General Question

LessNoise's avatar

Ethical question: does he owe for an unused ticket?

Asked by LessNoise (38points) April 22nd, 2009

Here’s a hypothetical case.

Bob and Kitty have been going out for six months. They are both students in their twenties. Kitty began the relationship very aggressively, and she continues to administer it pretty much according to her whim.

Bob has tried to break up with Kitty five or six times because she is so high maintenance. He is a very busy senior with a lot of responsibility, and she has treated his schoolwork as her direct personal adversary and rival. She is not as serious a student as he is, and she is a year behind. But she makes such a scene every time he’s tried to call it off that he has kept agreeing to continue to the end of the school year rather than pay the high emotional price of a breakup.

Kitty has a very rich uncle. We’ll call him Uncle Al. Uncle Al is extremely lavish with his funds and Kitty can pretty much have what she wants from him.

Kitty invited Bob to attend a wedding with her out of the country right after finals and right before his graduation. He did not want to go, but she bullied him into it. Uncle Al is covering all expenses. Bob would never have caved and agreed to go otherwise because neither he nor his parents could afford it. The lure of a trip influenced him, and he thought that going would make Kitty happy enough that she would let him get through the rest of his school year without such a struggle. Soon he began to have second thoughts because her demands did not diminish and because he did not like missing his last chance to see and celebrate with all his friends right before graduation. But under the circumstances he did not back out.

Kitty has continued to make unreasonable demands on his time and attention and added so much to his stress during his final extremely intense weeks of school that he finally snapped and said that he did not think he wanted to go to the wedding after all.

At that point she went ballistic, reamed him out, called him names, etc., told him to leave and never come back and that she never wanted to see him again ever as long as she lived.

He was upset over the scene but basically not all that sad to be off the hook. He had never been in love with her and was never going to be, and she had finally accomplished the feat of breaking it off.

By the next day she was back crying, pleading, and begging him to reconsider, saying “How could you do this to me?” He finally said no, that was enough, and he wanted nothing further to do with her. The trip and everything else was off.

Now she tells him that the ticket paid for by Uncle Al is nonrefundable and nontransferable and that only he (Bob) can use the credit, even though it was bought on Uncle Al’s credit card. (This checks out.) Bob has no use for the ticket credit. He is not going abroad for any other reason, and the airline does not fly where he is going. Kitty demands that Bob compensate Uncle Al for the cost of the ticket, and she has threatened him with consequences if he does not comply.

Question: Does Bob owe Uncle Al the price of a ticket he did not want, could not have afforded, cannot use, and cannot sell?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

27 Answers

_bob's avatar

Yo, I don’t owe nothing, man!

Oh, hypothethical. Sorry.

James_Mal's avatar

I don’t think so. There is no legal documentation stating that Bob needs to pay Uncle Al back. No contract or anything. So a lawsuit is nothing to be too scared of. It was a gift. If he chooses not to use it, then it’s his choice. But no money is owed.

Leave Bob Alone!

hug_of_war's avatar

This story is overly one-sided. I would reserve judgment until I hear her side.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Hypothetical Bob comes off as a pussy and got himself 50% along as far as this has gone. He should pay up and walk away, lesson learned.

Edited: Uh oh, I see the ticket was a gift so scratch what I say about paying up and just break it off.

augustlan's avatar

Whether ‘Bob’ is a pussy or not is irrelevant. The ticket was a gift. The end.

augustlan's avatar

By the way LessNoise, welcome to Fluther. Very clearly written (even if it is a little one-sided).

Fieryspoon's avatar

@James_Mal it’s an ethical question, not a legal one.

I think that you’re off the hook, Bob. Next time you should think it through better though, and not agree to something unless you’re sure that you actually want to go. It sucks for her too to have an extra ticket, especially if she didn’t pay for it herself. It was a gift to you from a third party, and she feels responsible for that. Next time do both of yourselves a favor and not agree to something that you don’t want to do.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I say you cough I mean bobbbbbb doesn’t owe any money for the ticket, but he should really learn how to be a man, and not be “bullied” by some chick, then he wouldn’t have found himself in this situation in the first place.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I would say you owe half. You did agree to go and knew she would be getting the tickets. It is costing her, or Uncle Al rather, money because you called it off so late. You should have called it off sooner. However it was her idea and a gift. I say take responsibility for your part and pay half.

nikipedia's avatar

I agree with @augustlan and @La_chica_gomela.

“Bob” is a freaking idiot and has let himself be bullied by this girl over and over again. Her demands that he pay for this ticket are no different from all of her other nutso demands. Time for “Bob” to start setting some boundaries and get this girl out of his life.

LessNoise's avatar

Thanks, all, for your comments thus far. I have to say that Bob did not know it was going to be nonrefundable and would not have knowingly gotten himself or his parents on the hook for that sum. Also he believes that he has learned his lesson this time.

augustlan's avatar

Good for you, er… Bob.

Judi's avatar

What consequences?

cwilbur's avatar

I’ve seen this situation play out before. Bob needs to stop being so conflict-averse.

Kitty was stupid to assume that he’d be going to the wedding after he’d tried to break up with her multiple times, but Bob was stupid for not just saying, “No, I’m done with this relationship” the first time she refused to break up with him.

Bob is probably going to have to deal with consequences either way.

dynamicduo's avatar

No, Bob doesn’t owe anything, although I do admit that this situation would have been avoided entirely had Bob found his spine and left Kitty for good the first time she was acting crazy.

Let Kitty threaten Bob with consequences. They’re probably empty words, just like most of the other words she says.

However, I would advise gathering money in the case where Kitty’s uncle starts badgering you. I would offer to pay half and nothing more.

LessNoise's avatar

Just reading these comments has been a learning experience (ouch).

Bob was really trying hard to be a nice guy and act like a partner in a relationship, doing the “give” part of give and take, but I guess it was never going to work like that with Kitty. Nikipedia and others were brutal but accurate.

Threatened consequences are reporting to the school ethics committee for action, which even if they do nothing can be disruptive. Also there is all the mental distress of receiving phone calls,tantrums, threatening texts, etc. at finals and final papers and job interviews time, when you have to focus and concentrate. It’s a pretty rough time for Bob.

cwilbur's avatar

Bob should tell Kitty—preferably in a registered or certified letter—that he wants no further contact and if she intends to contact him she should do it in writing. Then he should log all her further attempts at contact, and see about a restraining order or a harassment charge.

Kitty sounds psycho. Bob did well to be rid of her.

galileogirl's avatar

How does someone “try” to break up several times? How does an adult male get “bullied” into going to a wedding instead of his graduation? Bob needs to find some balls or he will be a wuss forever. He owes her nothing. At the most he owes the uncle but the uncle has not made a demand for repayment. Any threats by Kitty are ludicrous. Bob should have nothing to do with her. No phone calls, no calls, nothing.

Judi's avatar

@LessNoise ; If those are the intended consequences, don’t believe for a minute that a vindictive bitch will quit just because of a payoff. She probably intends to make “Bob’s” life hell for the next few months no matter what.

Darwin's avatar

Bob doesn’t owe Kitty for the ticket – she never paid for it. But has Bob talked to Uncle Al? What does Al have to say? If Al needs to be repaid, then perhaps Bob can work out a payment schedule. However, since Al seems to have enough money to pay for tickets for random boyfriends to fly to foreign countries, he probably can afford it if one ticket goes unused.

As to breaking up with Kitty, all I can say is that it’s about time. Stop taking her calls and, if necessary, get a restraining order. Or use that ticket to flee the country.

cak's avatar

Unless we are missing part of the story…which this is very one-sided, then bob doesn’t owe for the ticked. However, bob, should be ashamed of himself for caving and accepting an expensive gift from the rich uncle of the girl he knew he really didn’t like. For that, I almost want to say you should at least pay half. I’m curious, though…what does Uncle Al say about all of this?

Don’t try to break up with someone. Do it. You are just as guilty in the game playing, as she is, by not just ending it.

Now…bob has learned not to accept gifts from annoying girlfriends that he really doesn’t like, bob needs to finish school and move on. Good luck, bob! Congratulations for making it through college.

In the event that Uncle Al is not so happy about all of this and decides to take further action, please tell me you didn’t sign a single thing, right?!?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

If he didn’t want to go from the very beginning, he should have said so. From an ethical standpoint, because he was too afraid to stand up for himself and because Uncle Al paid for the ticket, I believe it would be in Bob’s best moral interest to pay back the whole price of the ticket. If he’s too poor to do that, he should at least pay half – regardless of whether or not Uncle Al even wants the money back. If Bob is too poor to pay Uncle Al back at all (college students are generally poor, it’s understandable), he should find out what Uncle Al’s phone number is so he can call to, at the very least, apologize.

cwilbur's avatar

@galileogirl: I actually saw one relationship where the guy tried and failed to break up with the girl. After delivering the news, he considered himself single; she considered them a couple. He went back to his single ways, which included a lot of casual sex, and she had a lot of screaming hissy fits at her friends because she thought he was cheating on her. Fortunately she came to her senses before she had alienated all her friends.

Her principal objection to the breakup was, in essence, “You can’t break up with me! My mother likes you, and I’ve already planned our wedding!”

No, she was not right in the head. She sounds a lot like Kitty, actually.

LessNoise's avatar

Nothing was signed.

I can’t believe none of you have ever, ever been in a relationship where one person said “I’m not sure this is working out” or “I don’t think the chemistry is right” or “I don’t feel like I’m giving you what you really want from me” and the other said “Oh, PLEEEEZE don’t walk out on me, don’t go, let’s try again. I’m sorry, I’ll try harder, tell me what you want, just don’t go!!!” and cried and hung on and the first person relented. And then the second person turned right around and started acting like a psycho bitch from hell again.

I’m also really not sure it is such a gift when Kitty wants to take a trip and decides that she can’t go alone, and so she asks Bob and he says no, he can’t afford it and doesn’t want to miss out on other events, and she answers the objection by saying money is not a problem—Uncle Al will pay (which she didn’t mention until he said he couldn’t afford it; she actually thought it would be nice if Bob would foot the bill to do her this favor). She wanted Bob and Uncle Al together to provide her with this trip. And when she continued to be impossible to get along with, he didn’t want to be trapped with her for a week in a forgeign country, and she decided that his presence was a prerequisite for her to go. In other words, she was buying his escort service. And so it is his fault that she can’t go (can’t use the other ticket herself) and therefore he owes her money that he said up front he couldn’t afford.

Anyway, the list of lessons learned here is pretty long.

nikipedia's avatar

@LessNoise: I dated someone for 17 months who was desperate, needy, codependent, had substance abuse problems, and I think probably gay and in denial about it.

I tried to break up with him a couple times but my heart wasn’t in it, and I couldn’t stand to put him (or me) through it, so I stuck around. And then I cheated on him. Repeatedly. And then we broke up.

We all make mistakes.

LessNoise's avatar

@nikipedia, thanks. It is not always easy to break up and make it stick, especially if you’re a freaking idiot.

cak's avatar

@LessNoise – Oh, I’m not saying I didn’t ever do a boneheaded thing! Please, don’t take that from my answer. I’m a bit older than you and have learned from a lot of mistakes. I’m 38 and on my second marriage – final marriage! My first marriage….nightmare. I may not have verbalized that it should end, but I thought it, millions of times. Hourly, at some point. I just thought if you marry, you should stay married. I just have the benefit of having already learned that lesson and moved on in life.

I’m also thinking that Kitty, needs to grow up and get a life. Sooner or later, reality will set in and she just won’t know what to do…scary.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to make it sound like I’ve never made a mistake, trust me, I was the queen of poor choices for several years. Now, I’m just pretty matter-of-fact about things, and prefer it that way. It keeps life a little less messy. ;)

It’s a great thing that you didn’t sign anything!

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther