Here goes another story that I've been meaning to post a couple of months ago. I've known a friend for about a year now and we happen to go to the same college campus and tend to talk on a daily basis. Unfortunately, he has a financial issue and is god awful at paying for things. Three times now, I've forked the cost, one of them being the bulk of it. In late August, I had sold him a 13" rMBP for $1000 with a written (chicken-scratch) contract stating what was purchased, how much it was, a payment plan, both our signatures and the date, albeit a little longer than that. We agreed to a payment plan that would pay me back in full by mid-late September and signed. No witness, no notarization. More on this later. He leaves with the laptop. You probably know where this is going, so I didn't get paid by then. Every single time I ask (which is almost daily nowadays and was even worse in September), he has some financial issue going on or simply doesn't want to pay up, nor does he want to give up the laptop since he needs it for coursework and sidelining with DJ events. Why he couldn't afford his own laptop is beyond me. Okay, so early November, he begs me for $600 as his two bank accounts got hacked (I call BS), I refuse. He calls again a few days later about it, saying he got most of it but needs $100 with a stipulation that a check for $1100 is written out in my name, cashable a week or two later due to his bank account issue. So that rolls around and he gets into a car accident the day I'm supposed to cash the check (he showed me proof of this, pictures of the car, in the hospital, etc.) so I wait for a response after his short recovery. December rolls around, I'm finally able to cash the check with his permission. The bank I cashed it with allows $1000 available immediately and a couple days of processing for the remainder ($100) to clear. I cash it, but the ATM allows a $600 daily limit. Deposited on a Friday, took $600 out, take another $400 out Saturday and the last bit on a Monday. Turns out the check bounced but the bank didn't notify me until that Friday by letter. I thought everything was good with my friend and he asks me for $20 for a party he's attending, I oblige, but request $5 interest and trust that it'd get paid back in two days, which of course never happens. When I got back from campus, I got the letter in the mail, realizing I got screwed over, yet again. Bounced for being from a closed account, the one with fraudulent activity/hacked so I call up my friend immediately. Says he'll call the bank and get it figured out, although this has been occurring for some time now. The bank called me recently, accusing me of fraud for a bounced check, no activity on the account and withdrawing all of it in three days so I set up a payment to pay them back in full and wrote a nasty letter in return. He's working a lot over break which is his excuse for not going to the bank to get the money (no online banking, no debit card, must go to branch to get cash out). He says he'll be making $10,000 due to his numerous jobs but I have no idea if any of that will go towards me or not. We talk again today, I ask about it casually and he jokingly says something along the lines of "I may still pay you off if I still like you by then) which has me a little worried; could just be another excuse to prolong it. I'm still out of $1125 here with not much to go off of. Can I take him to small claims court or civil court without an attorney in this situation and/or sue for even more than the $1125 (ie. profits made from DJing, stress, backing out of the agreement)? He said he'd pay me off in full the second week of the semester (~January 20) but if that falls through like the others, I'm tempted to pursue this. Again, sorry for another long thread but thanks for reading and advice is appreciated.