I lost my phone and logged into the remote Android manager to have a message appear on the display:

I will pay $50 to whoever returns this phone to me.

The next day, the stranger that found it returned the phone.

It's clearly bad form to not pay the promised $50, but am I legally obligated to pay it? I am in Utah.


If the stranger was aware of the reward offer at the time of the return you have a legally binding contract - you made an offer to the world, money for return of the phone, and they accepted it by returning it.

If they were ignorant of your offer and returned the phone then there is no contract and you do not have to pay: albeit at the cost of being a jerk.

Of course, if they obtained your phone unlawfully (e.g. by stealing it) the contract is void.

  • Why would it be void? Especially when the offer does not require that the phone was found? – Singulaere Entitaet Apr 13 '17 at 10:01
  • @SingulaereEntitaet it would be void if, for example, the person stole it in the first place. – Dale M Apr 13 '17 at 10:02
  • 1
    Yes, but why? The offer promises a reward to everyone who returns the phone. This would include a thief or fence as well. – Singulaere Entitaet Apr 13 '17 at 10:11

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