My longtime friend had a home demonstration from a vacuum salesman. She wanted to buy the vacuum but could not get approved for the payment plan. But, the salesman said if she could get a cosigner, within 3 days, he would give her a $1200.00 discount. The vacuum was $2500.00. She asked me to do this for her. I was reserved, but I said okay.

She signed, I signed, I was approved as her cosigner, and I left them to finish up their business. 1 week later, my friend went in for surgery, suffered a massive stroke, and never regained consciousness. She was removed from life support 3 days later and died on the 4th day. From vacuum purchase to death was just 12 days.

I immediately contacted the salesman that sold the vacuum, letting him know of her death and my desire to get the vacuum returned unused and have the contract voided to avoid any debt or charges, before they accrue. He replied that he was sure there would be no problem. I never heard anything further from him. Now no one wants to take the vacuum back, they tell me I'm responsible for the debt, I have never laid eyes on the vacuum, and I don't know what is going to happen to her belongings.

I want to be released from the obligation based on the fact that she died before she even owed a payment which is due in March. Also, the paperwork doesn't show her discount for getting a cosigner! Am I still responsible for this debt, when she died, especially so soon after signing?

  • 5
    could you add a country tag.
    – Dheer
    Feb 3, 2017 at 7:47
  • 12
    Life lesson: Never, ever co-sign. If you have the cash and want to give it to a friend, give them the cash. If you don't have the money or you don't want to give it to your friend, don't give them the cash. Never co-sign.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 3, 2017 at 9:31
  • 17
    What sort of vacuum costs even $1300? Top-of-the-range cleaners in the UK are barely £500. Was this essentially a fraud? Feb 3, 2017 at 12:11
  • 9
    For what it is worth you made this person happy 12 days before she passed.
    – Pete B.
    Feb 3, 2017 at 12:43
  • 11
    I am still having trouble with the concept of buying a vacuum that is so far out of your budget that you need a co-signing on the loan...
    – keshlam
    Feb 3, 2017 at 22:32

4 Answers 4


You may have a few options if the company continues to ignore your communication.

  • Call your state's Attorney General and discuss your problem with them. They may be willing to put pressure on this vacuum salesman for you.
  • Call your local TV stations to see if their consumer advocate department wants to run your story. This has all the makings of a very sympathetic story that will draw negative attention to the company that sells these vacuums. They will be much quicker to try to settle the problem if they are getting negative attention.
  • Share your story on social media; tweet them if them if they have a twitter account.
  • Find a local attorney to open a suit.
  • File your own suit in small claims noting that you heard a verbal agreement between the salesman and your friend to discount the vacuum in exchange for a cosigner, ask for the entire contract to be nullified.

Even if none of these works out, the debt should still probably be paid out by the estate of your friend.


Legally in the US:

  • the standing of the lady is of no concern to the vacuum company
  • the vacuum salesperson probably has a very significant commission - maybe 50%+
  • you cosigned a legal contract that is still enforceable
  • however since you just cosigned her estate must treat the vacuum company as a debtor and they are the main contract holder
  • meaning that whoever takes over the estate should be handling all of this. Unless the estate has a lot more debt or doesn't have $1200 the probate judge will have to earmark the money to pay off the vacuum - this happens all the time.
  • the family or you can try to return the vacuum. If it is still within their standard return time this is no issue. But the company does not have to be "nice" because there was a death involved.
  • if family does not have the money and you pay for it, you own it.
  • This is the right answer. You cosigned so you are responsible if the other party can't or won't pay. That is literally the purpose of the cosigner. Who ever is loaning the money doesn't feel confident enough that the primary person will be able to pay back the loan so they want someone else who is responsible to pay it back to increase the odds of that happening. The estate should be handling it but given your friend needed a loan/purchase plan with a cosigner to purchase a vacuum it's more than a little likely you'll end up paying for the vacuum. Aug 23, 2018 at 20:32
  • 1
    Agreed on all but the last bullet point. Fulfilling your obligation as a cosigner doesn't automatically give you an ownership interest in the financed property - that depends entirely on what is written on the sales contract. Now, I expect a judge would probably side with the cosigner if they wanted to sue for the property (if they had made all the payments), but again, not automatic...
    – CactusCake
    Aug 23, 2018 at 20:46
  • @CactusCake - I probably should have explained better. If inheritors want vacuum then they would have to pay for it. Anything could fall through the cracks at probate time but if there is debt and the inheritors claim property they claim debt. So if they took vacuum and did not pay, cosigner could sue for costs and in some states add fraud on. (Judge would have required property owners to sign a state/county contract in most cases that go over these instances)
    – blankip
    Aug 23, 2018 at 21:12

Yes. Because you co-signed the loan, you are responsible for the loan just as much as she was. When you co-sign a loan, you are essentially saying "I will pay this loan if the other person can't."


In the UK (similar laws exist throughout Europe, see European Consumer Rights Directive), you have the right to return for a refund for any goods that are bought off-premises for 14 days after delivery.


I understand that consumer protections in the USA are not as strong though.

  • Worth trying, certainly.
    – keshlam
    Feb 3, 2017 at 13:38
  • 3
    If it was one of these (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…), then it appears that various people have got money back at different times. Feb 3, 2017 at 13:46
  • @MarkPerryman That company's ownership traces up to Berkshire Hathaway. So, ultimately, it bore scrutiny by Warren Buffet. In most cases, those companies are the best run and most ethical in their fields. Complaints with customer service should be dealt with fairly.
    – Xalorous
    Feb 3, 2017 at 17:42
  • Thank you for all the responses and information. I have filed complaints with the better business Bureau against both companies. The promoter/seler of the hyla vacuum and he finance company. I have also filed a complaint with the fair trade commission. Feb 5, 2017 at 11:51

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