Providing a service pro-bono is done in good faith and with the expectation of some gratitude by the party whom you are providing the service for—though sometimes, people just don’t get the memo.
Redditor 22022004 found themselves in an awkward situation after providing such a charitable service for a family member.
They went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for perspective on how they handled it.
“AITA for refusing to pay bills for a house i house-sitted a month ago?”
Our original poster, or OP, set up the scene and why they were feeling awkward about this situation.
“I don’t really think I’m the a**hole in this situation but the family member, her boyfriend and her mum sure do. Although the fact that the family member recently lost her job due to the pandemic does make me feel like I’m being an AH.”
“A little less than a month ago, I decided to house sit for a family member and her boyfriend for a week while they were going to see their parents.”
“I knew I wasn’t getting paid for taking care of the home/feeding their pets but was okay with it because I live with my parents and a week away sounded like a dream come true.”
A month later, OP got an ugly surprise.
“House-sitting went fine and I’d pretty much forgotten about it until today. The family member sent me a Paypal request with no explanation.”
“She requested $184 and I immediately called and her and asked why she was doing this. She stated that it was my share of the bills for when I stayed.”
OP was never told this, and was reasonably upset:
“I was in shock, I told her I took a week off of work to care for her house free of charge, she said that I still had to pay utilities. Keep in mind, I was never once made aware of this otherwise I would have told them to get lost when they asked me in the first place.”
Following that conversation, OP responded a little less than ideally.
“I told her to go f’k herself and hung up, ever since she’s been messaging me saying she’s gonna call the police and tell everyone on Facebook about what a horrible piece of sh*t I am.”
“I haven’t responded to any of these messages and don’t plan to.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
Redditors offered perspective by declaring:
- NTA: Not The A**hole
- YTA: You’re The A**hole
- NAH: No A**holes Here
- ESH: Everyone Sucks Here
According to Redditors, not only was OP NTA, but there was some MAJOR a**hole energy radiating from the other side of the phone.
“Send her a bill for pet services. The going rate in my area is $70/day.”
“This should have been discussed beforehand, not argued about afterwards. And if she calls the police, let the police know about her marijuana stash.”~Sentient111
“I sometimes stay at my folks’ house to take care of their dog if they go on holiday for a week (well, I consider him my dog because we got him when I was a teenager, but I since moved out).”
“I do it for free because I’m happy to hang out with my pup, and my folks’ place is nicer than mine, but at the very least my parents will send me enough money to cover groceries for the time I’m there, and the cost of petrol driving to and from their house from my place a couple cities over.”
“Plus free use of all utilities – including heating, electric, wifi, washer & dryer, etc, and full access to the snacks and alcohol cupboards.”
“Still works out much cheaper than paying for him to stay at a kennel. The audacity of asking someone to pay utilities when they’ve done you a favour, saving you hundreds? Yikes. NTA, OP.”~queerfox13
“Let’s say you house-sit for a week. At 15 dollars an hour and 1.5 times overtime for the time over 40 hours, you should be getting about 3,480 in wages.”
“And onto that, another 560 (80/day) for pet sitting and walking and you are looking at 4,040 dollars she owes you.”
“I don’t know what minimum wage is but send her a bill for $5 an hour. 5 X 24 hours X 7 days. = $840.”
“Assume one pet. 5 per feeding days. 5×7 = 35. You’ll pay her 184 when she pays you $875.”
“Offer her a discount and charge her $2 per hour. Still works out. $350.”
“NTA you were doing them a favour. If they had put the pet in to boarding or elsewhere they would have a much higher bill.”~Garlic-dough-balls
And people are suggesting some creative new ways for revenge.
“NTA. That’s no different than someone asking you to babysit their kids for a week while they take vacation, then tell you to pay for bills during the time you were in the house.”
“What will they tell the police? Make sure to save any text messages sent to you they sound insane.”~ChewMyFudge
“NTA. Find a local kennel and get some rates for what they would have charged her to take care of her pets.”
“Then look up the fees for how much it would have cost to have someone paid to stay in her house to do the same. Present her with an invoice for both and ask her which one she wants to pay.”~Gonebabythoughts
“NTA. I have hired people to house sit. You NEVER charge them utilities unless there is egregious breach like $600 in phone calls or the electric jumped 250%.”
“Further they should have been compensating you for your time and energy. Never house sit for them again and tell them to stuff that bill where the sun doesn’t shine.”~Cat_in_an_oak_tree
“NTA you did THEM a favour.”
“If she didn’t pay you she should have stocked the fridge, left some wine, and treats, and money to order out once or twice… She wants you to pay her bills?”
“Lmao send her a bill for the pet care ($50-80 per day per animal) and a house-sitting bill another $50-100 a day at least!!!”
“Tell her she can take the bills out of that and send you the rest or you tell the family how awful and cheap she is and post it online. Also tell her to never ask for a ‘favour’ again.”~eyespy_01
And some extra-dark places OP’s family can shove that bill.
“NTA, at least provisionally.”
“You didn’t do something silly, like filling an empty pool just so you could swim, or leaving the back door open and making the furnace run 24/7, or something, did you?”
“Something that would incur a massive and unusual spike in utilities?”
“If so, I could understand it. But otherwise, no, it’s a ridiculous request.”~Arawn_of_Annwn
“NTA. Anything like that should have been agreed upon in advance, if anything you are the one who should be paid for housesitting.”
“Either keep ignoring her, or send her a much larger Paypal request back, for the cost of you housesitting, petsitting etc.”~RusevDayToday
“NTA – You did her a favor, turns out she’s a user. Cut contact.”
“Let her put her crap on Facebook – no doubt she’ll try to twist it, but this is how you let other users reveal themselves.”
“They’ll be the ones agreeing with her – so at least you’ll know not to do those people any favors either.”~HowardProject
“NTA – I’ve done pet sitting in exchange for free accommodation; both going into someone else’s home and having someone stay in my home.”
“The sitter is usually not charged for rent or utilities because they are providing a service by looking after the house, garden, and pet.”
“If there was an expectation that you pay bills, it should have been discussed upfront.”
“Your family member is especially TA since I’m guessing member asked you specifically to come to their house and mind their pets.”
“Literally the only way I could see you being TA after watching the house for a week is if you set up an illegal grow operation and managed to jack up the electric bill.”~mercurial_planner
If anybody is owed money, it’s OP. And Redditors believe OP’s family member has a bill coming to her in the mail.