Post Nr. 250: a hard lesson

A few years back, Weggieboy received a call at home from Work Friend. Friend needed a co-signer on a telephone contract, and would Weggieboy sign for Friend?

Weggieboy’d never co-signed for anyone before, but had worked with Friend for decades at the hose factory. Though Weggieboy knew Friend had some money crises from time to time, Weggieboy also knew Friend worked these out. Though Weggieboy wasn’t really thrilled to co-sign for Friend, Weggieboy also felt Weggieboy could if Friend understood Weggieboy was doing it with the condition that Friend keep up with the bills. Weggieboy’s credit rating was at stake!

Things went well from August until April. Weggieboy got a letter from Viaero noting the telephone bill was two months in arrears, and Weggieboy needed to pay up to the tune of $267 (Weggieboy thinks it was) by a certain date, or the bill would be turned over to a collection agency. Friend’s bill..!

Weggieboy stormed down to Viaero to deal with the bill, to pay it before hell struck Weggieboy’s credit rating. Weggieboy’d deal with Friend at work! By coincidence, when Weggieboy was getting ready to write a check for Friend’s delinquent bill, Friend walked in, ready to pay the bill. Friend and Weggieboy discussed the letter. Weggieboy reminded Friend of the condition Weggieboy’d made to co-sign for Friend. Friend was apologetic. Friend’s Adult Child (whom Weggieboy didn’t know at first was going to be on the contract, too, and whom Weggieboy likes but knows Child isn’t always responsible in money matters) had a Buddy who owed Child money, but left town before paying it to Child. Child, then, was unable to pay that part of the bill that was Child’s responsibility: Friend was stuck with the bill, couldn’t pay right away, and it rolled over into a threatening collection letter to Weggieboy.

Child, once again, had put Friend in a bind. Some Adult Children are like that. But (it seemed) this time Child got a taste of Child’s own medicine, was the victim of a deadbeat not paying money owed Child. Irony. Weggieboy loves it, but this time was blinded by it, too. Weggieboy forgave Friend, felt sorry for Friend because it wasn’t Friend’s fault Child’s Buddy stiffed Child.

Time passed. A second time Friend asked Weggieboy to come down to Viaero to co-sign a contract. Weggieboy reminded Friend of the incident above, pointed out Weggieboy probably wouldn’t have signed in the first place had Weggieboy known Adult Child was also on Friend’s contract.

“Oh, it won’t happen again!”

Until November 22 of this year.

Viaero once again contacted Weggieboy, by telephone, but this time Friend’s arrears bill was $449.39, an amount equal to what Weggieboy pays for telephone service for NINE MONTHS! Weggieboy can’t relate. Weggieboy can’t ignore Friend’s bill either, because Weggieboy’s credit rating typically is in the low 800s. No wonder Viaero liked Weggieboy’s signature on two separate contracts! The poor service representative was very tolerant while Weggieboy ranted about Friend’s perfidy, Adult Child’s irresponsibility, and the fact the there was another name on the bill, Absolute Stranger Of Whom Weggieboy’d Never Heard, and that was particularly galling! The first two have spotty records, but the latter could be God only knows what.

Weggieboy notified Friend, who in the recent past (Weggieboy guesses) moved out of state, that Viaero told Weggieboy Weggieboy owed $449.39, and that Friend’s name, Adult Child’s name, and Absolute Stranger Of Whom Weggieboy’d Never Heard’s name, too were on the back of the bill, that it was not Weggieboy’s account number, but Friend’s: The bill would be paid, Weggieboy told the customer service representative, but Weggieboy had some questions.

Question 1: Was the contract the second one or a third one Weggieboy was unaware of. It seemed to Weggieboy enough time had passed that Friend surely was on a third contract. Weggieboy wasn’t on the contract (Weggieboy thinks the customer service representative thought Weggieboy meant was Weggieboy listed on the contract, not had Weggieboy signed it, but that’s another day’s issue.) “No, I don’t see Weggieboy on it,” said the customer service representative.

Question 2: Since Weggieboy seemed to have liability as a co-signer for Friend, did that give Weggieboy authority to cancel the contract, too? Weggieboy repeated Weggieboy would pay the bill and any fees to cancel the contract, if the latter was possible. “Yes, that can be done,” said the customer service representative. “And Weggieboy guarantees Weggieboy will NEVER co-sign for Friend or anyone else again, ever, no matter how much boo-hoo is tossed in Weggieboy’s face!”

Today, Weggieboy went down to the Viaero office in freezing cold (1 degree F or -17.2 degrees C) to get clarification. Weggieboy explained Weggieboy’s concerns to the customer service representative. She looked up Friend’s account: cancelled! Weggieboy asked about early cancellation fees since Weggieboy wanted to clear all matters today, put the Viaero part of this nightmare to rest so Weggieboy could work on the next part: Collecting $449.39 from Friend, who noted there’d been financial stress in Friend’s life lately, but Friend’s good intention is to repay Weggieboy “by Christmas”.

Weggieboy has all the documents Weggieboy needs to file a small claims court case against Friend if the money doesn’t arrive in time for Christmas. “What a shitty thing to do to someone at Christmas,” Weggieboy thought. “On the other hand, it was a pretty shitty thing to ruin someone’s Thanksgiving AND Christmas with a phone call telling Weggieboy Weggieboy had to cough up $449.39 at this time of year, the time car insurance and assorted other expenses hit!!!”

Those who know Weggieboy best know Weggieboy has no sense of humor about money matters. Weggieboy manages Weggieboy’s limited funds, and doesn’t understand others who don’t or can’t manage theirs.

Weggieboy doesn’t hate Friend, but Weggieboy thinks Friend, who lopped off the “X” on Xmas*, now wears a Scarlet “X” in front of “Friend”: X-Friend. It is a hard lesson indeed for all concerned.


* Before anyone gets huffy with me about “Xmas”, note that the usage is old.