Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's Predatory Boss Is Eager to Score Again

DEAR ABBY: My brother "Eric's" car was destroyed in a natural disaster four years ago. His insurance company paid for the loss, but he never replaced the car. For the next two years he borrowed one from another family member until she finally put a stop to it. For the last two years Eric has been using one of mine.

It started out as a temporary loan, but now he acts like I gave it to him. I still pay for its upkeep and insurance, because if I didn't, Eric wouldn't. I have offered to sell it to him for a reasonable price, but every time I mention it he comes up with an excuse.

I feel used. How do I tell my brother I want my car back without stepping on anyone's toes? We are a close family, and I'm afraid he'll hold a grudge if I tell him how I feel. He and his wife have full-time, well-paying jobs. My husband and I have two other vehicles, so I don't need the other one desperately. I just hate seeing it used and abused like this. Should I feel guilty about wanting my wheels back? -- USED UP IN THE SOUTH

DEAR USED UP: No, you shouldn't -- and your signature speaks volumes. Now pick up the phone and call your insurance agent. It is possible that because you are the legal owner of that vehicle, you could be responsible for any damage that your brother might cause while driving it.

You have been a wonderful and generous sister for having allowed him to use it for as long as he has. Because you're having trouble finding the words to tell Eric that you want him to stand on his own two feet and provide his own transportation, ask the relative who loaned him the last one to let you borrow her script.