Note: This is based on a true situation; names and the item in question have been changed. Please also note that there are a lot of emotions involved in this, but I have chosen to omit them.
Amy and Andrew: Camera owners.
Joe and his wife Jessica: Currently borrowing Amy and Andrew's; were told that they could borrow the camera for 2-3 years from March 2011; Amy and Andrew pay all associated costs with the camera.
Mark and his wife Mandy: Currently renting a camera from someone else other than Amy and Andrew since March 2012; Mark and Mandy pay associated costs with the rental camera. Mark was told by Amy that he and Mandy could borrow Amy's camera beginning June or July 2013-- a month or two before they had to return the camera they were currently renting.
Potential Mitigating Factors:
Joe is a full-time student and working part-time (approx. 3-5 shifts/week), and Jessica is studying full-time. They have savings that they are refusing to use to pay for rental of another camera. They state that they cannot afford to rent a camera, and they are not interested in paying Amy (and Andrew) for the use of their camera. They are in their early 20's and have been married since April 2011.
Mark is a full-time student and working part-time (2 shifts/week), and Mandy is a part-time student and working part-time (4 days/week). They have used up one of their savings accounts paying to rent a camera from March 2012-July 2013, and will have to use up another if they are unable to borrow Amy [and Andrew]'s camera. They are expecting a child in September 2013. They state that they cannot afford to rent a camera without using up another of their savings account; they have offered to pay something for the use of Amy (and Andrew's camera), however Amy has refused it. They are in their middle-late 20's and have been married since March 2012.
Amy and Andrew jointly own a camera; Andrew prefers to have Amy deal with the camera. The camera was very dirty and needed to be cleaned before use, but Joe wanted to use the camera so he cleaned it (with Amy's permission); Mark helped Joe a little to clean it, and helped him to set it up and get it (the camera) into working order.
When Amy lent Joe (and his wife Jessica) the camera, she told him that he (and she) could use it for 2-3 years (unknown if Joe told Jessica that there was a time limit on the borrowing of the camera, but Joe definitely knew) from when he got it (from March 2011 to somewhere between March 2013-March 2014); there was no written agreement, only a verbal one. Amy and Joe both acknowledge this, and Andrew was not involved in this part. In March 2012, Mark and Mandy rented a different camera from someone else until August 2013.
Fast forward to December 2012. Mark asked Amy if he could borrow her camera when his rental was up. Amy said yes, and she thought Mark could have it starting around early April 2013, which was later changed to June 2013 (verbal agreement, not written). By this point (December 2012), Joe had been borrowing the camera from Amy for 1 year and 9 months, and in June 2013 it would be 2 years and 4 months since Joe received the camera from Amy, putting it in the 2 to 3 year time frame that he was told he would get. If Mark wanted to renew the rental for his camera he would have to do so two months before his rental expired (rental expires July 2013, so Mark would have to let the person from whom he was renting know by May 2013).
A week before Mark had to contact the person he was renting the camera from he spoke to Amy to make sure that he and Mandy would be able to have the camera when she (Amy) had said they would. Amy said that she needed to talk to Joe.
Fast forward two weeks to the end of the first week in May 2013, during which time it has come out that Joe didn't tell Jessica that they were supposed to return the camera in June, and in which time Mark and Mandy have lost their chance to renew their rental.
Mark asked Amy what he is supposed to do, because he counted on her [and Andrew's] camera. Amy said that the soonest she thinks she could get the camera back from Joe would be in June 2014, aka 3 years and 3 or 4 months from the time that Joe initially borrowed the camera.
Joe says that he is not giving up the camera because he was told he could borrow it for 2-3 years and it hasn't been 3 years yet, and the only reason Amy is asking for the camera back is to give it to Mark, and therefore refuses to give back the camera.
Mark says that Joe got what he (Joe) was promised he would get, and now it's his turn to borrow the camera like Amy committed to him.
Amy told Mark to look for another camera to rent, because in any case two cameras will be needed. Amy says that she is not going to make Joe give back the camera and she is sorry that she said anything to Mark. Also, she does not owe Mark the camera.
Now, reader, what do you think? (And, yes, I really do want to hear opinions and potential solutions, because this is a real dilemma.)