Your Guide to Money Etiquette
Do I Have to Pay to Fix a Neighbor's Lawn Mower I Borrowed?
Q: My neighbor lent me his lawn mower and it broke. Must I pay to fix it?
A: If you borrow something and it conks out on your watch, you’re obligated to cover the cost of the fix, even if the item is old, says John P. Langan, a professor of philosophy at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C. Lawn-mower repair shops charge an average of $50 to $75 an hour, according to Consumer Reports. (It cuts, we know.) And if the machine can’t be saved? Make a reasonable offer—say, $100—toward the cost of a new one, says Graham Phaup, the executive director of the Institute for Global Ethics, a nonprofit in Rockland, Maine. Your friend may not take you up on the offer, but he will probably appreciate the gesture.