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What do I do now?(6 Posts)
I am in a very difficult situation right now, and would love to get your input on what to do/how to handle it.
Late 2011 and well into 2012, we worked hard at fundraising and saving to put together money for equipment for Bee that was not covered through any benefit we were entitled to for her. Specifically, we were working towards getting her an adaptive bike, a cooling vest, a supportive task chair, and most importantly, a bed.
We raised enough money to purchase the chair and bike late in the spring, and got the cooling vest at about the same time. We continued to save/work/fundraise toward the bed, and had assembled the funds by the beginning of the summer.
Knowing that the funds were earmarked specifically for the bed, and that because of Bee's unpredictability (we can be here today, and with a medical crisis, 200 km away tomorrow) and the associated costs, I put the money in safekeeping with a friend who had been helping along the way so that we would not use it to cover other expenses.
I'll bet you can guess what happened next...
The bed was ordered, it arrived and was delivered, all other sources of funding (we had had some charities pitch in bits toward it) were billed - the idea that we would pay the last portion after the rest was accounted for. Now, the "friend" can not be found. She is not responding to calls, texts, emails, FB messages... from either me or the vendor. I spoke to her sister today, who said as far as she knew, the friend was healthy and all was well, but apparently, both the individual and our funds are gone.
I know that I can pursue her legally (and even criminally, as what she has done is theft) but the more pressing matter is the $$ for the bed. The vendor is pushing us for the money (of course - I can't expect her to swallow a loss because of this) but DH has been out of work since the middle of Oct and with Bee's change in medical status, costs are going to change (increase) for us as well.
What would you do? Would you try and negotiate with the vendor, and pay in installments, hoping the money will eventually be returned? Would you apologize to those who donated and attended the fundraising event and explain what has occurred?
I am at a loss - curling up in the corner seems like a good option right now, or perhaps punching a wall. I feel so angry and betrayed - we worked so hard to make this happen for Bee, and now, here we are. With a debt we have essentially already paid, at a time we could never afford it, and without the means to reach out for help.
Damn it anyway!
I am so sorry, you really don't deserve something like this to happen - seriously what type of person would do that!?
How much did they steal?
If it was me, and you are absolutely sure you aren't able to get the money back, I'd have a chat with the local media & name and shame! Best case scenario you get money back from your 'friend', worst case it may prompt the community to help with additional fund raising.
Police? Do you have anything in writing, or witnesses? Details of bank transactions? How much are you talking about?
If possible, I would rather not involve the police yet.
What makes it particularly difficult, is that the person responsible for the money is my best friend's aunt, and someone we thought was both honest and trustworthy.
While I will "name and shame" (more in the form of an apology to the donors - but in a roundabout way, it'll accomplish both) it is definitely not what I want to do, as it will cost us many friends. In all good conscience, I "have" to name and shame... one of the methods we used for fundraising was selling Xmas ornaments last year (2011) and there was a media interview done about Bee at the time. I may well contact the reporter who did the initial story and ask him to follow up.
I would be inclined to let the person know that you will be going public with this and contacting the police unless the money is returned. What records / witnesses do you have to prove she had the money?
The vendor who sold us the bed participated in the fundraising (sold ornaments out of their retail outlet and attended the dinner/donated an auction item). I have multiple emails (including ones with specific $$ amounts in them) and a verbal contract she made with the vendor to pay out the balance. There are witnesses to all verbal exchanges.
In the short term, we are paying off the balance with the vendor a bit at a time - I will not allow her to be dragged under the bus as well. Once tax time rolls around, we will use the refund we'll be getting to pay the balance.
It will cause us hardship, but we have been the beneficiaries of community generousity already, I don't want to "wear out our welcome".
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