Friends and Money

Well, it’s almost midnight and I’m still not tired (so much for going to bed at ten) so I’m going to bitch about why doing anything money related with friends is a bad idea. Right now I think I’m owed almost $1000 from various people with no payment date in sight. About half of this was from some friends (once removed) who came out almost a year ago. They had a maxed out credit card or something so I agreed to put my credit card in for their car rental, with the understanding and explicit promise from them that they’d pay in cash (which they had) when it came time to pay and not let them actually charge my card. Anyway, go figure, the rent-a-car place did (apparently) just charge my card. Not a huge deal, they sent me a check.

Which bounced.

As did the replacement for that.

In amidst this (long before the bouncing though), I sold my old laptop to them as well as a note-taking system. It’s still a perfectly capable system if you don’t really use it for much, and it seemed that it would fit the bill. Anyway, when it was sent over to them checks for it and the credit card bill were sent back, which started the bouncing mentioned above.

So being a friendly and generally non-confrontational guy I sent them a couple of notes asking what was going on, “hey the replacement check bounced as well”, “when can I cash this one?” type messages, and a couple of voice mails interspersed over a couple of months. Not every day like some sort of stalker.

Nothing back for many months, and then I finally sent a note almost a month ago now basically saying “hey, long time no talk, how you doing, and by the way, what about that money you owe me.” A reply actually came back saying that they were sorry, embarrassed, every intention of paying you back, can we do it in smaller chunks please, don’t hate me, etc.

I wrote back saying not a big deal, smaller chunks are fine, great to hear all is ok, and so on, because I was genuinely concerned that they were doing ok money-wise and didn’t want to try to get oil from a stone, or whatever you do when people have no money. I’m doing ok here, so it’s not like the money is a huge deal, but on the other hand, it’s money that’s owed me fair and square, and the $450 or so could be well put to use for toys, a trip, or just adding to savings or a house downpayment or something. I could even excuse the part of that that’s for the laptop, it was an old system and I’ve given away/lent forever systems that are of higher power than that before. However, having to pay for someone elses car rental is not cool.

So the reply I sent saying smaller chunks is fine was almost a month ago with no reply in sight. I emailed another gentle reminder tonight though, just in case.

The other half is to in-laws, so I’m not going to get into that.

So I’ve been wondering what, if any, my options are. This isn’t the states so I’m not going to start suing anyone (there’s only a verbal agreement anyway), and I don’t know anyone in the area who would break kneecaps for me, and these people are my friends (though once removed). I guess I just have to continue waiting for them to get paid, or to scrape together a few bucks from a paycheck to put in the mail 🙁

Anyway, been meaning to write about that for a while, finally got it off my chest so now I can go to bed.

(Next morning putting down things I thought of while lying in bed). Normally money and friends (in small doses) work out just fine. I’m sure I have people who I owe money and those who owe me money, but the thing is, generally those are debts that can be rectified by buying someone dinner or a movie, and it all works out in the end.

5 Comments on “Friends and Money”

  1. You say they are once removed friends. Have you talked to the common friends, perhaps asking if the removed friends are okay since you haven’t heard from them lately and since they owe you a bit of money.
    Like the others have said, loaning $$ to friends is generally a bad situation, but then again it’d be a pretty shitty friend to stiff you on the $$ owed.

  2. Kirsten and I were talking about this topic a few nights ago… her philosophy on it is to only lend money you know you’ll never get back.
    You can take them to small claims court, but a) you have to do it in their home town, and b) if you’re not getting the money now, willingly, you’re not going to get it from them unwillingly either.
    Beyond that, just a constant reminder is all you can do. But be wary… stuff like this can ruin friendships (as you’re likely quickly learning).

  3. Luckily they’re once removed friends so we’re not hugely close anyway. Ah well, gave me something to do while waiting for mr sandman to take me away..

  4. The whole lending money to friends thing is ok. So long as you are willing to part with the money, rather than the friendship…
    I’m in business with several friends, and to be honest, keeping everything straight and square while getting paid on time, AND keeping the friendship alive, is tough. It boils down to this: communicate. A lot. Especially about expectations. After that it’s just a matter of “follow through”
    This $0.02 can be refunded upon request. 🙂

  5. Well if they can’t be professional and say what’s going on, then it’s not much of a friendship/relationship…