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If I took my sister and BIL to small claims over my daughter’s Nintendo Switch WIBTA?

If I took my sister and BIL to small claims over my daughter’s Nintendo Switch WIBTA?


"WIBTA if I took my sister and BIL to court after her son stole and then broke my daughter's Switch?"

Recently, my family (me, my wife, and our daughter Olive [15]) had my sister, BIL, and their son Aiden [11] over to stay for a week. Two days before they left, Olive’s Nintendo Switch (which she bought with her own money from her job) went missing. All seven of us turned the house upside down, but we didn’t find anything.

Flash foreword to two days after they left our house, I got a call from my sister. Apparently, Aiden stole Olive’s Switch and then went to his mom when he broke it.

She sent me photos, and it was smashed to smithereens, completely beyond repair. My sister apologized, but when I asked her to PayPal me $350 so I could buy a new one, she said that she didn’t have the money.

She said the most she could do was $100, and I said that wasn’t good enough. (Note: she has not sent me any money at all as of now). Here’s where I might be in the wrong. My wife and I do have the money to replace it ourselves without a significant setback, while my sister and BIL don’t.

I talked to my wife and Olive about it, and Olive brought up taking them to small claims court (she’s been watching a lot of courtroom drama shows lately, and is very interested in law in general). We told her we’d have to think about it.

Afterwards, my wife and I had a separate conversation. I’m of the opinion that they should take responsibility for their son. My wife said that we shouldn’t be petty because we have the money to just replace it. We decided to wait a bit before making any drastic decisions, but I can’t keep my mind off this.

I’ve been in contact with my sister since, trying to broker some deal, but every time she says she doesn’t have the money and finds some excuse why she can’t talk. WIBTA if I took my sister and BIL to small claims over my daughter’s switch?

Here were the top rated comments:


Your sister's family should pay. However if she only has $100 now I'd accept it graciously, while putting in writing that there is still $250 owing. In legal terms, they've accepted liability. If you accept $100 then you're settling.

But if you make it clear that the $100 is just a first installment, and set out a yearly payment plan for the remainder, it will actually leave you all in a better place in the future. Good luck. Buy Olive a new switch now. She shouldn't be drawn into this any more.


I mean Zelda comes out tomorrow for crying out loud, buy the girl a replacement already!


If you have the money to replace it, I’d buy olive a new one but make a plan (in writing like a contract) for repayment from your sister. Start with the $100 now and figure out what makes sense as a repayment plan. Maybe $50-$100 a month until it’s paid off.

If they fail to pay back within the agreed upon timeframe, then go the small claims court way. But, I’d personally give them a little bit more of a chance before going to court. That is a bit of a relationship-ender route.


NTA. Your sister’s family needs to learn that actions have consequences. Their son stole and destroyed your daughters property, and it’s their responsibility to replace it.


NTA for wanting to hold them accountable. Your sister obviously has zero remorse for her kid's theft and lies, and if she intended to make good on paying you, she would have already sent you something.

But, this would almost certainly ruin your relationship with them and possibly other family members. I would maybe try to arrange a written payment plan, and take her to court if she can't make good on that.

I would also insist on an apology from nephew and probably some chores to make up for it. He needs more than a scolding for this. He didn't just destroy a physical thing, she probably lost data she may not be able to recover. We're talking about kids, that kind of thing matters more to them than adults, and he's old enough to know damn well he shouldn't have done that.

So what would you say? Is there at least an apology due?

Sources: Reddit
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