What do you do when a family member won't pay you back?

  • 1
    An excellent personal finance question?
    – C. Ross
    Jun 8, 2010 at 14:12
  • 14
    "Before you loan a friend money, ask yourself which you need more."
    – user296
    Jun 16, 2010 at 16:35

5 Answers 5

  • If you care about the relationship, forgive the debt.
  • If you don't care about the relationship, AND you have the loan agreement in writing take them to court.
  • If you don't care about the relationship, and don't have anything in writing, write off the money.

Trying to forcefully reclaim the money will ruin the relationship. In general it's bad practice to loan money to family.


Never loan money to family or friends with the intention of getting it back. If you take him/her to court, and the claim is valid, sure you get your money back, you lose a friend/family member.


Take them to small claims court or just forget about it.


Pretend it was a gift all along, be happy that you could help out your family when they needed it and remember your lesson for the future.


What do you do?

  1. Remember never to do it again.
  2. Tell your other relatives, so they won't get stiffer either.

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