[For reference, I am currently a junior in college, so still definitely learning how to approach workplace issues.] I wrapped up an extended summer internship this past March, and I have unintentionally been holding on to the laptop I received, just because the latter end of the semester was especially taxing, and returning my laptop wasn't exactly on the forefront of my mind.
In my last few weeks at the company, my boss (who was actually leaving the same date as me) had CC'd me in an email with HR explaining my termination, as well as asking for details on how to return my laptop. HR had emailed back noting my termination date, but didn't address anything in regards to returning the technology. I recognize that it's definitely on me that I had not followed up, but again, I was swamped with school, and frankly, just happy that I wouldn't be dealing with work anymore. I remember when the summer internship program was ending, our internship recruiters had given instructions as to how to return the laptops, but promptly after ending my internship, I had been locked out of all my emails, so I couldn't refer back.
My family has seen no issue with my not returning the laptop, insisting if the company wanted it, they would follow up, which I agree with. However now, my mother has been asking if she can use the laptop for her own personal uses, and I'm concerned that they'll be able to track me or I'll get in trouble (old Quora questions have been making claims that I could get sued for holding onto this, which I obviously would love to avoid.) The laptop is really lovely (a 2020 Macbook Pro, I believe), but definitely has company software on it, as I remember a terminal-base thing that was preloaded into the laptop that would link straight to any company pages that were necessary.
Do you think it would be crazy to just email IT and ask if I could buy the laptop off of them or if this would be outrageously expensive? Or would we be able to continue using the laptop until [insert anxiety-inducing scenario here]. I'm thinking it would be best to just email IT asking how to return it, but I know my mother would be extremely disappointed and my family would call me overdramatic for being anxious about this, but just wanted to get outside opinions.