Sunday, November 22, 2009

How to Lose Friends and Steal from People

Last year I flew home to be the maid of honor in my best friend's wedding. One big thing I didn't mention when writing about the event was the fact that I actually paid for everything. After the wedding rehearsal the venue told Angie they had not received the money to pay for the venue hire and catering. Supposedly the check was lost in the mail. If they didn't get payment, the wedding would not be allowed to take place the following day. As you can imagine there was a lot of panic, and I innocently (and turns out stupidly) asked if they would take credit card, knowing that no one was going to be able to come up with the money in less than 24 hours. The morning of the wedding we went to the venue and I put everything on my credit card- around $16,000. Angie said she would get into contact with the bank, put a stop payment on the check, and then pay me back. Easy peasy.

They went on their honeymoon, and I flew back to Australia and waited, and waited for the money to appear in my bank account. I got a lot of silence, excuses and empty promises. It became apparent that there was never a check in the first place, so I was told that she would sell half of her coffee shop business to a friend and then use that money to pay me back. In the meantime I received $600, which barely covered the interest for two months. I flew home again last Christmas and she told me to my face that the sale of the shop was finally going to go through in a matter of days and that I would have my money. In January of this year she wrote that the sale was completed and she had deposited $17,000 into my bank account. In February the money still had not appeared and my emails and phone calls were met with silence. Realizing that I would not be seeing any money and to relieve the stress I had been feeling for the past year I proceeded to transfer money from Australia (when the exchange rate was bad) and also cash in my savings in the US (when the stock market was in the tank) to pay off the credit card bill.

I have for the most part let go of everything because I don't want to waste any more energy on this situation. I still don't understand why someone who had been my best friend for 20 years decided to do this to me. I hope that one day I will get my money back, but I'm not holding my breath. I have learned after the fact about other incidents where she had lied to me, and if I had known more about her financial situation I never would have volunteered my credit card. What also irks me is that her first husband did a similar thing to her- opening up credit card accounts without her knowledge and charging them up, leaving her with debt that took years to pay off. For her to do basically the same thing to me is just inexcusable.

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