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I was recently given a computer, so I could perform certain tasks from my home. The computer is worth around $4200 and I have roughly $600 of my own money in it along with my Time/Labor to build the computer. I am no longer able to do the tasks, that they need from me(They are not a business). Do I have to return the computer to them. What legal rights do they have to the computer. I purchased the computer through my own accounts they just provided me a Card Number.

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    Who gave you the computer? What tasks were you supposed to do? Why are you no longer able to perform the tasks? What state are you in?
    – bdb484
    Aug 13, 2021 at 21:24
  • I guess you could call them a colleague. I had to do SEO tasks to generate traffic on websites. I just no longer have the time to be at the computer with my actual job this was more of a side gig. I am currently in Nevada. Aug 13, 2021 at 21:36
  • Why did this person pay for the computer? Was it in exchange for you doing the SEO work?
    – bdb484
    Aug 13, 2021 at 21:41
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    Also, can you provide more details about the $600 you put into it?
    – bdb484
    Aug 13, 2021 at 22:17
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    Why would anyone need a $4200 computer for SEO work? A machine costing less than on-fourth of that sum would be fine. I smell a rat here. Aug 14, 2021 at 10:07

2 Answers 2

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Based on your answers, it sounds like this transaction was most likely structured in one of two ways: (a) your colleague bought the computer with the intention that you would use it and then return it to him when you were done borrowing it for a task he hired you for; or (b) your colleague bought the computer with the intention that you would keep it as payment for the work he hired you for. In either case, it seems you would have to return the computer.

In the first case, you received the computer only on the understanding that you would return it when you were done with the work. Because you are retaining it while your colleague owns it, your colleague could puruse a replevin action to force you to return the computer, or a conversaion action to force you to pay the value of replacing it. Scaffidi v. United Nissan, 425 F. Supp. 2d 1159, 1168 (D. Nev. 2005).

In the second case, you would not be entitled to keep the computer because you failed to perform your contract. Because you are not going to complete the work you agreed to, you are not entitled to the keep the computer your colleague agreed to give you in payment.

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Do I have to return the computer to them. What legal rights do they have to the computer.

There are several gaps and contradictions in your description. For instance, "I was recently given a computer" and "they just provided me a Card Number" seem at odds with "I purchased the computer through my own accounts". The latter also fails to explain the gap between $4200 and the "roughly $600 of my own money in it". Also, giving you a computer implies that you did not have to build it. By contrast, the fact that "They are not a business" is irrelevant.

The communications you have had with them could shed some light on whether the computer was intended as [part of the] compensation for your work rather than an accommodation for your benefit (for example, so that you don't have to commute to do the job). If it is an accommodation, once the contractual relation is terminated they are entitled to recovery the computer they gave you.

If the computer was intended as compensation for your work, your inability to complete the agreed tasks sounds in breach of contract. At best you might pursue the notion of rescinding the contract. Either way they would be entitled to at least a prorated recovery of what they gave you in relation to that job. If the agreement was in terms of deliverables rather than time spent, your inability to produce a working deliverable entitles them to full recovery.

The gaps in your description also make it difficult to assess the effect that breach or rescission of contract has on the $600 you spent. If the computer was intended as an accommodation, the assessment is even more complex because it requires pondering further aspects of what the parties had in mind at the formation of the contract.

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