General Question

axlekb's avatar

How do I get someone to pay money they owe me?

Asked by axlekb (58 points ) December 15th, 2009

I had a flatmate who was subletting his room ($550) for the last month of the lease. He ended up collecting from the sublettor but never paying me. I originally had him pay last month’s rent up front, but he convinced me that he would pay me once he got the money from the sublettor. Never happened. He always got his rent to me on time and was otherwise totally friendly.

He is no longer responsive to any means of communication (email, text, voicemail, facebook message)

He left behind a few of his belongings but selling them will nowhere near cover what he owes.

He also just moved across the country, as did I, but to different cities.

How should I pursue getting the money he owes me?

Update: I know he is applying to law schools. Should I threaten writing character references to the schools he told me he’s applying to?

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18 Answers

Response moderated
robmandu's avatar

Ever notice that credit card companies and leasing agencies have you fill out and sign pages and pages of tiny print documentation? That they never accept your business with only a handshake and a smile?

This is why.

Consider the $550 the price of your lesson.

jrpowell's avatar

I was thinking small claims court. But I’m not sure how that would work in different cities. And your travel would probably cost more than the damages.

john65pennington's avatar

If we were back in the 20s, i would suggest a “hit man”. but, since we are not, court is your answer. i only hope you have a signed contract to back up your loan. if not, all you do is ask. if that does not work, i hope you have learned a valuable lesson.

loser's avatar

@mods That was a serious answer. A lot of people solve financial disputes on The People’s Court.

axlekb's avatar

Update: I know he is applying to law schools. Should I threaten writing character references to the schools he told me he’s applying to?

robmandu's avatar

Retribution and blackmail will only make you look bad and could lead to trouble.

jrpowell's avatar

I’m with Rob on that. I would avoid the blackmail.

tinyfaery's avatar

Small claims court is really the only option, but you have to file in the county/city where the agreement occurred.

I think you are assed out. Next time, get it in writing.

axlekb's avatar

Yeah… I guess that is blackmail…crap.

robmandu's avatar

You might consider handing this debt over to a collection agency (a.k.a. bunch of assholes).

You’d only get a fraction of the original money back… but the collection agency would be able to report the delinquency to the three major credit reporting agencies.

For $550 (or fraction thereof), I don’t think it’s worth the effort.

CMaz's avatar

Send me his address. I will take care of it.

kevbo's avatar

I had a friend who absconded on me owing $1,200. I knew from living with her that her mom could push her buttons. I shamed her by writing to her parents about the things I’d done for her over the years and asked them to buy out her debt. I got the money from her a few weeks later.

If you don’t want to let it go, then be a dick about it with the justification that his behavior is what’s driving this problem and your reaction.

@mods, seriously. WTF?

thriftymaid's avatar

Take him to small claims court.

HighShaman's avatar

Consider it a lesson learned If you can’t file a small claims court case ... I TRUSTED my nephew and he took off owing me over $10,000 !

robmandu's avatar

Axiom: never lend money. Only give it away.

Be pleasantly surprised if it ever comes back.

tinyfaery's avatar

@robmandu That’s my motto. Do not lend anything that you want returned.

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