We all know Joey repeatedly borrowed money from Chandler to support his patchy acting career. On TV, the gang laugh about it. And we suspect writers bypassed a Friends “debt recovery episode fearing poor ratings. But what happens in real life when you lend a friend money and they don’t pay it back? Unfortunately, unlike a sitcom, it’s not all bromantic hugs, resolved neatly after thirty minutes. So, how can you loan money to a friend and ensure you get it back? We explain by setting out our advice to Chandler Bing below. 

1. Write It Down

Before lending any money to your pal Joey, write your loan agreement down. We know he’s your roommate and best friend, BUT even with the best intentions, things don’t always go to plan. Yes, it can be awkward asking a friend to enter into a contract, but it’s no less awkward than asking that same friend for money down the track. The contract doesn’t need to be comprehensive but it should at least set out the amount of money Joey is borrowing and his repayment plan. Of course, contracts can be verbal, but to avoid any ambiguity or certainty, put it on paper.

2. Ask For it Back

If Joey hasn’t fulfilled his promise to pay, then you should ask when he’s going to repay you. It may be that it’s skipped his mind, and just asking the question always helps. No one reacts well to a combative approach straight away. Although we understand Monica’s inquisitorial approach may influence you, you know best. Plus, it also helps if you want to maintain that friendship.

3. Send a Letter

Joey decides to avoid your phone calls and won’t talk about the debt – so much for ‘I’ll be there for you.’ It’s time to request the money owed through a letter of demand. A letter of demand is a formal letter setting out that there has been a breach of the agreement between you and Joey, and that he needs to pay up, otherwise you’ll commence legal proceedings against him. It shows that you are serious about recovering the money. You should keep copies of any correspondence, emails and text messages between you both.  You may need these down the track if the matter proceeds to Court.

4. Alter Your Previous Agreement

So, Joey didn’t get the TV job he was hoping for, but he really wants to repay the money. You can alter your previous agreement. Maybe you take less money, or maybe you change how he is to repay you. Sometimes any money back in your hands is better than nothing at all. Or maybe you really just want to be pals again sipping coffee at Central Perk. Take care to ensure that you are comfortable with the new agreement. 

5. Bing v Tribbiani

Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan, and if everything else failed, then you may need to commence legal proceedings. Recovering the debt through the Courts is done via pleadings, and typically a lawyer will assist you. Depending on the amount of the debt, you may be in a local or Magistrates Court, or the District Court. Or if you were really generous, you might be in the Supreme Court (how much money exactly did you lend him for rent and headshots, Chandler?). Again, it helps if you documented your agreement in writing.  

***

Questions about recovering money from Joey Tribbiani? Or perhaps you need assistance drafting the terms of your loan agreement? Let us know.

Emma George

Next Steps

If you would like further information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please get in touch using the form on this page.