Richard Alderman's archive

Q. I was playing ball in the front yard with my dog, when she suddenly ran into the street in front of our house. A passing car struck her. Fortunately, my dog was not hurt. The accident, however, did cause some minor damage to the car. Am I responsible for the cost of repairs for the car? The owner expects me to pay.

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Q. I received a gift for the holidays. When I opened it, I discovered I had already bought the same thing for myself. I went to return it and the store pointed to a sign that said, “No returns, exchange only,” and told me I could not return it. There is nothing else I want in that store. Are they right? This doesn’t seem fair.

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Q. I signed a lease with my friend. She now is getting married and wants her name removed from the lease. Even though my credit is good and I can afford the rent, the landlord will not remove her name. What can we do to get her name off the lease? She is having trouble renting another apartment.

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Q. I am considering using layaway for some of my Christmas shopping. I noticed many large stores now offer this service. I was wondering what happens if I change my mind and don’t finish paying. Legally, how much money may the store keep?

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Q. I recently moved into a new apartment. The apartment pays a referral fee. I told them my friend referred me. My friend actually did not refer me, but I knew he lived in the complex. When I told my friend he was going to get the money, he agreed to split it with me. Now he refuses to share. Can I take him to small claims court?

A. In my opinion, you do not have any basis for a lawsuit. Your friend promised to give you a gift. He simply agreed to share his money with you. Such promises are not enforceable.

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