy my car but didn't have the money for it yet, so I let him borrow it on the basis he'd make payments, he kept making excuses of why he couldn't pay, even wrecked the car and blew the motor. Now the car is Mia and he won't tell me where it is.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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Answered

A: When you initially allowed your friend to take your car with the agreement that he would make payments over time towards purchasing it, that established a verbal contract between you. However, when he failed to make the payments as promised, stopped communicating with you, and essentially disappeared with your vehicle, that constitutes breach of contract and unlawful conversion of your property on his part.

Even though you willingly gave him possession of the car initially, he no longer has lawful rights to retain it now that he has violated your agreement and ceased making payments. At this point, since he took your property without your consent and has deprived you of both the car and the compensation you are owed, you have valid legal grounds to consider the vehicle stolen and report it as such to law enforcement.

The fact that he also damaged the car while it was in his possession through reckless driving makes his unlawful retention of it even more egregious. He has no right to destroy your property and essentially steal it for his own benefit. By reporting the car stolen, the police can assist you in locating it and requiring its return to you, the lawful owner. You may also have grounds for taking your former friend to small claims court to recoup the losses from his breaching your agreement. But the first priority should be recovering your vehicle through legal intervention by authorities.

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