(to preface – this is long and potentially not all that thrilling, but I hope y’all read it anyway. if not, that’s ok, i feel a little better just writing this out)
So I guess the first place to start with this is just about 1 year ago. One of my roommates (there’s 4 of us altogether) and I had a billing dispute regarding our phone service. Basically, the two of us shared one line, which was in his name. Last February, we lost phone service due to non-payment. We each paid half of the necessary fees to have service restored, and roomie agreed to keep a better handle on the bills.
The next month, he asked for another payment, which I provided. Then, about a week later, he asked for some more money for the phone bill. This didn’t make sense to me, so I said that I would like to see some detail of what costs were incurred, what payments have been made, etc (up to this point, I had just gone by his word). I stressed that I didn’t mind paying what I owed, but that I just wanted to take a look at everything and make sure that neither of us was making an error somewhere along the way. Roomie agreed that he would look into this and get everything sorted out.
Well, long story short, roomie did neither of these things. We lost phone service twice more over the next few months – finally in October, I could take it no longer. I got my own phone line, and asked the roomie once more to look into the (now old) billing and get the documentation so that it could be settled one way or the other. Roomie did not follow through.
Meanwhile, during all of this, the electricity bill was in my name. I had kept our service running non-stop, despite a stunning variety of financial setbacks, and had received payments from the other roommates, but not from this one. When January arrived and I had still not received any reimbursement, I decided to bring up the issue. My proposal was designed to be simple and beneficial to everyone – I figured we could call everything before October a wash, and all he would owe me was his portion of the electricity bill from October thru January. Basically, that means he would have gotten a year of electricity for $50. Sounds like too good a deal to pass up, right?
Me roommate apparently disagreed – he once more brought up the old phone bills, that were now approaching 1 year old. He showed info reflecting the charges he said that I owed, but did not reflect the payments that I had made. My response was once again that he needed to provide full documentation – charges, payments, everything – if he wished to continue his assertion that I owed him money. He once again agreed to get all of the info.
So a week went by and I didn’t hear anything more about it. I placed my own call to the phone company and requested the documents in question – took about 20 seconds, and the bills would arrive in 5 business days. I went to my roommate and asked him about the bills. He blew up at me, saying that I was “badgering him”. The whole thing degenerated into a shouting match, which I’m not necessarily proud of, but not really willing to shoulder too much of the blame for either.
The following week, my copies of the bills arrived. In looking through them all, it became clear that the amount he owed me was closer to $200 than $50 (please note – all figures have been changed to nice round numbers, just to make them, well, nice round numbers).
This brings me to today. Now I have a choice to make. Roomie is currently refusing to discuss the bills or talk to me in general. However, all of the documentation pretty clearly supports my position. Tomorrow I will present him with all of the information and tell him that since he rejected my offer of settlement for $50, my new offer will be settlement for $200. There will be a deadline, after which the matter will go to court. If I go to court, I will ask for the $200, plus court costs, plus wages that I lost due to court time. All told, my guess is that it might cost him as much as $500.
So now I find myself really fearing this next discussion – my main concern is that he will not be willing to pay the $200, despite the fact that every piece of info that we have shows that he owes it. I will be forced to take him to court. While I admit there is always room for a surprise or two in any situation, I’m pretty confident that I would win this case. I’m also pretty sure that he cannot afford to pay anyone $500 at the moment. I’m damn sure that I cannot afford to simply write off the $200.
I really don’t like the thought of screwing people over, but just how accomodating am I supposed to be for this fool? Why did he make it so difficult to get this sorted out? Why wouldn’t he just pay the $50 – why does he have to be so stubborn? Why the hell do I even feel bad about this? Am I in the wrong here somehow but just not seeing it?
Anyhoo, thanks for reading