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RE: A question on honor
Greetings from Ellwood!
Xavier has provided us an interesting dilemma to be sure.
%People (not real names) Jon, Tom,and Sarah
%Jon, Tom, and Sarah are shopping at a Star Trek Convention(but this
%could easily be SCAdia) Tom and Sarah are friends, Jon is Sarah's
%guest,but Tom and Jon kinda know each other from a few years back.
%Jon borrows money from Tom to pay for an item.
%Tom finds that he needs the money and Sarah offers to take on Jon's debt
%to Tom so that Tom can get the money he needs.
%Tom is unsure about the arrangemant and offers to pay off Jon's debt if Jon
%proves unable or unwilling to pay back the debt.
%Sarah states that since she knows Jon far better than Tom does, and that
%not be necissary. Sarah also states that that Tom should not worry about it
%and that such a promise will not be necessary.
So,Tom offered to take back Jon's debt from Sarah. Sarah then tells him not
to worry about it. As read, at this point, Sarah has absolved Tom of any
responsibility in the matter, despite his offer.
Now did the offer to take Jon's IOU occur sometime after the original loan,
or was it immediately afterwards? Was Jon present and agree to the new
terms? If it was immediately afterwards and/or Jon was present to agree,
then Tom is definitely in the clear.
%Two weeks later Sarah approaches Tom and asks for her money back
%since Jon has not payed her(and she has not asked Jon for the money).
Oops! Error number one on Sarah's part. She should have made a good
faith effort to collect on Jon's debt to HER (as per the verbal agreement).
%Tom protests that that was not the arrangemant and that she had
%unconitionally assumed the debt.
This is correct based on the previous scenario. At this point, since Sarah
had not approached Jon first, the only thing she could have reasonably
done is asked Tom if his offer to repay Jon's debt to her was still open,
thus allowing Tom to take Jon's original IOU back.
%Sarah states that Tom had essentialy borrowed money from her and
%now is bound to pay her back. When Tom states that that wasn't the
%agreement, and irregardless he will be unable to pay her back for at least
%two weeks, Sarah says that Tom has proven that he has no honor.
Now from the way you've said this, I read that Sarah now claims that her
assumption of Jon's debt from Tom is a loan to Tom. Now there are 2
IOU's floating around? Although Tom correctly states that this is not the
agreement that was made, he does imply that he is willing to take back
Jon's IOU--just not for another two weeks.
Now if Sarah's understanding of the situation is that she loaned Tom
money to cover what he lent to Jon, then she has misinterpreted the
facts as you've presented them.
%The question is:
%Has Tom acted dishonorably?
%Why or why not?
I do not see where Tom has acted dishonorably in the matter. He was
absolved of responsibility at the outset. Even if Tom and Sarah's
agreement was made in private later, Sarah explicitly said not to
worry about it.
Unless this is an accurate firsthand account, I cannot promise you that this
is the right answer to your question, just my interpretation of the facts I
Personally, I do not loan money to friends unless I can afford to lose it.
Not that this is a disparagement of my friends--I'm just making sure I don't
get in a financial bind. Being the cynical yet somewhat softhearted person
I am, I may allow someone to borrow money from me, but not necessarily
expect them to return it.
Hope everthing works out!
- who merely thinks he has honor 8^)