How to get my loan back ASAP?
April 27, 2010 2:35 PM   Subscribe

I was not conned, but my friend will not re-pay loan.

Two weeks ago a casual friend came to me in a panic. His mom had just physically collapsed and been taken to the hospital as she was on her way to pay a fee for her business. I already knew that my friend's mom had cancer and that her health was steadily failing.

In order to allow his mom to keep her business running, my friend had until 5:00 pm to bring money on his mom's behalf. He could cover most of the money but also needed a loan in order to be able to pay by 5 pm.

I loaned my friend the money, as I could visually see that he was upset, scared, nervous, and verbally stuttering in hopes that everything would be okay for his mom. He said that he could, without a doubt, pay me back in four days.

That night my friend's mother died and two weeks later he has still not payed. I made the mistake of loaning someone I didn't know very well money that I knew that I would need over the next month to cover my bills. This was two weeks ago and while my bank account is not negative, it will be soon.

I don't know how to get my money. The friend is going out with his friends and getting drunk because he is distraught over his mother's death. While I understand he is under a great amount of duress and pain, I have to pay my bills.

What can I do?
posted by alice_curiouse to Human Relations (69 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Have you spoken to the friend and explained the situation?
posted by sanko at 2:37 PM on April 27, 2010

Speak to him? He has a million things on his mind right now, a gentle reminder after your condolences might do wonders.
posted by stormygrey at 2:43 PM on April 27, 2010

I have spoken to him and cried over the phone. I have begged him, telling him that if I cannot pay my rent I will lose my apartment. He keeps telling me that he is going to get me the money and he keeps not failing due to some circumstance.
posted by alice_curiouse at 2:45 PM on April 27, 2010

I was not conned, but my friend will not re-pay loan.

Sorry to sound harsh but if you loaned someone money and they refuse to repay the loan you have been conned. The situation surrounding the request for the loan is rather irrelevant.

Take the person to small claims court or retain the services of a lawyer if the amount is sufficiently large.
posted by dfriedman at 2:47 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know this is a sensitive, unique situation but you definitely need to contact them and explain to them that you need the loan repaid because now it's causing you to be put in a bad spot. Although they may understandable be preoccupied and have forgotten, if they get defensive or try to make you feel bad for asking for the money back then they're being shady.

I don't know if this helps in the future, but I have my own rule about lending money: I don't. I am not cheap (in fact, I'm pretty darn generous even though I don't really have any income atm), but all my friends know not to ask me for money. If I do choose to give a friend/family money, then I do so as a gift without expecting to be repaid. Ever. But I don't do it very often because the last time I gave some generous gifts to a friend, I sort of got a little po'd when they came into a lot of money and didn't even give me a token gift of appreciation or repayment out of morals. I guess that's my issue and unfair of me to expect from someone, even though it's what I would have done, so I realized that it just isn't a good idea for me.

Anyway, back on topic: just be direct and don't be passive-aggressive (no emails, etc.).
posted by 1000monkeys at 2:49 PM on April 27, 2010

He is not refusing to pay, but three times now he has "had the money" and was on his way to bringing to me, and then I came to later find out "having the money" meant that his cousin told him he could borrow that money and then the cousin changed their mind.

Or he was 100% certain that his HR Manager would loan him the money because they are good friends, but then he could not get the money. Etc, and etc.
posted by alice_curiouse at 2:51 PM on April 27, 2010

Yes, I now know to never loan money to anyone for any reason ever again even if a mob-boss is holding a gun to their head, etc, etc.
posted by alice_curiouse at 2:54 PM on April 27, 2010

listen to alpha desperation march, call him all fired up and ask when you can come and get the money. show up knowing full well he won't have it, bring a letter stating he owes you X amount, loaned on X date, both sign it, then take him to small claims court.
posted by nadawi at 2:55 PM on April 27, 2010 [8 favorites]

He is not refusing to pay, but three times now he has "had the money" and was on his way to bringing to me, and then I came to later find out "having the money" meant that his cousin told him he could borrow that money and then the cousin changed their mind.

He is refusing to pay. He's just not telling you about his refusal.
posted by The World Famous at 2:57 PM on April 27, 2010 [18 favorites]

He is not refusing to pay, but three times now he has "had the money" and was on his way to bringing to me, and then I came to later find out "having the money" meant that his cousin told him he could borrow that money and then the cousin changed their mind.

Legally, that is "refusing to pay".

Go to small claims court. Talk to your landlord, tell him that you have a fixed income or whatever your situation is...ask him if he can accept the rent late...and you can pay additional fees. Get that in writing.

Take it to court...get your money back, plus the extra that your landlord tacked on so that you could keep your apartment.

Your friend is responsible for that since you depended on the repayment to pay your rent.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:58 PM on April 27, 2010

You need money. You have several options, one of which is extracting it from your friend. There may be others - borrowing from a friend/family member? a bank loan? credit card debt? sell blood? etc etc. Relying on your friend is not your only option and it seems like it might fail, in any case.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:00 PM on April 27, 2010

His cousin had the money, his HR Manager had the money... Yeah, I'd hazard a guess that borrowing from you to pay "Mom's fee for her business" was a lie as well.

I would be heading to small claims or getting a lawyer, but that ends the friendship. Is this sketchy "casual friend" worth it? Your call.
posted by futureisunwritten at 3:01 PM on April 27, 2010

dfriedman: if you loaned someone money and they refuse to repay the loan you have been conned

No. If the friend had outright lied or otherwise never planned to repay, that would be a con. This is a bad situation compounded by some bad decision making.

You're likely out the money for the short term, possibly the long term. Accept that, and work from there. Assuming your rent is due at the beginning of the month, you need to put your immediate focus on damage control there. Speak to your landlord, explain the situation as calmly as you can, own up to making a bad call on your part, and make him feel confident that you're working to remedy it as soon as possible.

Now, as far as paying rent, can you rob Peter to pay Paul? In other words, is there someone you know who can float you some cash to cover rent, like your parents? Swallow your pride, they're good for these kind of things.
posted by mkultra at 3:02 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I hate to be cynical about it, but do you know for a fact that his mother actually died? Or was sick?

The reality of it is that you can't force him to give you the money back without going to small claims (even then, you have to collect). To prepare for that, can you get him to agree to repay you in writing (email is a subtle way to do it)?

I would also put most of my energy now towards getting the money you need for your bills elsewhere. Sorry, your kindness should have been repaid as soon as possible.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:17 PM on April 27, 2010

Oh well, I lied to him about the rent. Even if I can't buy groceries or gas money I know enough to pay the rent when it's due.

No, I am not trying to salvage the relationship, just the money. If I have to lie to do it, whatever it takes.

Regarding small claims court, here is the information I have for this person:

First and Last Name (neither are uncommon)
Cell number
Email address
City of work (meaning maybe I could track down his employer because he works in fairly small city)

And no, he was not lying about needing the money for his mother. She really collapsed, went to the hospital and died.
posted by alice_curiouse at 3:19 PM on April 27, 2010

You seem extremely credulous with regard to what this guy is peddling. It's not your problem why he hasn't paid you the money back, it is only your problem that he hasn't. Talk to him in person and get an exact time you can pick up your money. If he doesn't have it at that time, you probably have to choose between taking him to small claims court or blowing off the money as a life lesson.

How much money are we talking? There's a big difference between $200 and $2000.
posted by Justinian at 3:24 PM on April 27, 2010

I'm really sorry but you were conned. It's right here: Two weeks ago a casual friend came to me in a panic. Why on earth would a casual friend come to you when his mother was dying instead of close friends or family members or a loan company or negotiate with the person who actually needed money for this "business" due to unusual and forgiving circumstances?

You can go the small claims court route, or you can just consider this loan a gift (which is often how one should really look at giving money to family or friends in dire circumstances) and look elsewhere for the cash to pay your bills. I'm sorry this happened to you, but crying to this "friend" over the phone is not going to get you anywhere. He's probably laughing at you while spending your money with his real friends over drinks at the bar.
posted by meerkatty at 3:25 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you actually mentioned court to him yet? "I'd hate to do this because it's a hassle for both of us, but I really need the money - and if I don't get it by (date), I absolutely will go to small claims court for this. I am dead serious."

Though I would second nadawi's suggestion too, that you get a letter stating that he owes you this amount. Making things official like this could intimidate him into giving you what you need.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 3:30 PM on April 27, 2010

More than $200, less than $2,000. The amount would quality for small claims court in California, if I knew this person's home address, but I don't.

Regarding being credulous, he called me the night that this mom died. It took him about five minutes to tell me what happened after much stammering and he finally just said, "she's...she's not here." I asked him where he was going, he didn't know. He was driving. I asked him where he was, he wasn't sure.

I told him he could come to my apartment and spend the night on my couch, which he did. He thanked me profusely, and when I came home from work the next evening he had vacuumed my floor, cleaned my dishes and cleaned out my oven.

Anyway, whatever, I don't expect you to believe me that his mom died. I just don't know how to get the money...strategically.
posted by alice_curiouse at 3:31 PM on April 27, 2010

It's okay, you don't have to prove to us, just that it's a different tactic if his mom died than if he's a hard core con artist making the whole thing up, you know? Which is not inconsistent with what you've said so far. Maybe I've just known some crazy hardcore con artists who would totally clean your oven for you, maybe out of a little guilt, maybe to keep you from getting mad, maybe to maintain their image (self- or otherwise).

Anyway, let's just assume he's telling the truth. Tell him you want to send a small gift and ask for his address.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:34 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

(You can even imply that the gift will be valuable, that might help)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:35 PM on April 27, 2010

Yes, I suppose I will try to get him to agree to giving me a date by which he can pay back the amount in full.

I am a bit scared of threatening to file small claims court -- I don't know if I have enough information on him to track him down, as I don't know his address -- just email, cell phone and city of employment.

I know the situation is ridiculous, improbable, unwise, etc. I am just trying to gather together a good strategy.
posted by alice_curiouse at 3:36 PM on April 27, 2010

I agree with whoever said try to get them to admit owing you money in an email (sorry, I can't find that post now for some reason). At least that way you have a written record to back up your verbal agreement to loan him money.

Also, did you have an agreed-upon timeline for him to pay you back? If it was more along the lines of "I'll pay you back when I can" or "I think I can get some money from my cousin" without stating when he'll pay you back, then you might have a problem. He technically still owes you the money but your verbal contract doesn't have an agreed-upon terms of repayment (no meeting of the minds or no explicit timeline, blah blah blah).

Obviously, IANAL and TINLA, and everything I know about (US) laws I learned on Judge Judy and The People's Court :)
posted by 1000monkeys at 3:36 PM on April 27, 2010

He borrowed the money on a Friday, and he said several times "I can pay you back on Tuesday."

If he had no intentions of paying me back, I assume that by now he would have stopped answering my text messages or phone calls, but he always messages me back or calls me back. He has no reason to respond to me otherwise, if he's a con artist then his job is done and he could move on -- but he still calls me ands texts me to make sure I am okay.

He's just got some huge mental block right now. Not thinking clearly. Not doing things clearly.
posted by alice_curiouse at 3:41 PM on April 27, 2010

I've been in a similar situation with an acquaintance, and I told them if they didn't repay the money, I would have to turn it over to a collections agency.

Then I paid some internet service $20 to send a fake threatening letter to her house saying that the loan was going to collections. They were going to send a series of 3 letters, but it only took 1. She immediately cut the excuses and sent me a check. I recommend this approach. People need to know that you are serious, that's all. They think they can lean on you but they know they cannot lean on a collections agency.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:46 PM on April 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Call him every day. Don't let him think that it's okay. Start getting part of the money back if you can.

You were a good person. He is not being a good person. Remind him of that.
posted by Edward L at 3:48 PM on April 27, 2010

Can I send a fake collections letter to an email address?
posted by alice_curiouse at 3:49 PM on April 27, 2010

Look, your best bet seem to be being subtle and strategic about it so that you don't spook him until you're at the point where you have everything you need to sue him successfully. That varies based on a lot of factors but my guess is that you would be in the best position if you had a written admission that he owes you and will pay you back and his address (or whatever you need to file in small claims).

If he really isn't thinking clearly or whatever suing him won't necessarily help, he won't magically be thinking clearly or be able to get the money just because you are suing him, you know? But you might as well lay the foundation for it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:49 PM on April 27, 2010

It's not going to happen. You can have him sign whatever you want, but he's not going to pay you. Either he has the money now and won't pay you, or he doesn't have the money and therefore can't pay you. If it is the first, small claims court may help you force him to pay. If it is the second, he may be 'judgment proof'. Either way, it sounds to me like a lot of fee-payment (filing costs) and wheel spinning.

He's just got some huge mental block right now. Not thinking clearly. Not doing things clearly.

After my daughter died, I moved apartments and was not able to return the containers (some fairly expensive ones) that people lent me when they delivered food during her illness. The courteous return of them didn't happen then, it didn't happen later, it's never going to happen (as I don't have them anymore, or can't identify them.). My humble, don't-know-you-and-don't-know-this-guy opinion is that he's not going to pay you. Some people feel entitled to loans from other. To some people, "loan" and "gift" mean the same thing. It's not going to happen.
posted by bunnycup at 3:50 PM on April 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Okay, well I guess I am going to employ some "strategery" in order to extract his home address and get him to sign a written agreement.

I still think that it will be likely that he will meet me in person if I request ya'll think I should just show up with a written letter and ask for his home address, agree-to-pay-by date and signature?
posted by alice_curiouse at 3:56 PM on April 27, 2010

if I knew this person's home address, but I don't

The problem is it doesn't sound like you completely negotiated terms to this agreement, and now you're trying to add them after the fact. That means this isn't exactly a straight-forward case of theft.

That said, if you can get a license plate the police will usually get you a home address if you ask nicely when filing a formal report/complaint.

Yes, I now know to never loan money to anyone for any reason ever again even if a mob-boss is holding a gun to their head, etc, etc.

You sound like a good person, and I wouldn't let this sour your outlook on helping people, even financially. But only loan what you can afford. Which is to say, pretend that the money, once lent, is gone, and if you get it back, well, that's nice.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:58 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

He meant to pay. He can't. He's also figuring you will forgive him.

I'd get the missing information, fill out your small claims paperwork, stop letting him into your home, and not hold your breath on your ability to collect once you get a judgment against him in small claims courts.

This guy sounds fairly transient, at minimum. Keeping after him and your money is going to be some work, which you may or not want to take on.

One more thought -- do you have any friends in the area who are attorneys? I am wondering if, since you paid the business fee via this guy, whether you have any ability to file a claim against now deceased mom's estate. It would be worth asking a licensed attorney where you live about that possibility.

Good luck. I am sorry this happened, but you are a good person who did a good thing here. Just stay on track.
posted by bearwife at 4:02 PM on April 27, 2010

I recognize that small claims court can/would be a huge PITA. I'm ready. Let's do it. I don't care if it take two years to get the loan back, I feel driven to do it, I am just unsure how to proceed strategically.

Yes, I recognize that loaning someone money you need is bad enough that I deserve repeated "you shouldn't have" and "never do that."

So I guess I should meet him somewhere in public and try to get him to sign an agreement and get his home address. Maybe give him alcohol, he seems to like it. I don't know.
posted by alice_curiouse at 4:03 PM on April 27, 2010

His mom had just physically collapsed and been taken to the hospital as she was on her way to pay a fee for her business.

What happened to the money that the mom had?

The friend is going out with his friends and getting drunk because he is distraught over his mother's death.

This irks me. He has enough money to go out but can't slide a little your way?

If you can't get him to pay the entire amount right now, try talking to him about paying part of it now and the rest later. Although, the later amount may never happen. But at least you'd have something. If you are able to get him to pay that partial amount, draft something up and both of you sign it as to how much more is owed and the agreed upon date of payment.

He may be avoiding paying you because he doesn't have the FULL amount, but perhaps he does have a partial payment. A few years ago my brother-in-law was living with us under the condition that he'd pay us a little rent to off-set costs. We rarely got the agreed upon amount, but I'd see him come into the house with a bunch of new DVDs and books and new clothes. Made me so angry. But what I think was happening was that he didn't have the entire "rent" money so just spent what he did have on stuff he wanted instead of at least giving us a partial payment. I think he felt it was "all or nothing."

See what you can squeeze out of this guy now. If he doesn't have the $500 (or whatever) ask him what he CAN pay now - cuz obviously he's got enough to go out drinkin'. Try to get that amount at least.
posted by Sassyfras at 4:03 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wait a minute. His mom collapsed and he therefore had to pay a fee for his mother. She was physically going to go pay the fee at that moment. Doesn't that mean she would have had the money/check on her? And if not physically on her, in an accessible account so she could write a check (with the checkbook that would still have had to be on her person) upon arrival to the fee place?

Something's not adding up.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 4:08 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yes, I don't understand the details, but instead of giving him the third degree and wasting any "friendly" feelings he might still have toward me, I want to use whatever I can to extract information that I can use to get my money.

So, full legal name, address, pay-by date, signature? Anything else?
posted by alice_curiouse at 4:11 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

if he's a con artist then his job is done

Nay. If he had made himself scarce immediately you would've been quicker to realise you'd been conned, and might have sent somebody to beat him up or some such. As it is he's still got you thinking he's an oven-cleaning pal, and it won't take too many texts to keep you thinking as much until you give up.

I would take internet fraud detective squad's advice for the nonce if you are still convinced of this thief's good intentions and bereavement, and when you run into even a little dodge about getting a home address, accept that there's been a con. Come on, an unreliable cousin? Five minutes of telephone silence = proof that Mom dropped dead? None of this sounds right and all of it reeks of con job. I would run a description of the guy by the local police in case they've heard the story before.

In the meantime I would stop counting on seeing the money again. One of those 'payday loan' places would've been the obvious choice for somebody in that sort of sudden $200-$2000 emergency spot; I imagine you will find he didn't use one because he is not employed outside of a dying mother story.
posted by kmennie at 4:14 PM on April 27, 2010

Pick up a small claim form and figure out what you need to fill it out that you don't have.

And yes, get him to sign off on an acknowledgment of this debt: amount, date, purpose, promised date(s) of repayment, the works.
posted by bearwife at 4:14 PM on April 27, 2010

Who is dealing with her business right now? I would go to them and find out if there really was a fee due and if it was paid. If so, let them know what happened and get friend to back you up. They may give you the money right away. If they have no idea what he's talking about, then you have another problem, and the court may be the only way.

I really recommend that you don't emotionalize this any more than it already is. You're not going to get your money any faster by crying about it (even though it obviously worked for your friend), and it may actually prolong things by making him avoid you at all costs. If this is all on the "up and up" then he should have no issue with getting you in touch with someone at the business or the lawyer that's handling the case now.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:16 PM on April 27, 2010

I can send anyone to beat him up. I don't know where he lives.

And yes, fine, no one believe me. His mother DIDN'T die, and he came to my house to spend the night and we talked and sobbed about our mutual parent's deathes until 2 am in the morning because, even after lending me the money he wanted to make sure that I didn't send someone to come beat him up.

What people will do for art nowadays.
posted by alice_curiouse at 4:16 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't get angry; he'll get angry back and feel entitled to not pay up.
Go see him to pick up the money. It's much harder to refuse legitimate requests in person. Ask for any amount he has, at all. Even a small payment helps him keep debt alive to him. And get the debt in writing.
posted by theora55 at 4:28 PM on April 27, 2010

I believe you, and I have had plenty of experience dealing with people who get other people to give them money and don't repay it.

There are a lot of otherwise normal people who get very angry when personal loans aren't repaid, who then see the borrower as evil and conniving, and who feel that vigilante style justice makes sense. Stay away from that, as The Light Fantastic says. Stay sensible.

I think all of this happened as you think it did. I also think this guy doesn't have the means to repay you . . . he just figured you would help him and his mom, and you did.

A few things:
1. Pick up the small claim forms and see what information you lack. Get it.
2. Draft a complete statement about terms of this loan and get his signature.
3. Talk to someone at mom's business and see if they will voluntarily repay the fee to you. (and, um, if your friend really paid it with the money he got from you.)
4. Fill out the small claims forms.

and you have my other thought about claim against mom's estate above.
posted by bearwife at 4:28 PM on April 27, 2010

I just talked to the friend on the phone. He says that he can pay me when he next gets paid, which is Thursday. I asked him the name of his company and he told me the company and the address. He said that I can show up at work with him in the morning if I want to get the money then.

I suppose that is the best option? Show up at his workplace? It's kind of weird.
posted by alice_curiouse at 4:34 PM on April 27, 2010

It's much harder for someone to blow you off in person. Ask him where he works/lives and if he'll tell you, go there every payday for him and ask him to pay you as much as he can afford to settle the debt.
I've got a friend selling his fixer upper house on contract and that's been the only thing that worked. He hated the thought of doing it (hates confrontation) but now that he's finally getting the money owed, he's all for it.
If that doesn't work, then go the small claims route but I'd try in person first. You still have to collect yourself on a judgment so it can take time.
posted by stray thoughts at 4:38 PM on April 27, 2010

Show up at his workplace? It's kind of weird.

Do you want your money or not? Show up and stand there in front of all of his colleagues until you get it. This seems like a dream scenario according to everything you have written here previously.
posted by meerkatty at 4:49 PM on April 27, 2010 [11 favorites]

Understand this very important point:

An "IOU" is NOT the same thing as a Promise to Pay. I agree, you have no proof in the eyes of the court that this was a loan. You cannot take this guy to quote until you have strategically obtained a letter that designates that this guys promises to pay you X$ by &&/&&/&& Date.

Contracts keep friends.
posted by yoyoceramic at 4:55 PM on April 27, 2010

Things to try: (put in any combination of the info you have)
-You know his city of work, but not his actual employer? Do you know what he does? Something like that might help
-Mutual friends? Maybe somebody else has a little tidbit of info that you do not.
-The hospital might be able to help you if you knew his mother's name (you could claim to be a step sibling of the loanee)
-Do you know any other members of his family? These people might be decent leverage too.
-Definitely a face-to-face meeting would be good, explain the urgency of the situation. You can present two options: 1-If everything is on the up and up, and he still means to pay you, then having him say so in writing will do the trick quite nicely. This way, you can say "I understand you have been through a rough patch here and I am so sorry for your loss. I know it is hard to think about other things right now, but I am now in a really tough spot. If you cannot pay me today, please sign this saying that you do intend to repay your debt to me in short order" (you could even add something about saying that you told your landlord about the situation and they thought you were lying, so you need to prove it to the landlord) if everything is on the up and up, this will happen, if he pauses for even a second, you are getting run around. The second option is to take something for collateral (like a driver's license or something of that sort, an article of good faith) this will also have his address on it. If it is a bigger item, say that you will pick it up at his house (bam, address again).
-If you do meet face-to-face, catch the license plate number on his car. In a serious pinch, you could probably get an address or a summons with that information.
-If you do meet face-to-face, you could have a friend follow him when he leaves. Most people will go to work or home.
-If you gave him the money in the form of a check, you might be able to get information from the bank that cashed it ... "I just noticed that I have a lot of money missing from my account and it looks as if someone may have stolen a check from my checkbook" That kind of conversation can be taken pretty far before you do anything that is definitely illegal (at the end, if you do not get what you are looking for, you can just say "oh, _that_ I remember now, thanks for your help!")
-If you meet in person, and you think he is not legit, you can take his phone and start calling people on it until you get more information... "Uh, I just found this phone in a movie theater, I was curious whose it was... do you know him, do you have an address or home number or something so I can mail it to him?

You can be resourceful!

On another note, scummy people can be so fucking manipulative that it would blow your mind. I have seen all sorts of things go down that just make your head spin. These people capitalize on the trust of others in a way that boggles even the most vivid imagination...

Best of luck, let us know how this works out.
posted by milqman at 5:13 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Fantastic info. Thank you. I'll keep you posted.
posted by alice_curiouse at 5:15 PM on April 27, 2010

Definitely show up. If he doesn't have the cash, go with him to get the cash. Do not accept a check from this guy! Go to the ATM, Bank, Check Cashing place, whatever. Just make sure you're leaving with actual cold hard cash in hand.
posted by stoneweaver at 5:57 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

A note on 'why didn't his mother have the money to pay the fee so he could give it to you?' questions: if it was $1000 or so, it's quite likely the mother had a cheque book or similar to pay the fee with, and her son did not get instant access to her accounts (or her business accounts) upon her death. That doesn't seem shady at all.
posted by jacalata at 5:59 PM on April 27, 2010

I suppose that is the best option? Show up at his workplace? It's kind of weird.

Just do it and end the drama.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:00 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do you want your money or not? Show up and stand there in front of all of his colleagues until you get it. This seems like a dream scenario according to everything you have written here previously.

Seconding meerkatty. You sound desperate to get your money back, so go get it.
posted by echo0720 at 6:22 PM on April 27, 2010

I lent a friend a similar amount under circumstances not too different from what you describe. Weeks and months of moving-target promises and excuses ensued. What finally worked for me was to offer to shave off around 1/5 the amount if he would pay right up. He agreed but still showed up with only half the money the first time, and a little bit short the second. It was so complicated and weird; I wound up having the feeling he was playing a game for psychological gratification on some level, and he needed to come out ahead. Offering him a concession in some way preserved his pride and prevented him from turning me into the enemy, which would have justified his stiffing me totally.

Maybe offer this guy a discount if he pays immediately or offers to sign a note. And if you can help it, don't say you need it by a certain date. Once you are past that date he will think you got the money some other way and he is off the hook. Just say you can't afford to lose the money.
posted by BibiRose at 7:07 PM on April 27, 2010

He invited you to show up at his workplace. Get there early. Take a seat. Do not leave until he pays you. Embarrass him in front of his boss.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:28 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

And forget offering the guy a concession. He guilted you into loaning him money. If he does not pay you back in full there is something wrong with the universe.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:29 PM on April 27, 2010

You lent money - you judged the risk, you made the decision. You are not guaranteed to get it back.

When I lend money to friends, it's only ever money I'm willing to lose. If they don't pay back I will never lend them money again, lesson learned. That's for real friends/family - I don't want to lose either over a bit of cash.

For "friends" who aren't really friends.. just associates, it's a little different - it's a business deal. I judge the risk, the amount, the terms, and again, what happens if I don't get the money back. Generally the answer would be "I'm not comfortable lending that amount, I can't afford to risk it, please don't take it personally.".

You put yourself in this position so you need to take responsibility for it and decide:

Either this is a good friend you want to keep, and you can potentially take a walk on the money, or it's a friendship you are willing to potentially damage to get your money back, because you NEED the money. Pick one, and then act on it accordingly, whether that's lots of chasing, or small claims court, or just forgiving.
posted by TravellingDen at 7:38 PM on April 27, 2010

"Then I paid some internet service $20 to send a fake threatening letter to her house saying that the loan was going to collections. They were going to send a series of 3 letters, but it only took 1. She immediately cut the excuses and sent me a check. I recommend this approach. People need to know that you are serious, that's all. They think they can lean on you but they know they cannot lean on a collections agency."

This is very bad advice. Simulating legal process is a crime in some states (it is in Oregon.) You can always talk to a lawyer and pay them $100 or something to write a letter like this for you, but you absolutely should not send a "fake threatening letter". You can always do small claims court ... if you don't have the guy's address, you can probably buy that info using his cell phone and reverse lookup. Or figure out the other ways to bring someone in to small claims court (pay a process server $50 or $100 to do it for you, for instance.)
posted by Happydaz at 8:20 PM on April 27, 2010

FWIW, I know a lot of people who would say, "if my friend's mom died, I'd buy them as many drinks as they wanted."

(I also have a job in a bar, so... I know a lot of heavy drinkers.)
posted by salvia at 8:43 PM on April 27, 2010

Show up at his workplace? It's kind of weird.

So, you are thinking it would be better to have him bring you the money after he gets off work? No, no, no.

He wants to give you the money there, as soon as he gets it, before he has a chance to pay back someone else he owes money to, or lose it, or spend it. If you want the money, you should go and get it. Presumably he has the sort of workplace where it won't be that weird.

Yes, he shouldn't require you to go out of your way to get the money back. This is true. It is an inconvenience for you. It is offset by the convenience of getting your money, waiting may get you nothing.
posted by yohko at 9:20 PM on April 27, 2010

Um, I just want to point out that getting a judgement in small claims court doesn't guarantee that you'll get your money back. It only proves that the debt is legit. It will still be up to you to collect it. The courts don't do that for you.

A lot of people don't realize that.
posted by patheral at 10:39 PM on April 27, 2010

Bring a friend with you to his work if you can. Not to threaten him, but just for your own personal safety and google the address and company to make sure they are legit before going.
posted by whoaali at 11:16 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you have a promising-if-quirky path to getting the money back and here's hoping it works out, much as going to someone's place of employment when they get paid is... irregular. But irregular and getting paid back beats the daylights out of not getting paid back.

If it doesn't work out, me thinks it's time to be full-go aggressive in whatever form is best.

(I've loaned money to four people. Never say "never," but it's damned hard to imagine that there will be a fifth.

First guy was no problem, paid me back fully on the date we agreed on. Second, third and fourth were not so good. I heard more stories than I could count, but when I had small-claims papers served, raised the prospect of talking to the person's spouse, etc., all three times, the money magically appeared.

I've related all that to any number of people who spoke of problems getting back money they loaned, their getting exasperated and aggressive... and the person paid it real quick.)
posted by ambient2 at 11:47 PM on April 27, 2010

Retaining a lawyer will probably be an arduous and comparatively expensive process.

You really need to think instrumentally: what is the best and most effective (legal) way of scaring (persuading) this shitkicker friend to hand the money over. See this as an incentive issue. You need to make some sort of cogent appeal.

Appealing to his good nature won't work - you have tried that.

Cajoling won't work - you have tried that.

Appealing to rationality, for obvious reasons, won't work.

Here is my advice. You need firstly to get an admission in writing. That forms the foundation. Then send a letter purporting to sic a debt collector on him. People dislike debt collectors; they are aggressive, often bend the law and will hound the hell out of a debtor. Give a clear timeframe. If this elapses and nothing is done, either call up a debt collector or take him to small claims court with a portfolio of all your written correspondence.

In terms of getting an admission in writing, I would suggest sending an email to which your friend can respond, and to which any response would implicitly and clearly acknowledge that your friend has a debt. Eg:

"Dear Simon, I am writing to you about the $750 I loaned you on 1 April 2010. I know you have told me three times on 5 April, 7 April and 8 April that you are currently in a financial bind and you cannot pay me back by 5 April as agreed. I understand this and am willing to give you one more week to pay me back. You have mentioned multiple times that you should be able to provide the money. Please let me know what you plan to do to return the money to me by 5 May. I am willing to negotiate an instalment plan. Or, if you are having real troubles, please let me know what they are so we can try to negotiate a way for the debt to be repaid. I look forward to hearing from you and hope we can salvage our friendship :-)"

It is difficult to respond to this without fairly admitting the debt.

Further, the second last line leaves your friend an 'out' so that he can respond "OH THANKS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION I CAN'T REPAY THE DEBT MY DOG JUST DIED.' You don't care about this; all you care about is that you have a bit of written evidence about the debt. Then 'negotiate' with the friend by giving him one more week. In your second response note that you have kept the first email as evidence for a future small claims case. Note that you have sought legal advice and that a letter of demand is forthcoming from a solicitor (understandably, this tends to scare people).

Then either your friend will relent, or you will know that your friend cannot be easily persuaded, and you sic a collection agency onto him.
posted by kid A at 12:00 AM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

So I met the individual for dinner tonight at a restaurant and had them sign a promissory note in the presence of the restaurant manager, who also signed as a witness.

They filled in the following information:

Date of birth
Driver's license number
License plate number
Social security number
Permanent address at time of contract
Address of residence at time of contract

Can I verify this information anywhere? I am anxious to make sure I got legitimate information.
posted by alice_curiouse at 9:17 PM on April 28, 2010

So...he didn't actually pay you at his workplace on Thursday when he said he would? What happened when you waited there all day and embarrassed him in front of his colleagues as he got his paycheque and had to hand it over to you?
posted by meerkatty at 5:57 AM on April 30, 2010

On Tuesday my boss told me that she wants me in the office on Thursday because we are preparing a project. I tried to get ahold of the lender to find out when I would be able to return to the office if I went to his workplace on Thursday morning, but since I couldn't get a reply, I had no way of telling my boss when I would be able to make it back in. The fact that I don't have a car certainly complicated that issue.

Instead, I drew up a promissory note to the best of my ability and met him Wednesday night at a restaurant for "dinner" and then pulled out the note for him to sign. He filled it out, stating that he would return the money to me by 2 pm yesterday morning. He filled out his driver's license, social security number, car plates, permanent address and mailing address and I used the restaurant manager as a witness, who watched everything and then signed as well.

Yesterday he did not show up by 2 pm. I called his cell phone around 1:30 and he texted back that he was getting his check and would then be on his way. At 3 pm yesterday afternoon I called his workplace and asked to speak to the manager of human resources. She said that the lender has not worked for that company for several weeks.

Afterwards I spent much of yesterday afternoon trying to verify any of the information that he wrote on the promissory note. I can't really verify that any of it is real info -- not with a free service, that I can tell. So I....I don't know. I guess I'm trying to get used to the idea that the money is really gone and that he has no intention of paying me back. That I've been conned.
posted by alice_curiouse at 8:38 AM on April 30, 2010

Yikes, sorry to hear that. It sounds like he was a con artist after all. I guess you learned a very expensive lesson :( Now that you know he lied about his job, paying you back, etc. can you verify that his Mom is even deceased? It sounded like you knew her and her business...perhaps a quick call to confirm and if she is alive, she might be very effective at getting him to pay you back (especially if she IS really sick with cancer but is still alive, what a despicable person!).
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:29 AM on April 30, 2010

I am really sorry to hear that. Looks like your best bet might be small claims court, if you can find it. Now is a good time to get information from your mutual friends (if you have any) and tell your side of the story, before they get his side of the story. Maybe they'll know how to rustle him up.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:35 AM on April 30, 2010

ugh. that sucks. verifying his employment was a good move. as a heads up - if you find yourself in a similar situation ever again - be careful calling someone's job and talking about money owed - it could get you into a lot of trouble.
posted by nadawi at 1:17 PM on April 30, 2010

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