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Should She Pay Me Back?

New Contributor

Should She Pay Me Back?

My aunt and I booked a flight and cruise last year to celebrate our 30th birthdays (we're only a few months apart in age). I paid for the whole thing and she's been paying me back a little every month. Total was roughly $2,100 per person. Today she only owes me a balance of $750.

The flight/cruise date is 3/4/17 so only a few days away now!

Last week, my aunt cancelled on me. She just won a custody battle for her son and her lawyer said that if she took a vacation so close after the end of trial it would look bad. She's not willing to leave and risk losing everything she fought for when the other party appeals the judges decision. Totally understandable and if I was her, I would probably not go on vacation either.

The flight is salvageable. She can reschedule her flight ticket (for a fee) to another date. However, the cruise is non-refundable since she cancelled with less than 30 days from sail date. They will not give us a refund, credit, partial credit or allow us to reschedule our reservation.

This leaves me with 3 options:

1.) Go on the cruise by myself. (My dad won't let me go by myself since it is out of the country, it's a European cruise. I know, I'm 30, but I work for the family business and I respect my dad and he doesn't feel comfortable having me go alone so I can't go alone)

2.) Reschedule my flight to another date but lose the entire cost that I've paid for the cruise. My share was about $1,200 for the cruise alone

3.) Bring a different friend. I have tried asking around if another friend can come with me but no one has enough cash to buy a plane ticket and pay for their share of the cruise on such short notice.

I have a friend that can take off work to come with me but she can't afford the cost and is not willing to go if she has to pay for it. Since I can't go alone, I would rather shell out the extra money to buy my friend a plane ticket so she can go with me and I won't lose the trip altogether. The cruise can be transferred from my aunt's name to my friend's name at no cost. The only thing (extra) out of pocket for me is another flight ticket for my friend.

Sorry this is so long, I wanted to give details in order for you guys to answer my question.

Should I still ask my aunt to pay me pack the rest of the $750 she owes me for the trip that she cancelled?

The way I see it is, the situation she's put me in by cancelling is either:

1 - Cancel my trip too and lose the $1,200 I paid for the cruise that is nonrefundable at this point
2 - Spend extra money on a flight to have someone else go with me

Is it fair that I have to also cover the $750 that she still owes me? I wouldn't have had to spend ANYTHING extra if she wouldn't have bailed.

I know it isn't fair to her either to continue to pay for a cruise that she can't go on but she's the one that cancelled last minute. PLEASE HELP, I need opinions.

Thank you!

Message 1 of 11
Established Contributor

Re: Should She Pay Me Back?

I don't think there's a clear right and wrong here. If it were me though, I would spend the extra and bring someone really close to me along. I think you have more skin in the game and just paying the extra is less of a loss than letting the whole thing go.

Message 2 of 11
Frequent Contributor

Re: Should She Pay Me Back?

This is easy. Here's my take.


1. I'd make your aunt pay for the $750. It's a contract she signed up for from the beginning and she should commit to it until it's paid. If she won't budge, let it go. Things happen and it is what it is.


2. Take the trip. Why lose theopportunity of a lifetime over someone else's situation. You may never have another oppotunity to take that cruise. Do it while you are still young. I travel 2-3 x/yr and come home with memories that will last a lifetime and can never be replaced. Never reschedule. Most likely, it'll never happen again and you will regret it.


3. Take your friend. Is she willing to take a deal like paying just the airfare? Maybe in installment payment? Or pay just half of the fare? She's already saving $1,200 for the cruise. If she wont budge, find another friend who might be willing to make a little compromise and pay just a portion. If no one else, and if you're willing to pay for your friend for the entire trip, go for it. Make sure you do it because you want to and never bring it up again in the future when you ask something from her and she says NO. Money is tangible. Friendship will last a lifetime. Don't lose your friend over money.


4. Finally, go on the trip. And have an amazing time !!!

Message 3 of 11
Frequent Contributor

Re: Should She Pay Me Back?

This is a tough one so I would put my energy towards what you can control:


1 - Having your aunt cancel, I feel, is understandable as the timing was beyond her control.  I would not ask her for the remaining balance (however, if I was the aunt, I would pay YOU back at some point.)


2 - I understand families and in my opinion (which you asked for Smiley Happy ) is at 30, your father needs to respect your choices. This can be done without being disrepectful to him.  You have spent a year planning this and have paid for it.  If he 'refuses' to let you go and you agree to allow him that power, he should reimburse you for the cruise. This could be an amazing trip for you and if you WANT to do it on your own, go for it. 


3 - If its a really good friend who wants to come with you and cant afford it, work something out money-wise.  If this is not someone you really want with you, then go solo.

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Last HP - 2/27/18 - Gardening as long as possible
Message 4 of 11
Valued Contributor

Re: Should She Pay Me Back?

You are now less than 30 days out.  Getting a new guest with a passport will be hard but you could try. I suggest try 2 different options a) try to find replacement at any price and aunt pays for anything that party can't b) push back the date and aunt pays for any fees c) I  understand she does not want to go but that does not revieve her of the debt.   If she can't pay then you go by your self and her birthday and Christmas for the rest of of life were the trip she cancelled.  

Message 5 of 11
Senior Contributor

Re: Should She Pay Me Back?

Tough one.  If it were me...


I would congratulation the aunt on her custody win!  I'd tell her how happy I am for her and her son.


I would tell the aunt you understand why she won't be going on the cruise and that you will miss her.


I would remind the aunt that she made a committment and you were counting on/need the funds she promised you.


I would let the aunt know that I was scrambling to find someone to take her place.


I would let the aunt know that if I found someone who would go and would pay for part or all of the cruise, that you would reimburse the aunt ALL funds received from the other person.


Hopefully your relationship with the aunt is filled with love and respect for each other.  Enough that she would honor her financial committment and pay you.  Enough that she would trust you to try really hard to get someone to pay for part or all of the cruise and reimburse the aunt any funds owed.


Message 6 of 11
Senior Contributor

Re: Should She Pay Me Back?

Some excellent answers...


Yes, your Aunt SHOULD pay you back, but if she doesn't, don't lose your Aunt over it...  she didn't plan it and these things happen.


Pay your friends air fare if you're able to and take her with you. 

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Message 7 of 11

Re: Should She Pay Me Back?

She needs to pay up. And moving forward. No more repayment agreements for anything. If you can't give something as a gift, don't give it, if you need to be paid back. Surround yourself only with people who can fully cover their own freight for non life essential things.
Message 8 of 11
New Contributor

Re: Should She Pay Me Back?

Thanks so much for all of your input here. I'll give a little update...

I spoke to my aunt (we talk on the phone every day) and I told her that I was able to find someone to go with me so I don't have to cancel my trip. She was really happy that I don't have to cancel and felt really bad that I had to buy an extra plane ticket to bring someone with me.

I told her that I would be really greatful if she did pay the rest but that if she doesn't want to continue paying for a cruise she can't go on, I wouldn't let the $750 alter our relationship. She insists on paying back her share, especially when I mentioned I had to pay for another plane ticket.

If she doesn't pay me back, I won't mention it again. I already know the rule of not lending money that you need back, etc. I don't REALLY need it back but it would be nice. If she doesn't pay it back, I certainly won't hold it against her. We're family and have been the closest friends since we were born but I certainly wouldn't pay for any other vacations in full for her 😀

As for my friend that I'm bringing along, I don't expect her to pay me back for the flight at all. She's really doing me a favor because if she couldn't go, then I'd have to cancel too.

Again, thanks for all the advice and words of wisdom!

Message 9 of 11
Frequent Contributor

Re: Should She Pay Me Back?

Good call. Have a great time. Take lots of pics. You'll look back on it one day and be thankful you were able to do that. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to travel. Have a safe trip!!!
Message 10 of 11