Need advice about a loan gone wrong

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2002
Need advice about a loan gone wrong
Fri, 06-27-2003 - 4:47am
A few years ago, I left home to attend university and my favourite uncle offered me a loan of $800 to help out. He said I could repay him whenever I came back to visit, so I accepted. A year later I offered to repay him and he said "Don't worry about it". So I left it at that. Note: I didn't approach my uncle for money out of the blue. He offered me the loan, I said I'd think about it and a few months later I accepted.

Now, 2 years later, my mum's told me he's been complaining to her and other relatives that I didn't repay him. Apparently he and his wife have been making snide remarks that I must be involved in something bad (ie: prostitution) because I needed the money. I'm upset he told her about the loan because he promised me he wouldn't. The reason I went to him for a loan and not my parents was because at the time, my parents always told me I owed them big time for being a financial burden - while forbidding me to get a part-time job! (They don't dare do this now). If I'd asked my parents for a loan, they would've initially said it was a gift, then used it as "proof" that I was incapable of living independently. I felt if I borrowed from my uncle, I would need to repay the loan and thus not owe him.

I want to speak to my uncle directly about what he's allegedly said about me, but that's where it gets messy. Mum wanted me to bring up the loan at family dinner in front of everyone - she thought witnesses would be a good idea to shut my uncle's wife up. But I refused because it was crass and should be between me and him only. She got angry,then phoned my uncle to clarify the money was a gift. Later she came to my house in tears and claimed HE got angry and shouted "It's a gift alright! Don't worry about it!" and he slammed down the phone. They're brother and sister and things haven't been good between them since then.

So what should I do? Should I pay him back regardless? I hate people who only help others so they can say "You owe me something for what I've done for you". If this is my uncle's tack, I'll pay him back ASAP. OTOH I figure if my uncle had misgivings about the loan, he would've spoken to me directly. I don't know if my mum's version of events is completely true, but if I ask my uncle about it I risk making a bad situation worse.

ps: My uncle has 2 teenage boys and I'm seriously considering giving the money to them!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 06-27-2003 - 10:28am
Id just pay him back. I had an aunt that helped me in the same way. Only i owed her $1200 for some reason my financial aid was short one year. Anyway she said dont worry about it when i went to pay her back. Then she became a drama queen and claimed i never paid her the money she loaned me. Finally i said "look i appreciate the loan. Next time dont say "dont worry about it" if you really want the money back," and gave her the money. All the while she is going on and on with "you really dont have to". I guess is that your uncle, like my aunt wanted everyone to know what a good deed they did. Whether its a gift or loan is anyones guess. So i say pay him back and move on and dont borrow from him again.
Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 06-27-2003 - 10:37pm
Give the money back to your uncle, not your cousins, if you want. Whether it's a gift or a loan, (he specified it as a GIFT) I'd just forget about it. But then again, you mentioned: you went to him for a loan. So, in that case, just pay him. So, explain to us again: was the money a loan or a gift?

I read your posts again: to make you feel better, just pay him the money and a note saying: "thank you for lending me the money when I needed it". END OF STORY.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2002
Sat, 06-28-2003 - 9:52am
Thank you both for your input. I will repay him but unfortunately leslie this isn't the end of story, as you say. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're trying to understand what the problem is rather than be dismissive of what you feel is a "pay him and get over it already" no-brainer. This was my initial impression of your post, pls. correct me if I'm wrong.

It's the fact that my uncle, who's never let me down, suddenly broke his promise to keep the loan a secret. It's completely out of character. We've always been close. He knows my family situation and has always been supportive. He knows certain relatives love gossip and to blow things out of proportion, which is why he agreed to keep the loan a secret. I'm stunned that he'd suddenly tell my mother about it. Perhaps I'll get to hear his side of the story when I see him next, maybe I won't. Once again, thanks for you both for your comments but I'm done with this thread.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 5:47pm
I think you are being overly sensitive about this. I found nothing dismissive about the advice you have been given. It was just factual and without any "flowers and champagne".

Most of us know about lending/borrowing money from relatives and, many times unfortunatly, it goes awry. Apparently, when some people lend money, they get a power trip from it. They think, I hope it is subconcious, that they have "one up" on you and are better and that they are your "guardian" because you owe them. This sometimes leads to poor behaviour on their part. The only real solution is to pay them back ASAP and don't ever borrow again.

Short story:

I had to borrow money from my aunt and she told me "If you can't pay it back, don't worry about it". Well, I was getting (not there by a longshot) back up to snuff, then she keeps harping on my DAD (who has troubles of his own so I didn't ask him) for the money back!!!! What did I do? Well, my dad gave me the money so I could get my aunt off of his back and now I owe him. Will I ever borrow again from that aunt? Not if I was again wondering how I would pay the rent (which I was). Am I mad? You betcha. What am I going to do about it? Nothing. The relationship between my aunt and me has been forever injured. Should I ever be in a room with her again and she says anything, then perhaps, but I have no plans to see her again.

OK, not so short story :)

Anyway, the only good answer here is to pay him back as soon as you can. Then you don't owe him anymore. End of story. I hope you come back to read this!

Ejkdmom Come visit my store:
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:41pm
If I were you, I would pay him back ASAP. If you cannot pay back the full amount right now, pay what you can and include a promissory note for the remaining amount. Treat it like a business deal- take all of the family emotions out of it. If he says something like "I told you not to worry about it" when you try to pay him back, insist that he take it or have him write a letter forgiving the debt so that there is no confusion down the line. As far as him breaking your trust by telling your parents, all you can do is let it go and remember not to confide in him again. The damage has already been done, and anything you say at this point is only going to make matters worse. You said that your family was gossipy, so it will all fall back on you if you keep bringing it up- they are already making you out to be the bad guy. By paying him back (or making a businesslike arrangement to pay him back), he will not have anything to hold over your head. You have seen his true colors- just learn from it and don't make the same mistake again.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2003
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 12:53am
Send your uncle a check and if he cashes it fine and if he doesn't fine. As for the family fued, someone else will do something or say something and all the heat will go from you to them. I know it's not something that you can just ignore but unless you confront your uncle (privately) there's probably not much else you can do. If someone else in the family asks you about it just tell them you tried to pay it back before. Sorry my "advice" is pretty lame.