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Helping a friend backfired, what now?

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Pennsylvania

Back in December, I loaned a friend of mine about $400 so she could take a nursing class. I was inclined to help her get started on her new career path by loaning her this money out of my savings. It was verbally promised to me then that she would pay me back from her next few paychecks. To put this borrowed amount in perspective, I'm a graduate student, so $400 is more than I make in a month or just shy or two month's rent.

As soon as I went on Christmas break, she quit her job, then got turned away by a potential employer, then was taking care of her father after his car accident, then refused to get a job, then ran off to West Virginia with a man she met on-line, had been working as a painter for the past two months and now is pregnant. After many blow offs, broken promises to pay and failed attempted at working out payment plans, I'm at a loss.

To make this long and frustrating story as simple as possible, she and I agreed to sign a contract in May for her to pay by this upcoming August 1st. In the contract she agreed to pay the money in full by that date and agreed to cover all court costs should the case of her debt be taken to court. The contract had two signing witnesses.

Now she's asking for an extension. While I feel sympathy for her current situation, the fact remains that she was negligent in paying this debt for over seven months. I have a feeling I will not be seeing this money before the agreed upon date and am wondering what to do next.

Any sound advice would be appreciated.


Junior Member
You don't have to give her an extension. If you don't she probably won't pay you (and may get an attitude about it) but she probably won't pay if you do. After all, she's a flake. Since you have a signed statement, file the small claims case the day after it's due and hope for the best. You'll probably win, but collecting may be hard.


Senior Member
Well, since it's not august yet, nothing.

In the meantime, post here word for word the agreement the two of you entered into.


Junior Member
The contract

Thank you. I know there's nothing I can do until August, I just want to put myself in a well-informed position should I need to take action. Not sure exactly who I would go to have a case in small claims court or how much that might cost. To sate your curiosity and perhaps to clear things up a bit ,below is the exact wording of the contract:

Contract to Pay Debt in Full

I (her name), being of sound body and mind on this day of May 13th. 2006 hereby agree to pay my debt of Three Hundred Seventy-Five US Dollars to (wesset23) in full by the date of August 1st, 2006. I agree to have the full amount of Three Hundred and Seventy-Five US dollars paid to (wesset23) by August 1st, 2006. I agree to pay the full amount I owe to (wesset23) by personal checks issued in my own name and cleared by the bank in which (wesset23) deposits the check or by postal money orders for which I will possess the original receipt and (wesset23) will possess the receipt for the money order once it had been redeemed. By signing this contract today, I admit that I have been negligent in repaying the money I owed to (wesset23) since December of 2005. I also admit that by my negligence in payment I have compromised the verbal contract I made with (wesset23) in which I promised to pay the money owed to her in full within a reasonable time period. I understand and agree that I may choose to pay the amount owed to (wesset23) in installments of Seventy-Five US Dollars each two weeks, with the first installment paid to and received by (wesset23) as of May 27th, 2006 and the last installment to be paid to and received by (wesset23) as of July 22nd, 2006. I also understand and agree that should I not pay the amount owed using an installment plan for any reason; I will still complete my duty to pay the Three Hundred and Seventy-Five US Dollars I owe to (wesset23) in full by August 1st, 2006. Should I be negligent in my payment, refuse to pay or do not pay the full amount owed as of August 1st, 2006, I agree to settle this monetary dispute in a court of law. If this issue of the Three Hundred and Seventy-Five US dollars I owe (wesset23) should go to court, I hereby agree to cover all court costs for (wesset23) as well as my own court costs. By signing this contract today, I agree to take no legal action whatsoever against (wesset23).

Signed on this day of 5/13/06 by the debtor (her signature)
Witnessed on this day of 5/13/06 by: (wesset23's signature)
(signature of Witness #1)
(signature of Witness #2)

<end of contract>
Note: I also have one other non-signing witness should I need them.
Last edited:

Happy Trails

Senior Member
The minimum cost of filing is $39.50 for claims up to $500.00. The cost will be added to the judgment if you win and collect your claim.

So two choices:

Agree to the extension (or work out some sort of payment plan).

Sue in small claims court win a judgment and still not be able to collect because she doesn't have it.

Pennslyvania small claims court information. (This link may take a little time to load.)

Dandy Don

Senior Member
Is she trying to get employment or work anywhere to have any souce of income? If so, then give her the extension. Show some mercy on a pregnant lady although admittedly she is a poor and unreliable friend. Until she has a gainful means of employment to produce income, a small claims suit is only going to make things worse by giving her an excuse to delay paying you more. Working out a payment plan is the best way to go right now. Better yet, consider it a total loss and move on.

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