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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 5th Oct 17, 12:43 PM
    • 123Posts
    • 66Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I pay my ex's mum back?
    • #1
    • 5th Oct 17, 12:43 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I pay my ex's mum back? 5th Oct 17 at 12:43 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    I was in a long-term relationship that ended messily and havenít seen my ex since. During the relationship, her mum (whoís pretty well-off) lent me around £1,000 for health-related expenses I couldnít afford. When the relationship ended, I wasnít well or in a good financial position, not least because my ex, who earned double what I did, owed me £300-400 she never gave me back. Nevertheless, I got in contact with her mum to repay the loan, but never heard back. Iím now in a better financial position Ė and healthier - and wonder if I should attempt to get in touch with my ex's mum again so I can pay her back. On the one hand, I feel I should let sleeping dogs lie, on the other, I still feel guilty as her mum was great and was really generous to lend me the money in the first place. Iíd hate to think she has me labelled as a sponging deadbeat.

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

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Page 2
    • crmism
    • By crmism 11th Oct 17, 10:34 AM
    • 108 Posts
    • 64 Thanks
    You were most fortunate to have had such a kind and considerate mother-in-law who helped you out at a time of need. Regardless of her personal wealth it would, from what you say, be a great pity to lose touch with her, and I really think you have answered your own question.

    She could have forgotten all about the money, but it is clearly still on your conscience. Do what's in your heart - keep trying to make contact with her. If she doesn't respond but you know where she lives, write to her with a cheque. She will think all the more of you whether she accepts it or not.
    • elizabethhull
    • By elizabethhull 11th Oct 17, 10:54 AM
    • 220 Posts
    • 1,271 Thanks
    The perceived financial situation of the lender is immaterial;
    in any case her circumstances may have changed dramatically.

    Yes, you should definitely try and contact her again. I agree that some modern bank accounts don't have cheque facilities, but it's a bit like the generational divide between mobiles & landlines. If she has a landline, she can probably bank cheques !

    If someone is kind enough to help out when you need the money, you should always (in my opinion) make every effort to repay them when you can.
    • meknowalot-51
    • By meknowalot-51 11th Oct 17, 10:56 AM
    • 171 Posts
    • 91 Thanks
    Sponging deadbeat?
    Pay her back,thats the only decent thing to do.She helped you out when you needed it and now your in a position to return what you owe.As for your ex owing you money,thats a seperate issue and her mum doesn't need to know,you could move on and put the 3-400 down to experiance and write it off.There's a good chance her mum could have done exactly that with you and the 1000.I suggest you take a friend with you to go and see her mum and give her the money.Explain briefly your financial situation and you hadn't forgoten the loan,be nice,polite and move on.She sounds like a nice woman who deserves to be treated with some respect.
    • Hol55
    • By Hol55 11th Oct 17, 11:33 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    Morally, it's pretty easy to say you should at least try. If you can't get hold of her or she ignores you then you've done what you could. You can't control what she does or doesn't think of you, so put that from your mind.

    Legally, it doesn't say whether the contract was written or verbal. If you don't pay it back and she eventually decided to go the legal route, she'd have a difficult time enforcing a verbal loan agreement unless you were honest and copped to there being one. (Of course I'd hope you would, it's the right thing to do). If it's in writing and there were clauses relating to the event of non-payment etc, you might find yourself getting stung for unnecessary interest or damages.

    I would send her a recorded letter reminding her that the loan is outstanding and requesting her details for repayment. All the better if you can offer the entire sum upfront, but if not then set out a reasonable payment schedule. Do your best to ensure you have the most up to date address you can get for her. If she comes back to you then great, it'll be all sorted. If she doesn't but then later pursues you for the money you'll have evidence that you tried to reach her.
    • lilia_fellini
    • By lilia_fellini 11th Oct 17, 11:39 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Yes you should
    The loan (interest free, I imagine) was between your ex's mom and you. Your ex was not involved in this agreement, so your break up should no be affecting whether you should repay or not.
    It was kind of her to help and it was kind of her not to demand the money back when you were unwell and in no position to pay.
    Whether she is well off or not should have no bearing on your repayments either.
    I would contact her and set up a standing order you are comfortable with until you repay the money.
    Chances though, she will not want that money back if you are lucky, however, it's her decision to make.
    Last edited by lilia_fellini; 11-10-2017 at 11:45 AM.
    • REJP
    • By REJP 11th Oct 17, 12:00 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    ExíMum and debt.
    What is the problem? You owe it, so send her a cheque. Simple.
    • zx81
    • By zx81 11th Oct 17, 12:08 PM
    • 17,284 Posts
    • 18,396 Thanks
    Ask her to produce a credit agreement.

    If she can't, tell her it's unenforceable and then make a mis selling complaint and demand compensation.

    She may also have sold you PPI so chuck that in there too.
    • gloriouslyhappy
    • By gloriouslyhappy 11th Oct 17, 3:16 PM
    • 372 Posts
    • 741 Thanks
    It's good that you made a previous effort to repay this kind person who generously lent you money when you were in need - now make another effort and then you can move on with a clear conscience. As Philfuller posted, send a recorded letter asking for details of how to repay the loan, and state in the letter that if you haven't heard back within a specified reasonable time period you will donate this sum to charity. Then if the letter is delivered properly but you don't get an answer, make the donation and send a second recorded letter with the details of the donation.

    The fact the ex owes you money is irrelevant in terms of this loan.
    • gloriouslyhappy
    • By gloriouslyhappy 11th Oct 17, 3:21 PM
    • 372 Posts
    • 741 Thanks
    Even considering welching on your debt suggests you already are!
    Originally posted by roubiliac
    There's no question of 'welshing on the debt', the poster already made an attempt to repay it. Read the post again - what's wanted is advice on whether or not to try again given that the lender did not respond to the borrower's first attempt at repayment.
    • astroL
    • By astroL 11th Oct 17, 4:26 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    You borrowed the money, you must pay it back. Do the decent thing.

    • newwiseman
    • By newwiseman 11th Oct 17, 5:59 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Unquestionably Yes
    If someone lent you money in good faith, unless they specifically are saying they don't want it back, their personal circumstances or wealth is irrelevant. If you are even thinking about not paying it back that amounts to considering theft by deception.
    • Laundrylily
    • By Laundrylily 12th Oct 17, 9:58 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Pay it back. Simples!
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 12th Oct 17, 12:20 PM
    • 699 Posts
    • 589 Thanks
    The dilemma doesn't say how long ago this was.

    Do you still have the correct address for your ex's mum?

    Have you got her phone number?

    Try phoning first and talking to her about it.

    If you cannot ring then write giving her your phone number and explain that you'd like to pay this back and explain why.

    Hopefully you will hear back but if you don't, then don't lose any sleep over it as you've done all you can.

    If you still feel bad, then give the money to the WRAS - it's a charity that helps wildlife and rescues them and gives them vet treatment if needed and nurses them back to health and releases them if possible, back into the wild - usually where they were found, unless it is unsafe to do so, then nearby!
    • Lwsi
    • By Lwsi 14th Oct 17, 8:11 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    The correct term is 'reneging '. In the 21st century, words that are derogatory to anyone of any race, belief or sexual orientation are unacceptable, especially on a public forum.
    • ThePants999
    • By ThePants999 14th Oct 17, 9:57 PM
    • 1,166 Posts
    • 1,434 Thanks
    I guess I'm a bit more mercenary than most? I'd repay the amount minus what the ex owed, and tell the mother to collect the rest from the ex. Or I'd tell the mum that I'd repay, after getting repaid by the ex, and enlist her help in making that happen. Pragmatically, those are the only ways everyone's getting repaid - the ex's debt will never be repaid if the mum's is paid off first.
    • ladymay
    • By ladymay 15th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    • 919 Posts
    • 3,944 Thanks
    You know what you should do...
    I was in a similar situation years ago - my ex's parent lent me several thousand pounds for schooling and helping us get set up in a house. When we broke up I made an agreement with his parents to pay back every penny I owed them (minus his half of the housing money).

    Nothing was written down, and I think in all honesty they may have just written it off as a bad experience. But if you're in a position to make this right, you need to do the right thing. It's as much for your own peace of mind as anything else.
    Moved back to the UK 05/01/18
    New Job and New Business
    2018 Aim - Save £10k
    • About-time
    • By About-time 15th Oct 17, 7:12 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    I have been in a similar position to you, and have had a similar dilemma.

    Five years ago, I split up with my ex. I had about £3600 in an ISA that my father-in-law had transferred to me to pay for planned home improvements that never took place.

    With the best will in the world, the end of the relationship was sudden and came when I was not financially ready, and unfortunately the money was spent on moving expenses, buying furniture etc etc - it was a bad time for me.

    He didn't hassle me for the money, but a short while later, politely enquired about getting it back. I did consider the moral and legal implications, and although the money had been given to me, and had in fact been sat in my ISA for years before being spent (so I don't know if legally he could have touched me as we did nothing official?), the moral side of it was nagging at me, so I set up a monthly standing order to pay him back.

    The standing order is still running, but the end is in sight. When it is finally finished, I am sure I will feel better for having paid my dues, and that a door will have been closed in as positive a way as possible. Regardless of my grievances with my ex, I have no beef with her father, who was always good to me. I would think the OP is in a similar position.
    • smala01
    • By smala01 17th Oct 17, 12:46 AM
    • 152 Posts
    • 102 Thanks
    Its an incredibly small world, and it never ceases to amaze me how paths cross. Many people consider NOT replaying owed money as very, very low and word does get around.

    Morally there is no question that money should be returned. Find a way.
    • Ebenezer_Screwj
    • By Ebenezer_Screwj 19th Oct 17, 8:48 AM
    • 409 Posts
    • 226 Thanks
    I am wondering why she's not chasing you for this debt? Send her a cheque and it's up to her whether or not she presents it for payment.
    • JayD
    • By JayD 11th Nov 17, 5:59 PM
    • 506 Posts
    • 322 Thanks
    Why do you need to contact her and ask her?
    Why don't you just send her a cheque for the amount you owe with a covering thank you letter?

    If she doesn't want it, she wont cash it.

    Contacting her to 'ask' just puts her in the position of having to communicate with you - which might be something she has promised her daughter never to do.

    Just pay up!
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