So a "friend" in Canada sent me a tablet ( I think it was worth $400 U.S. currency) to replace the one I had that I could barely do anything on. I never asked for one, and I remember repeatedly that I told him not to get it for me, but he did. Now that I'm no longer in his life, he wants me to send back everything he sent me, and he says he will report the tablet as stolen if I don't return it. I know about conditional gifts, but I never made any promises tied to the tablet, so I'm not sure if it counts as a conditional gift.

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    This is an aside from the legal matter, but as a personal safety matter, you absolutely should not return the tablet to someone who is behaving this way after a breakup if you don't have a deep understanding of infosec. Even if you think you wipe it, there may be ways for this person to recover your data, including account credentials, private photos, etc. and use them against you or just make your life hell. Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 2:49
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    Do you have documentation that it was a gift? Like emails and chat logs? Also, have you ever met in person? I.e. is it possible for him to claim he visited you and you stole it from his bag while he was there?
    – corsiKa
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 7:11
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    You said your "friend" lives in Canada. Do you also live in Canada?
    – Keiki
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 13:45
  • Im not a lawyer, but common sense dictates that the world would be a much different place if we were allowed to take back gifts whenever we choose. I have also watched enough Judge Judy to imagine how hard she would rip your "friend" a new asshole.
    – Keltari
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 7:27

1 Answer 1


If someone gave a gift than requested it back is it legal?

The request itself is legal, but that does not mean that you have to comply with it.

I never promised anything that tied to the tablet. So I'm not sure if it counts as a conditional gift.

It does not. An unconditional gift (which initially you did not even want) fails to meet the elements of a cognizable doctrine such as contract, promissory estoppel, fraud, or unjust enrichment.

he says he will report the tablet as stolen if I don't return it

He might get in trouble if he does that, since he knows or should know that the tablet was never stolen. He gave it away despite your initial refusal(s). As such, he might incur false reporting of a crime.

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    Nevertheless, if OP's "friend" does proceed to report the tablet as stolen, it might be very difficult for OP to prove that they rightfully own it. The "friend" presumably has a receipt, bank/card statements, the original packaging, etc.
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 22:25
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    Just the text message or email "asking" for it back would be evidence that it was a gift, and the giver knew it was a gift, and threatened to report it stolen, knowing full-well how the receiver came to possess it.
    – abelenky
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 22:40
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    @Kevin (1) The OP might have proof in writing that he insisted on making the gift despite her attempts to dissuade him. (2) Most likely, some examination of the accuser (by the police or through testimony under oath) will suffice to unearth inconsistencies in his allegations that it was "stolen". (3) The delay or timing in reporting the alleged theft of a tablet (that is, only after the OP is "no longer in his life") weakens the accuser's allegation that it truly was stolen. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 23:55
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    @Keeta That assumption would not change the OP's legal position at all. The accuser's/"friend's" outstanding balance with the tablet supplier is completely independent of his decision to give that item to the OP as a gift. Neither the supplier has a valid claim against the OP, nor does the supplier have a valid claim of theft whatsoever. The supplier would only have a claim against the "friend" for breach of contract (or, less likely, for fraud or unjust enrichment), a contract to which the OP is totally unrelated. Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 16:11
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    @henning "a condition turns a "gift" into a "payment" or "trade"" Not necessarily. A conditional gift could be contingent on some event. Example: "If the USD/EUR exchagne rate goes down tomorrow, I'll make you a gift", the other party being unable to influence the exchange rate. Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 17:28

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