Post 266: the $449.39 question

X-Friend wrote last November after Weggieboy contacted her to let her know he’d had to pay her $449.39 telephone bill because he’d stupidly co-signed for her when she needed a co-signer on her telephone contract, then she failed to pay a couple months:

Doug I’m sorry about this and I will pay you back we have had some financial set backs but I promise I will pay you before Christmas.” [sic]

The promised date by which the debt would be repaid, Christmas, is past.

I considered several possibilities: 1. suck it up and forgive the $449.39 debt, 2. file a small claims suit since I have definitive proof she owes me the money, 3. give her a little rope and let her work out a time frame that works for her even though this $449.39 hit me at a time that wasn’t convenient.

Option 1. is stupid and unrealistic. Option 2 requires her to be in state, which she isn’t now. Option 3 galls me, but may be the only option.

After stewing about the possibilities, I sent X-Friend a follow-up e-mail to remind her I haven’t gone away and I want my money:

X-Friend-

I co-signed twice for you and twice you failed me. The first time you paid the overdue bill, but I felt sorry for you and gave you a check at work for the amount of the bill. It was a $267 (I think- $200+) “gift” because Adult Child’s buddy left town without giving him money for the bill, and Adult Child didn’t have the money to pay his and the friend’s, leaving you with the whole thing. The failure was that I ever got the letter saying I had to pay your bill or else, though you showed up at the same time I did and took care of it: I was humiliated and mad to get that treatment! I pay my bills in time.

The second time- I was a fool to co-sign a second time!!!- I got the deadbeat telephone call from Viaero for a $449.39 bill you, Adult Child, and “Person of whom I’ve never heard”, the three people on the contract, failed to pay. Failure two. It was a steep price to pay for trust in you, given you failed me once on this same cellphone account. This time I wasn’t humiliated, just displeased, and I wrote an extensive letter to Viaero to let them know why and what I hoped they could do about it considering I was held accountable for your debt, thanks to co-signing for you, and considering I was paying in full one last time. I believe they followed my instructions and they have my $449.39 for your bill.

The third failure on your part was to repay the $449.39 “before Christmas”. I can appreciate you have financial set backs just now. Though I am fat and have a beard, I am not Santa Claus. I’m not the 1st National Bank of Doug either. I’m not charging you interest for the $449.39 I paid to save you humiliation and legal issues with Viaero. I’m not a nice guy for that, I am a fool because I trusted you THREE times and you failed me three times. Besides, not to pay the $449.39 you owed would have screwed up my credit record. The last time I checked, my rating was 812…because I use credit moderately and pay my bills in a timely manner! I don’t carry bills past the first billing cycle, and sometimes pay before the bill is due when the credit card company sends me e-mail notice of what my account will be charged later in the month. (I have the option of waiting or paying immediately, so pay immediately.)

Yes, I do expect to be repaid the $449.39. There will not be any Christmas miracle or forgiveness of a debt to me in the spirit of Christmas because the amount is too significant to me as a retiree on a fixed income.

I’m not giving you a time frame for repayment of your debt to me because I don’t know how strained your finances are, of course, nor is it any of my business beyond $449.39. I prefer a cashier’s check, a postal money order, or cash (only if given in person) because I seriously doubt I’d feel comfortable accepting your personal check after the three failures noted above. I believe you understand why. You are not stupid by any means.

My address is: [etc., etc.]

~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~

Will I get paid? For the time being, that is the $449.39 question.

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6 thoughts on “Post 266: the $449.39 question

    • That it is! I feel sorry for anyone who’s lived to be in her early 60s and still hasn’t learned two critical lessons: 1. How to say “no” to her son when he hits her for money she doesn’t have or to bail him out of trouble (or jail) when he starts to whine about how the man’s after him and how he’s not to blame, and 2. How to manage her finances, because there are times a 40+ son is in better shape to earn his way than his mother and really, some way, some day, needs to stop putting pressure on her to save his rump!

      Of course, she is an enabler, too, and doesn’t seem to realize how she turned a pretty good kid into a user. (He’s an excellent worker, from what I observed when he worked in one of our more difficult areas at the plant, just too used to asking Mom for help instead of waiting till he can pay his own way.)

      I won’t suffer too much for loss of the money (which I feel probably will be the case), but I will never excuse her negligence or forgive her the debt so long as I live or she lives, whichever outlasts the other. It’s a moral issue as much as a legal one. It’s one of betrayed trust, something X-Friend never will get back.

      I’ve toyed with the idea of identifying her on Facebook so others who know her here don’t fall for her boo-hoo story about needing a co-signer so she can get a phone so she can…[fill in some seemingly noble reason you can’t deny]. Maybe I’ll do that each complete month after I paid her bill., a reminder to her and our shared friends that she’s a deadbeat.

      The biggest issue for me, now, is not turning this into a grudge (which my comments above suggest may be happening!) or something I do in anger.

  1. Understood about not being able to take her to small claims court. I took an ex friend to small claims court and even though I received a judgement in my favor, I still was unable to collect it.
    I had no enforcer to do so and it would have cost me more than the whole thing was worth to hire some one.
    Years later when her daughter was grown she needed a cosigner for a used car and she had the nerve to call me.
    I told her that she first needed to pay me back what she owed me and I would think about it.
    She hung up.
    Hope you and the boys had a good Christmas and have a blessed new year.

    • An incredible story! People like this have no shame, I guess. I know it would cost at least $180-$200 for a consultation with my lawyer (based on past consultations), so already that’s more money than I want to put into recovering this money. I don’t recall how much filing a suit costs- nominal, just a few dollars as I recall- but, again, tossing more money at this doesn’t appeal. If I don’t see the money within three months or so, I may publish her name, her son’s name, and the unknown person’s name her and on Facebook so everyone can attach the deed to the people concerned. I would forewarn her, of course.

  2. I would say this x-friend’s “financial set backs” would more realistically be called “chronic mis-management of finances” and you should have no qualms about demanding your money back from her regardless of whatever new story she gives you. Do you have a better chance of getting that $449.39 back than I do of waking up tomorrow 50 pounds lighter than I am today? Probably not. Sorry.

    • You are absolutely correct. In the meantime, I will remind her from time to time I’m still waiting. The longer it takes, the less credible anything she tells me will be. I believe you are correct about chronic mismanagement of finances. Just helping her son out of his financial and legal messes all the time instead of letting him grow up by experiencing the consequences is one thing she’s done as long as I can remember, and that’s caused her personal issues (financial) in the past. Of course, that adds to the level of my gullibility AND stupidity for helping her twice, and being disappointed three times for it.

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