Friday, April 25, 2008

Pay Whom You Owe

Last week , i received a mail from a legal firm informing me about my unpaid and long overdue credit card balance amounting to almost P17,000 including accumulated interest and surcharges. The letter demands immediate settlement of the obligations and otherwise it said, the firm will be constrained to file necessary complaints against me before the trial courts. The mail coming from a big time law firm was supposed to have brought me to tremble and pressured to pay for something that i have actually benefited from. But sorry to say, i wasnt moved at all. I know they were just bluffing.

But oh please, dont take it against me, i am not running away from my financial obligations, its just so happen that i know how these kind of things work so much so that receiving this kind of letter didnt come as a surprise or a threat or something to have caused me fear or pressure. Its standard procedure for companies who could no longer collect its receivables through its own efforts. They refer their uncollectibles to a law firm who exercise a more credible, persuasive and a little threatening way of recovering its clients' bad debts. As far as my debt is concerned, i still recognize that and i am bound to honor the fact that i needed to settle it.

Honestly, i could have walked away from it especially now that i am going back to Dubai. I could have let them exert all their efforts sending those demand letters to no avail. But i couldnt do that. I wasnt raised by my parents just to profit in expense of others. I have not gone to school and finished my degree just to trade it in for a petty sum. I have no reasons to play it bad with somone who has been good to me since i have been issued my very first credit card in 2002. Swipe anytime with no interest if you pay in due date, who else would have wanted to lose a ready credit? Definitely i am not included.

But why have i defaulted in the first place? It was something unexpected. The source of my obligations was an installment purchase that i have made prior to going to Dubai . When i got back, i have used the money that i have alloted for its monthly amortization to pay some bills and as allowance while i was still looking fro a new job in Manila. When i got one, i became so reluctant because the amount has doubled because of interest and finance charges. Doing that, its guilt feeling that's hunting me down. I feel i was a criminal defrauding my creditors. Then Christmas season came, my plan of settling the bills was completely vanished as i have to take care of more expenses during the holidays.

Several demand letters were sent to me but i unjustifiably chose to ignore. Its guilt ridden but i told myself that ill just wait for the legal demand letter where normally an amicabel settlement id proposed. Last week, i received the letter and just as i have expected, of the total P17,000 outstanding balance, i was only required to pay P8,000 if i would pay immediately. That actually represented the principal balance that i have failed to settle last year. Now that they are giving me back the time and pay with waived interests, i wasted no time and paid.

I could have really walked away with it but i couldnt take that. In my entire life, i have not stolen anything or have taken something that doesnt belong to me or have taken something and not pay for it. There are not so many things that we could keep for ourselves these days. To be a person worthy of trust isnt too much to be asked. To pay what is due from us, particularly financial obligations, is a game of conscience and unless we value trust and the things that others have worked hard for just to lend us something, we wont actually care much about it.

i have also been a creditor, lending money to friends who need it badly, that is of course if i have the means. If i help people financially, i expect to be paid though i dont asked for it. I gave my trust so easily and i expect people to honor it. More often than not, they wouldnt pay me back, but its ok, i dont curse. Money is always replaceable, but trust isnt. I might have lost money when people dont pay me back, but somebody else has lost something greater than that, something that money cant buy. Thats one thing i dont want to happen to me, thats why as much as possible, i pay whoever i owe, be it a sum of money or litttle things i borrow. I could afford to lose all thats in my pocket but not the trust that i could count on whenever i need to fill my empty pocket.


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