At what point do you finally tell your adult children that enough is enough and you need to learn a little responsibility? When they borrow your good credit and ruin it? When you are finally so stressed out from the constant need and drama that you are afraid to answer the phone because it might be one of them needing needing needing more more more?
Here's the back story.
A few years ago Katie needed some dental work and asked Keith to cosign for dental credit. Against his better judgement he said yes because after all you don't want your kids teeth to fall out, right? She said she needed root canals and other expensive dental work, didn't have insurance, and the only way to be able to get the work done would be on credit and yes, she would pay the bill.
This cosigning was on top of:
1/ Helping her to buy her first car by putting the down payment on his credit card, she was supposed to pay him back with regular monthly payments but checks bounced and she didn't have the money and we all know how that worked out for him.
2/ Giving her $1000.00 when she moved to Las Vegas and wanted to buy a condo and needed a down payment. Said condo purchase fell through and supposedly she got the down payment back but we never saw a dime of it returned to us.
3/ Giving her $1500.00 to put a deposit and first month's rent on an apartment when she came back to California. An apartment that she lived in for about 3 months before moving in with her boyfriend. No money ever returned to us.
4/ Giving her $300.00 to help pay her rent one month after she had a car accident and was short on her rent money because she had to rent a car to get to work and the insurance didn't cover for the whole time she had rented the car for. She gave us a check to pay us back but then the check bounced.
So, not listening to the voices in his head that said 'no, no, don't do this', Keith cosigned for her dental work. We find out later after she shows them off to us that she got veneers on her teeth along with the root canal. Veneers.
She pays the payments on the dental account for a little while, but soon enough we start getting phone calls from the agency that held the credit account saying that her payments haven't been on time, haven't been in the full amount, haven't been sent at all. We call her and she says she is doing her best and it's not her fault things came up and she didn't have the money and it's not her fault, and she will take care of the account. This goes on for quite some time and shows up on Keith's credit report when we were buying the car last year at this time. So we call her again, and she says she will take care of it. But it's not her fault because the IRS attached her wages, she didn't know that she was going to have to pay taxes because enough wasn't taken out of her checks, and it's not her fault!
So, we think that she has been paying this bill all along this year, and she tells us that she sold a car and has sent them $2500.00 and will do her best to get the rest payed off.
We start out the new year with high hopes for a less stressful year, a more prosperous year, a year in which maybe we can stop pinching those pennies quite so hard, a clean slate year with all sorts of possibilities. This lasts for an entire eight days. Eight days into the new year we get a phone call from an asset recovery company that has bought Katie's dental debt and now wants the entire amount paid by the end of the month. The entire amount being over $5000.00, what with all the late fees, penalties, and interest that have been accruing on this account. They do not show any payment of $2500.00 from Katie. Because she didn't send them any payment of $2500.00.
So, I fire off an email to her telling her to call these people TODAY and make arrangements to pay this bill before it becomes a permanent black mark on Keith's credit, not to mention them threatening to take us to court and attach his wages, freeze his credit, and put a lien on the house. She calls them and says she sent them 1900.00 and will try and get the rest of it paid as soon as possible.
Keith and I discuss it and decide that if we pay this off with our credit card we will draw up a legal contract for Katie to sign for monthly payments to us with the stipulation that if she doesn't pay, pays late, gives us a bad check, we will take her to small claims court.
Keith called the agency yesterday and finds that yes a payment has been made, but not for 1900.00 but rather 1100.00 and the balance due is still 3900.00. Okay, so how can we settle this and what amount will you accept to settle it once and for all? He gets them to come down on the amount and settles the account with his credit card, saving what's left of his credit rating, and putting us into debt for dental work that certainly wasn't done on either of our mouths. Not to mention that we don't have nice shiny white veneers on our teeth.
So now that we don't have to worry about credit ratings and being taken to court and having wages attached, Keith calls up Katie to tell her what's going on and is she grateful that he has done this for her? No, not really, but she promises that she can make monthly payments to us in the amount of $150.00 a month for 24 months so that we can pay off this credit card. We are going to send her the contract to sign so that when we do end up taking her to small claims court we've got some documentation. And, yes, I fully expect that she won't pay us and we'll end up having to do just that.
Oh, but none of it is her fault.