My question involves small claims court in the state of: Ohio
I loaned a friend money for a car last year, and he hasnt paid me since, below is parts of a letter sent out to his mother (hoping she can help). If nothing comes of this, i am highly considering a small claims suit, however i have read some websites and they recommend a mediator before taking things to court. I was wondering opinions on this, and also if its not a free/volunteer mediator, who pays for him? Can I make him, since all this is his fault or what?
Here are parts of the letter:
" On September 24th, 2007 he came to me asking for some help with paying for a car (a 1998 Cadillac Catera) that he got a 2nd Chance Offer for on EBay. The reason he needed help he told me that he was waiting for a big check to clear; which he said would clear in the next few days. He even showed me his current checking account balance which was over $3000 at the time; the car was only $1500. So being a good friend, I said as long as he paid me back in a few days when the check cleared I would put the $1500 on my Discover card. So I went into my Paypal account that had my Discover card associated with it and sent $1500 to the person selling the car. A number of days later my friend picked up the car! Then shortly there after he told me there was a problem with his checking account, and his bank had his balance negative 9 million some odd dollars. We made the agreement that if his bank account didnít get fixed by the time my next Discover bill (w/ closing date 10-3-07) came, that he would just have to pay the difference of the minimum payment from the previous months bill, this amount ended up being $25 which he paid. Also around this time I started doing various work for him on the new "party van" (painting/body work/etc), and there were various supplies, paint, hubcaps, parts, etc, that I willingly took out of my checking account and paid for in agreement he would pay me back of course, all these items totaled around $140.
After another few weeks his bank situation was not fixed, which meant he didnít have the money to pay his balance off, so again being a good friend, I told him to just pay the minimum payment each month and that Iíd give him 6 months or so to pay it off. At this point I had paid off my portion of the balance that was on the account before adding the $1500, which left his balance plus interest fees (closing date 11-3-07). The minimum payment was now $48, which he did not pay. I applied my $40 Cashback Bonus Credit that I had on my account to make the payment (which I had planned on requesting as a $40 check). The reason he told me he couldnít pay it is because he claimed that I told him I would go to the Car Auction and use my card again to buy any car(s) he may win (so he could sell them and make more money to pay me off he said), I told him I would think about it and let him know that night. Late that night (in the early AM) I sent him a text message (as he was at work) telling him no I didnít want to and didnít want to do it. He ended up going to the auction anyway and writing a check (from his NEW checking account, that he said didnít have enough in it to cover the check) and he wanted me to pay him to cover it, which previously I said no. So basically he told me I caused his new checking account to go negative (which I do not know if this actually happened or not). On November 22nd, 2007, I did a PayPal payment to myself from the Discover Card for the amount of $140 for the money (mentioned above) I spent directly out of my checking for various items/parts/supplies (mainly for the new van at the time).
Next months payment (closing date 12-3-07) was $40, which again he refused to pay. He has yet to pay me and the most recent bill I have has closing date 5-3-08. Each of these 7 months (soon to be 8) I have made the minimum payment as I do not want this to look bad on my credit, especially for something thatís not my balance, though unfair, Iíve done it to protect myself. The total amount that has come out of my pocket these 7 months is $286. Over the months I have tried to contact him online (via email through Myspace). Iíve sent him text messages, attempted to call him, BUT he has apparently had his cell phone number changed. He either told me he couldnít pay or completely ignored me. As of the time of this writing the TOTAL owed to me is $1970.97 (this is what Iíve paid out of pocket plus the current credit card balance). The original amount he would have owed was only $1640, but now the total of 330.97 in fees, which have been added in by the credit card company.
In the next couple weeks I should be receiving my new bill with more fees (which are averaging $20-25 a month now). I donít know whatís going on with him and why he is doing this. If I would have known it was going to be this way, I would have never loaned him the money to begin with. I also have copies of the bills, receipts, etc. "
Just let me know what you all think...what i should do..and so on. Thanks in advance!