Michigan-Detroit

NWR: WWWYD?

I'm dealing with a monetary situation, and I'm curious what others would do in my position.  This may be a little long, since I don't know what specifics might sway your decision, so I'll include a summary at the bottom if you want to skip there.

Before meeting DH, I had lived with Ex-BF for three years.  He lives on disability checks ($615/month) due to several serious illnesses, and I'm a student, so we lived rather...er...frugally.  I always paid the rent in full because the landlord preferred one check.  I also paid utilities, and he would pay for groceries.  At the end of the month, I would tally what each person owed the other for their share of these expenses, and whoever owed the most would pay the other person the difference.

When I went back to school, the monthly tallies became every two months, and sometimes as much as every five months, because I was just so busy.  Settling up promptly didn't seem to matter much, because we intended to stay together "forever" anyway, so it would all get done eventually.  At the time we broke up, he owed me $2-3000.  This isn't an enormous amount, but it was half my savings at the time and even now would help with some medical bills that we're expecting to have to pay.

When we broke up, we had already re-upped our lease for another year, so we remained roommates during that time, and on good terms.  The payment situation also remained the same.  However, I pointed out that it was more important to me now that we settle the amount that he owed me.  At this point, he informed me that he didn't have the money to pay me back.  One of the requirements of being on disability is that you can't have over a certain amount of money in the bank, and when he came close to that amount, he removed the money from the bank and spent it, rather than lose his disability checks.  Because after basic living expenses he only has about $40 to spend per month, there's no way he'll basically ever be able to put together the $2-3000 he owes me.

I said that he knew he owed me money and should have written me a check instead of spending that money.  He claims that because I was late in doing the expenses and didn't have an exact amount for him, he couldn't write a check and therefore this situation is entirely my fault.  Although he acknowledges that he owes me the money, he seems to feel that because of his financial situation, he just can't pay me back, so oh well.  I feel that I basically paid his rent for the last year without ever agreeing to this, and I'm not okay with being fleeced like this.

Although he's allowed to get a job and work up to a certain number of hours a week for extra money, he's made no move to do this in order to make a dent in his debt.  He claims that working in public would injure his immune system further and end up putting him in the hospital with an infection, but given that he spends all day every day in public and does a great deal of strenuous exercise, that excuse is feeling pretty shoddy to me. 

He also said that he was going to ask each of his (divorced) parents for a small loan in order to pay me back, and his father agreed to send him what he could spare, but made it clear that it was a one-time gift and that he couldn't expect anything else from him.  I know that he  sent him a check for $700 (I stumbled upon it accidentally while looking for the phone bill), but I never saw a penny of it.  At the same time, he and his new GF moved into a much nicer place and furnished it, and I suspect that that $700 given to him to pay me back got spent on the new place instead.  I didn't say anything because it was just before the wedding, and I was sort of hoping that we'd get a card from him with a big check in it.  Instead he came to the wedding, congratulated us, ate the food, and didn't even give us a card.

Since the wedding, he's written me several times, asking if I want to grab lunch, etc., that our friendship is important to him and he wants to stay friends.  But when I bring up the money, his response is a friendly but matter-of-fact statement that he doesn't have the money, and that I can't reasonably expect it since he has so little to live on.  In his mind, the matter's closed and he has no responsibility to pay me back.

So what would you do?  In my mind, the friendship's over.  I think anyone who's willing to borrow $3000 from a "friend" and refuse to repay it without a second thought isn't a friend, pure and simple.  But at this point...would it be worth it to you to fight for that much money?  Would I end up spending that much in legal fees anyway?  Especially because there really aren't any wages that could be garnished....

Thanks, knotties.  :)


Summary: Ex-BF owes me $2-3000 for his share of rent from the time we were living together.  Although perfectly cheerful and friendly still, he seems to feel no need to pay this money back, even after multiple discussions about it.  Would you attempt to get this much money back by legal means, or just drop the topic and the friendship?
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Re: NWR: WWWYD?

  • edited December 2011
    I'd think you'd lose in court simply because of lack of evidence. I watched enough People's Court on my lunch breaks at the credit union (thanks to nothing else on the 4 available channels) so I saw a lot of those cases. It shiiiity but most of the time, you won't win. 

    HOWEVER - I would be persistent in getting your money back. To me, that's a LOT of money. I would fight for it. If he offers to go to lunch, tell him you'd rather receive the $15 (or more, depending on where you guys regularly eat) he may spend on his meal than go out. Don't come off as too bitchy and pushy because that'd get annoying fast, but even $20/month is $240/year more than before.
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  • baileyleevbaileyleev
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    I have to agree with Milsey. I don't think you'd get anything in court, especially with no written agreements, and like you said there is nothing for them to garnish anyway...so doesn't do much good :(

    That's a really tough situation, and I'm sorry you have to deal with it!  That is a ton of money to me...and I definitley couldn't stay friends with someone that had such little respect for me and my financial situation. It seems that he feels he is more important than you are (hence using the money toward other things rather than paying back a debt!) I would definiltey ask him to pay you something monthly, whatever he felt he could afford, and if he's not willing to do that I would end the friendship there and try not to harbor too much resentment! 

    Good Luck!
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  • Meegles4Meegles4
    1000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    Hmm. I appreciated all the details because I was actually going back and forth the whole way through. I'd be like "nah, forget it" and then I'd be like "dude. FIGHT it." based on whatever turn in the plot there was!

    PPs are probably right about court. I've never taken someone to small claims court, so I have no idea the fees and details. If you find out more, I'd certainly pursue the court option. Perhaps a judge could ensure a portion of his disability checks could get sent to you. But again, with no paperwork, it's probably a long shot.

    I'd say you're both at fault. I totally understand why you didn't do a monthly settle-up, but at the end of the day it bit you in the bum. Could easily happen to any of us, but because you didn't have any sort of formal arrangement I see it as a "charge it to the game" situation.

    If there are any other potential money sources (i.e. his mom), I'd continue pursuing that with him and if someone agrees to loan him the money again I'd have them write the check directly to you -- not to him. Otherwise, I think you have to eat the lost money. And stop making contact. Mostly because he sounds like an ass. And in the end, it's a lot of money lost, but is it worth raising your blood pressure over someone who is clearly never going to pay up.
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  • sparkles776sparkles776
    1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
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    edited December 2011
    I have to agree with the PP's. I dont think it would do any good taking him to court, and it would end up costing you more money.

    It sounds like he is not very interested in paying you back, or he would have started to make a dent towards his debt to you already.

    I agree that maybe you could try to talk to him and tell him you would even appreciate 20 dollars a month. If he is unwilling to work something out, I would just cut my ties with him and end the friendship. I am so sorry this has happened to you, that is A LOT of money to me too and there is no way I could continue a friendship with someone who feels no obligation to try to pay me back.
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  • emarston1emarston1
    5000 Comments Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    I had a old coworker who had to take a roommate to court because he stopped paying his half of the rent.  He was never actually on the lease but since they could establish that he initially paid rent and was living there, he owed her.  They started garnishing his wages until she was paid back in full.

    If you are able to provide any documentation (bank statements, deposit slips, etc.) that shows he did/did not pay, I would think you certainly have a case.

    Personally, 2-3k is A LOT of money for someone to owe me.  I hate when I owe someone $5 so the thought of owing that kind of money and just flat out refusing to pay it back is ridiculous.

    I would send him a certified letter indicating that he owes you X amount for Y expenses (itemize it out completely.)  If you do not receive the payment by Z date, you will be taking legal action.  Maybe even the thought of having to go to court will get him to pay you and you may not even need to involve the court.

    If you can't pay in a lump sum, set up a payment plan and then both of you sign it.  Then make sure he sticks to it.  If he slips once, take him to court.

    ETA:  and if I recall correctly, if the court ends up having to garnish wages, it ends up costing the person MORE money since there's a monthly "we are legally taking your money" fee they have to pay in addition to the amount owed.  So it would be in his best interest to just pay it.
  • larzhopelarzhope
    1000 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    totally agree with Liz.  At least try.  He probably thinks you guys are friendly so there's no way you'd take him to court over this.  A real threat like a certified letter might knock some sense into him. 
  • MMRoberts11MMRoberts11
    5000 Comments Third Anniversary Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    I agree with Liz.

    I was in a similar situation and one of my friends owed me $1500 for basically the same reasons as you.  I started talking to him by email so everything was documented.  I just told him that I really needed the money and could use it for  x, y, and z.  After telling him $5 a month or anything he could give me would help and I'd really appreciate it.  I didn't see anything for a while even after he agreed to it so I told him if I don't get a check soon and every month I'd take him to court for it.  Within 5 months I had every penny.  Sometimes all it takes is the threat of court for people to figure things out.
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  • Sue-n-KevinSue-n-Kevin
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
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    edited December 2011
    Wow, I am so sorry you are going through this. I'm probably twice your age and have never had to deal with it. But I do have the benefit of age & wisdom.

    I agree with Liz & MRoberts. Do whatever you can to document the amount owed. If you have to make a spreadsheet then do it. I know years ago people actually saved bank statement checking account books, I think I just got rid of the ones over 10 years old (LOL). If you can re-trace the debt, do it.

    I would then do the certified letter thing, threatening legal action. I would also (just because it's how I roll, but everyone would probalby not agree) send a cc to his parents. His Dad obviously gave him that money, and they probably know what a sh*t he is, but still, I'd assume you were a pretty important part of his life and they knew you pretty well to be the competent mature one in the relationship.

    I would also press the issue often via email and phone calls.......maybe once a week like a bill collector. My guess is without any signed contracts you have no legal leg to stand on. But you will have the peace of mind that you tried.

    Other than your calls to him, I would not meet him for lunch, chat about anything other than the debt. I would be clear on the fact that you cannot be "friends" while he owes you this money.

    FWIW, when my daughter's dad left our home at my insistence 12 years ago (we were not married), he gave me the whole guilt complex of how the house was in my name (because I had a prior home to sell, he had nothing but debt), he made improvements, cut the grass, blah blah blah. This, in spite of the fact that during the 5 years we were together I GAVE HIM HALF OF MY FEDERAL REFUND EVERY YEAR because I had the home mortgage deduction. So, we tallied up what was left here that he had purchased (a desk, some other stuff), and I wrote him a check. I know it was less than $500. But I did it because I wanted to get this issue behind us so he could be a great dad to our daughter, which he always was.

    Unfortunately in the end, if you do not get any satisfaction,  I think you learned a VERY expensive lesson, and perhaps taught some of the Knotties here as well how important documentation is.

    I also do not consider this to be YOUR mistake. Stop blaming yourself. It's bad enough he owes you money..........

    Good luck.
  • edited December 2011
    I agree with the others saying to send him a certified letter.  Before taking him to court I would make sure you make one last formal attempt, and make sure you have documentation of everything.  For me a couple grand is a lot of money and I can't imagine having someone owe me that kind of money.

    I lived with an ex a couple years ago, and he moved out 3 months into our 13 month lease...leaving me to pay the whole rent amount for the remainder of the time.  Just recently he contacted me because when I moved out of that apartment apparently I forgot to pay the last month of electric that was in his name...so a couple months ago when he moved, he had an issue getting electric in his name at his current place.  I laughed and ignored the e-mail because it was $40 as opposed to the thousands in rent he jipped me out of. 
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  • edited December 2011
    Oh honey... have I learned this lesson. Between a "friend" stealing my credit cards, loaning a few "friends" money here and there, and my ex never paying a days rent or utilities, I am probably out a few grand too. But you and I are so lucky! We have moved on to greener pastures, and hopefully learned from past scammers.

    But... if he has the internet, or two brain cells to rub together, I would let it go. A quick yahoo search leads me to the fact social security is exemptible income, so it cannot be garnished. So all he has to say is all the crap in his apartment is new gf's and he has nothing for you to take if you get the judgement. That is if you can come up with enough proof to win. It is lose- lose. But if you really want to try, I might send the letter and see where the chips fall. It just seems like a jerk like him might use it to get more cash out of mom/dad and buy himself a new big screen or some crap. 

    It took me a long time to realize many people were not just a little shady, but down right bad. If he took $700 his parent gave him for his debt, then chose to spend it on "pot and bubblegum", then he is a bad person. Don't let this scammer have the awesomeness-that-is-you as a friend. He doesn't deserve it.
  • edited December 2011
    Also: MMRoberts made a great point about e-mails as documentation. NO NAME CALLING. If these emails are printed (by you OR HIM) and seen in court, you won't be thought highly of when you call him a shitty person or something negative that the judge can/will read. 

    I learned my lesson about that when I was in sixth grade, through AOL Instant Messaging... I broke up with my first "boyfriend" (ha!) and he printed the conversation to show people the next day at school. It ended up on the floor (he stopped caring) and somehow it wound up in the hands of school counselor who had to have a one-to-one conversation with me. It was awkward. It was even more awkward that he apologized for bringing it to school/not throwing it away because we were young and got over it instantly. Oh middle school...  
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  • matuofmmatuofm
    500 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for all your thoughts and suggestions, guys.  It was nice to know that other people are looking at this from the same perspective I am.  It was also really helpful to hear people say over and over that this is a lot of money.  After the wedding and everything, I feel like my sense of what is "a lot" of money has become a bit skewed, and I had started feeling like I was throwing a bit of a tantrum over what was truly a small amount of money, and that whether it was his responsibility to pay me back or not, it was mean of me not to let the debt slide since since was such a "small" amount of money for us, but so large to him with his limited income.  Thanks for helping me look at this clearly again.  :)
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