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Behind in paying bills
(05-26-2012, 09:40 PM)jjny76 Wrote: I was wondering if it's considered theft if a noahide is behind in paying credit cards or even no longer paying them because he/she has fallen on difficult financial times and/or because he/she has incurred an unexpected large expense.

This is definitely a case of a delinquent debtor - one that doesn't pay his debts. This is a type of theft, as long as the person is behind on his agreed-upon payments.

But if the lender is willing to negotiate a settlement with the borrower for a reduced pay-off amount, either for the amount due on the principle (for example, the retail price of the item he took), or the amount due on the interest, then the borrower is not guilty of theft after he pays according to the new agreement with the lender.

A delinquent debtor is not liable for punishment in court unless the lender demands the money and the debtor then refuses or denies the claim. Nevertheless, even if the lender does not demand payment, as long as the debtor is holding the lender's money illegally, he transgresses the prohibition against being a delinquent debtor.
However, if the debtor just pushes the lender off to lengthen the time of the loan, but does not intend to deny or to permanently hold on to the owed money, there is no liability for delinquency. Nevertheless, such a thing is forbidden as theft, since the borrower is stealing income from the lender every day. Many times this can turn into a perpetually delinquent debt, due to unpreventable circumstances that happen to the debtor, or if he just gives up on making his payments. Regarding this it is stated, “Do not tell your friend [the lender], 'Go away and come back later, and the next day I will pay you,' when you do have [the payment money] available.”
Anyone who withholds a payment that he is obligated to make, or returns a loan after the due date, has transgressed the prohibition against stealing from the lender. (But he is not liable to punishment from a court if the lender did not call a court case to demand a judgment for his loan to be paid back).

Messages In This Thread
Behind in paying bills - by jjny76 - 05-26-2012, 09:40 PM
RE: Behind in paying bills - by Rabbi Moshe Weiner - 05-31-2012, 07:45 AM

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