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In Mass. is a verbal contract legal and enforcable

Norton, MA |

On 8/6 i let a friend borrow $750.00. She agreed to pay me $100.00 per week starting 0n 8/10. Today is 8/22 and I havent received anything. Is there any legal action I can take, and because she is so late can I charge her interest?

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Attorney answers 4


Small claims court.

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henry lebensbaum, esq.

300 Brickstone Square, Ste 201

Andover, ma 01810

(978) 749-3606

420 Common Street, Ste 101

Lawrence, MA 01840

(978) 685-2690

Criminal Law (all misdemeanor & felonies in District and Superior Courts), Drunk Driving and Drug arrests, Sex Offenses, SORB, Crimes involving Violence or Theft, Domestic (Divorce, Child Custody, Alimony and Child Support) and Family Law (Modification, Contempts & Paternity), Juvenile Law, Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders, Business Law, Personal Injury claims, Probate Law (Guardianships, Conservatorships & Estate Administration) and Legal Malpractice. For these and other areas, contact me. NOTE: This preceding message DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. It is not a protected or confidential communication. The statements made herein are not to be interpreted as representations or warranties of any kind. No reliance should be placed on the statements made herein. It is recommended that the recipient(s) should undertake their own research to reach their own opinion. The writer does not accept professional responsibility on this matter. TO CREATE an attorney-client relationship REQUIRES a signed retainer/fee agreement along with a retainer fee that must be received by my office.


Yes, most oral contracts are enforceable in every state, and yours is. If you and her didn't agree to her paying interest, you can't add it unilaterally.

Before you sue, send her a "demand" letter for amount they owe you by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by FedEx or by registered email ( That way they know you're serious and you'll be able to prove receipt. Include a warning that once you sue, the lawsuit becomes a matter of public record, which means it will hurt their credit rating, and specify a firm deadline, 2 or 3 days from receipt of your letter, to comply or you'll have to sue in Small Claims court. If they don't comply by your deadline, follow through and sue.

Learn from this. Don't do business with or lend money to friends if you're not prepared to lose the money. Otherwise you lose the friend.

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Yes, in MA oral contracts are enforceable but can be difficult to prove. If you loaned the $750 by check or money order, I would make sure you have copies of the checks etc as proof of the loan. But I would first send a letter through certified mail requesting the friend to pay the money (as a side note, credit ratings are not damaged when a claim is filed in court in MA). If the friend does not pay, you can file in small claims at your local district court. You will be required to pay a small court cost which you can include in the amount you are seeking from the friend. Keep in mind that if you pursue the small claims route, documentation will help you prove your case.

The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and is expressly not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers


In Massachusetts, some verbal contracts are enforceable, but others are not. Given the facts you describe, it appears you have an enforceable contract, although, as previously noted, sometimes existance of the verbal contract is hard to prove. Did anyone overhear the agreement? Did the debtor email you as to why she is not paying you? I do not think you can charge interest unless that was part of the initial agreement. Yes, I too agree that small claims is where you should file.

not be worth the expense. DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO system, its terms and conditions. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship. I am admitted only in the Commonweath of Massachusetts.