Friday, January 29, 2010

The check's not in the mail

I’ve always hated asking people for money they owe me.  I hate even more asking for a second time.  But I find myself in a deja vu situation.

We are renting a vacation home this summer with two other couples.  It actually belongs to a friend of mine, so I made the arrangements and paid the deposit.  Then I sent the following message to the two couples:

Dear #1, #2 -- I just signed the lease and sent a deposit of $1250.  Please send/give me a check for 1/3 of that amount.  I'm looking to a great reunion of our group next summer in our favorite house!

Friendly enough.  No pressure.  The next day #1 handed me a check for $416.67.  I have yet to hear from #2.  That was December 4.

I would chalk this up to the Christmas holidays or preoccupation with something else in life.  But the exact same thing happened the last time I was the person in charge.  I didn’t get paid until May when we had to cough up the rest of the rental amount.

This is not a couple who have to worry about money, so I’m searching for an explanation.  I’m wondering if their lack of attention to paying me is conscious or unconscious.  I’m wondering if they stretch out all debts as far as they possibly can before settling up.  I’m feeling slightly annoyed that I may need to send a second message if I want to get paid before May this year.

What’s your take on debt collection from people you know?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I follow up with them. Period. I feel annoyed on your behalf that the other couple is repeating their faux pas! Of course, is there the possibility they didn't get the original message? In your shoes, I'd contact them again either way...

But I'm self-employed with very little margin for floating other people's debts. Every month I find myself in the distasteful position of reminding people to pay me according to the terms of my business policy they've signed on to but conveniently forget when it suits them. Generally speaking, I've found that the folks with more money are less likely to pay up as agreed. Let me know if you'd like me to come over and be your debt collector! :-)


12:47 PM  
Blogger Rayna said...

If they are local, I would announce that I'm coming over to pick up the check and ask whether Tuesday morning or Thursday afternoon would be better. And I wouldn't share a house with them again - or if I did, I would have them give the deposit up front and you owe THEM the money.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It depends on the situation. They clearly owed you for this one and they should pay. I'd send a reminder... Actually, no. I wouldn't. I'd suck it up, pay for it myself and complain because that's what I do.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I think this one is going to be resolved soon. I realized I will be seeing this person at an event tomorrow night, so I suggested she bring along a check to cover her share of the deposit. She said she would and added that she had been out of the country for 3 weeks, which was sort of a flimsy excuse, given it's been at least 6 weeks. Obviously not everyone is as Type-A as I am on this topic.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

One thing I've learned from working with various construction types and parents of students in the past it that the people who are slow to pay will often blame their lack of payment on your lack of follow through. That's just what they do. If you don't bug them they won't pay, because you must not have needed the money right away since you didn't say "anything" to them about it.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Dear #2,

I'm sorry we won't be seeing you at our favorite rental house this summer. We've asked so-and-so in your place as we didn't receive your deposit and so assumed you weren't interested.


Then I'd find another couple with the money and a willingness to pay and enjoy their company. (Which may explain why I don't get invited to summer houses often ;)

8:25 AM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

I haven't had to cross that bridge, so I have no advice to offer.

9:32 AM  
Blogger lacochran said...

I'm glad it will resolve soon. They say the number one thing couples fight about is money--because different people have different spending/saving styles. I chalk this up to a different style. It's no big deal to her so she assumes it's not big deal to you. Which is wrong, wrong, wrong. I'd be inclined not to be the organizer next year, if it were me. Alternately, I might put a deadline on future organizing messages: Please send your check by [insert date] so I know you are interested. Then, expectations are clear. If you don't get it by that date you can assume they're not interested.

9:26 AM  

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