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Money moral family issue - what to do?

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Hi All

I had 4 of my wife's family stay with us.

They are from Brazil and don't speak any English. They wanted to go to London so we said, 'that'd be fine' and meet them there from our hometown of Edinburgh. Reason we have to go there is because they don't speak English and have no confidence going to and around new places.

Since they don't speak a word of English, we had to organise everything for them, such as trains for the 6 of us from London to Edinburgh (where we live), the hotel rooms for the stay in London, the airbnb for them in Edi (as not enough space for 6 of us in our flat) the citysightseeing bus to see London, prepaid phone cards so they can actually contact us, the huge amount of Ubers and taxi's, restaurants, the amount of food to make meals for them when we didn't go out etc. The list can go on such as smartwatches which they requested, memory cards not to mention the 3 working days my wife and I took out of our holiday days etc. I'd also like to mention that it was my dad's 70th the day they arrived so I missed that - fortunately his party was delayed until the day after we returned to Edi but that didn't seem to matter.

Said family members are retired and doing well for time and money isn't an issue.

The cost to ourselves was considerable since we put the time, effort and £'s in oursleves on our own debit cards. On the final day they were here, we were given pound sterling in cash which was WAY short of what we had paid for everything, nevermind all the time and effort spent sorting and organizing their trip.

You can imagine I wasn't (and still not) happy! So, should I be really mean and demand my wife tells them how much they actually owe us to the penny, or just leave it? I can't get through everything but I think we're short of about £800.

Since we're trying to save to put a deposit on a house (we're early 30's) and they are all fine for money, I'm not best happy.

Don't get me wrong, I love my wife's family (not just saying that as they're not going to read this lol) so I would be interested to read comment and apologies for the long message.
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Comments

  • rach_k
    rach_k Posts: 2,236 Forumite
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    As you were booking things, did you discuss options with them and tell them the prices as you went through? If not, perhaps they felt railroaded into the options you chose - they might have chosen cheaper options themselves/skipped things, or maybe they simply haven't realised how much was spent. If you didn't give them the totals, you can't expect them to know how much was owed. The time to raise it would have been when they gave you the cash. I think it's too late now.

    If you did give them choices, or at least let them know prices as you booked things, I think it's perfectly okay if you get in touch and say, "Hey, sorry to bring this up but I've just realised that the total for your trip was X and you gave us Y. Could you let us know when it's convenient to pay the rest? We wouldn't ask normally but it's a lot of money to us and we're trying hard to save." (I don't think you need to justify it, but a bit of explanation might smooth it over.)

    What you absolutely should not be doing is demanding that your wife sorts it out. You were involved, you handed over money. If you want something said, you can say it! You could ask her to, but sometimes things like this come better from the in-law.

    Your time and effort isn't something you should be bringing up - you did it because they are family.
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,205 Forumite
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    I think you need to discuss this with your wife first. It's her family, so she probably has a better idea that you what expectations there will have been and how best to address it. It may be, for instance, that they would view some of the expenditure as 'hosting' and would expect to reimburse you - for instance, the AirBnB might fall into this category, as being your providing them with accommodation as your own home isn't big enough, and I could see the sightseeing buses being like that if it was perceived as your showing them around / hosting them for the day.

    Your wife should be able to help you work out whether the problem is that they miscalculated and under paid, or whether there was a mis-match of expectations in which case asking them to pay more is much harder, and it may be a case of bearing it in mind, so that you communicate more clearly, in advance, next time.

    If you and your wife both agree that the expectation you both had was that they would reimburse you fully, and that they understood that, then you would need to approach them to explain, give them the figures and the amount they have provided, and ask for the balance.

    Again, talk to your wife about whether it will be better fro her to speak to them (presumably no language barrier) or for you to do so.

    And either way, next time they visit, plan ahead. Make sure that you are communicating clearly with them about what you are paying for, and what you are arranging on their behalf and at their expense, and make sure that you are clear about costs early enough in the process that they can have an input.

    The time and effort is what you chose to do for your visitors. If you didn't want to do it, you would have been free to tell them what you could and couldn't do - I am sure that that Portuguese language guidebooks are available, many attractions have guides and information in multiple languages etc. It was nice of your to put in the time, but that is part of being a good host.

    Whether you contact them or get your wife to do so is down to the two of you, but discuss it with her first. Does she feel that they were unreasonable, or is there a cultural difference in play here which she is, presumably, more attuned to than you. (in which case, keep it in mind for next time)
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • borkid
    borkid Posts: 2,478 Forumite
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    Did they actually realise how expensive things were? I went to Ecuador 4 years ago and it was very cheap compared to here. Did you say upfront they would need to pay for food etc.

    My usual way when dealing with family ( adult children not parents) is if they ask us out they pay and if we ask them we pay. Did they say we want to visit and do x,y,z will you book it for us? What is the tradition in you wife's family.
  • shapala
    shapala Posts: 618 Forumite
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    rach_k wrote: »
    As you were booking things, did you discuss options with them and tell them the prices as you went through? If not, perhaps they felt railroaded into the options you chose - they might have chosen cheaper options themselves/skipped things, or maybe they simply haven't realised how much was spent. If you didn't give them the totals, you can't expect them to know how much was owed. The time to raise it would have been when they gave you the cash. I think it's too late now.

    If you did give them choices, or at least let them know prices as you booked things, I think it's perfectly okay if you get in touch and say, "Hey, sorry to bring this up but I've just realised that the total for your trip was X and you gave us Y. Could you let us know when it's convenient to pay the rest? We wouldn't ask normally but it's a lot of money to us and we're trying hard to save." (I don't think you need to justify it, but a bit of explanation might smooth it over.)

    What you absolutely should not be doing is demanding that your wife sorts it out. You were involved, you handed over money. If you want something said, you can say it! You could ask her to, but sometimes things like this come better from the in-law.

    Your time and effort isn't something you should be bringing up - you did it because they are family.

    Thank you, and a lovely reply, I must say! :T

    To quickly go through it, yes, they were aware of costs of hotel (ibis so about £80 a night per couple), trains (booked in advance so about £30 pp from London to Edi), airbnb but not things such as taxis, restaurants (lunch and dinner for 6 people for 3 days in London gets expensive, even in cheaper places). We emailed everything to them for the prepaid things by email of what we paid. The rest was done at the time.

    Even cost of my in-laws hotel in London and train to Edi doesn't meet what they've given us, never mind all the rest.

    I was at work when family gave the cash to us so couldn't check until they left.

    They're not deceiving in any way - I just don't think they realise how much everything cost.
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 47,133 Ambassador
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    If /when you do a return trip to Brazil will they show you the same level of hospitality?
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • Fireflyaway
    Fireflyaway Posts: 2,766 Forumite
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    Could it be a partially cultural thing? Many other cultures tend to be a lot more hospitable than us Brits! They may well have thought they were being really generous by giving you any money at all, seeing as they are 'guests' coming to visit.
    I know if my husband's family came over to the UK I wouldn't expect them to pay anything. If they treated us to a nice meal out as a thank you or bought some flowers that would be enough. Providing they hadn't checked into the Ritz or something!
    I wouldn't say anything. It's going to be really awkward for everyone involved and could cause long lasting issues. It's not as though it every month this happens.
  • Marvel1
    Marvel1 Posts: 7,188 Forumite
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    Did you/your wife inform of them anytime how much they were costing before you booked?

    Did you give them a price of your services for bookings?
  • maman
    maman Posts: 28,678 Forumite
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    I'd be interested in your wife's opinion on this.

    Personally I'd let it go. Take the moral high ground. They're unlikely to visit that often. If they do plan to come again then set down ground rules in advance
  • KxMx
    KxMx Posts: 10,620 Forumite
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    Is it possible they gave you all the cash that they had with them?
  • Doodles
    Doodles Posts: 413 Forumite
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    How does your wife feel about it? It sounds like a simple misunderstanding to be honest.

    Might be worth her raising it, but I don't think a major issue should be made of it. Kind of feels like the moment has passed.

    And learn for next time, get them to give you money in advance of you booking for them.
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