My (used to be) friend borrowed some money from me but does not want to pay back. It was a 'buddy promise'. I have SMS, Email & Bank Transfer slips as evidence. Since it was done between buddies, no repayment time frame was stipulated.

I have compiled written binding agreements in Text messages and email. The only thing missing is the time to repay.

It has been more than a year now since he borrowed the money from me and I am thinking of suing him with all the evidences I have. The sum of money would put it under the small-claims-court category

Do I have a strong case against him? My concern is that it was a 'buddy' contract with no time frame for payback stipulated.

  • 2
    You learned a valuable lesson - do not trust this previous friend. I hope the price you paid was not too high, but this could have saved you a lot of money.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


If you had an agreement that amounts to a contract, it is binding even if it was informal. However, if your agreement was not in writing, it might be hard to prove.

You can easily prove that you transferred money to the other party. But can you prove that it was a loan an not a gift? And even if it is agreed to be a loan, if no repayment time was specified, what says that the debt is due now? Was the agreement really for a loan repayable on demand? The court would have to determine what your real contract was, or what contract can be implied from the actions of the parties.

Also, if you are in a common-law jurisdiction, there could be a question of what consideration there was for the loan. Without consideration, there is no valid contract in such a jurisdiction. Perhaps a promise to repay could be treated as sufficient consideration.

Small-claims courts do deal with unclear verbal contracts on a regular basis, but the outcome will depend on the facts of the case, and on the details of local law. It might be wise to consult a local lawyer with small-claims experience. A single consultation should not be too expensive.

In response to comment If the "written binding agreements" include a statement from the other person that this is a loan, and a promise to repay it, you are in a stronger position than I had thought from the original question. The question for the court would be, since there was no due date agreed, what is a reasonable date to impose. The court might treat it as a loan repayable on demand, or specify some particular date for repayment.

  • Thank you. I have compiled written biding agreements in Text messages and email. The only thing missing is the time to repay. It's been more than a year now. FYI the ammount is around $4000. This falls under small claims in my jurisdiction. Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 15:12
  • @user1034912 "The only thing missing is the time to repay." Does the agreement reflect the purpose of the loan or the debtor's ability to repay (such as salary, expected change of circumstances, etc)? Each of these two items might help establishing in court the parties' intent/expectation regarding the "deadline" for paying back even if the deadline itself is not explicit in the agreement. Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 15:33
  • He was broke a year ago, so for me it was a helping debt to a friend. No timeframe was stipulated. It was my understanding that it's a 'Pay when you have the money'. Now he is rich and successful and have land inheritance too. He does not want to pay simply because I may have said something that hurt him. Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 23:03

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