Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Bankruptcy Related

I Refuse to Pay For Something I Can’t Afford. – Steven

“Dear Steve,

I owe 25K, am working a low-paying temp job, I’m 27 years old, hopeless.

I owe (or owed) a total of $25,000 (probably more now, due to escalating interest rates) between two credit card companies, Capital One and Chase.

I absolutely do not have the funds to pay it off. I had to stop making minimum payments last year when I got laid off from my job. Now that I have a temp job, it is too late to keep making minimum payments and the interest has made it ridiculous to pay.

I refuse to pay for something that I can’t even afford! I don’t know if bankruptcy is an option, or if I even have any options at this point. I am waiting for a settlement, maybe something I can afford. The frequent phone calls (5+ a day) have stopped now and I’m sure they’ve been turned over to a collection agency. I just want to get rid of the debt and get on with my life.


Dear Steven,

Wow, your statement, “I refuse to pay for something that I can’t even afford!”, really shocked me. That seems like a totally unreasonable point of view on this situation.

If you have found yourself in a difficult situation without any reasonable expectation to be able to repay and you need to address the debt and stop collection calls then by all means, click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney to help you.

It seems that at one time you made an application for credit and entered into an agreement with Capital One and Chase Bank to use credit they agreed to extend to you. As part of that agreement you contractually agreed to the terms and conditions they stated. part of those terms were that they could change your interest rate and pursue you if you failed to pay with collections or lawsuits.

You statement troubles me because while you might not like the fact the banks are chasing you in accordance to what you agreed to, refusing to pay for something because you can’t afford it is not a reasonable position to have to deal with the situation.

The best way to get through this is not as a victim here. The reality is you entered into an agreement to pay, through life forces you are unable to pay, you need to accept responsibility for your situation and taken positive action to remedy it.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • Perhaps you misunderstand my situation. I REFUSE to pay because it is impossible for me to pay within reasonable means. When I was laid off and became unable to keep up with the minimum payments, the interests rates shot up to a ridiculous amount. When I spoke with the credit card company a short time later, they informed me that I would have to pay $2,000 in order to “keep my account in good standing.” Obviously it would be impossible for me to pay without putting myself in mortal harm, i.e. starving myself, living in a cardboard box, or robbing a bank. The unemployment insurance I was receiving at the time amounted to less than $1,000 a month, which just barely covered rent. So when I tell you about my desperate situation and that I refuse to pay for what I cannot afford, why is that so difficult to understand?

    The thing is, I’ve been keeping up with the minimum payments on my card for more than 5 years now, and I’ve never been delinquent in my payments in all that time. It was only when an unforeseen event happened (unemployment) that I was unable to keep up with the payments. In reality though, if it were not for these ridiculous interest rates, I would have already paid off my credit cards a long time ago (my minimum payments per month were $500…on a $25,000 debt, that should have been taken care of in 4 years…in an ideal world).

    When I read your reply to my question, I got even more depressed. I realize I’m in an “agreement” with these credit card companies, but at what point does the corporation become more important than the individual? Whose side are you on anyway? Credit card companies are corrupt, and I understand that through firsthand experience now. If I knew back then what I know now, I would have done things a lot differently. But I REFUSE to go rock-bottom poor and give every last cent away in order to pay off the rich credit card corporations so that they can do more damage to someone else’s life. I also have the other rip-off artists in my life to deal with, too; insurance companies, DMV registration, phone bills, and traffic citations to be paid off. It’s a difficult situation, and I realize it’s no one else’s fault but my own, but all I was really looking for was a little bit of sympathy and understanding. And I obviously don’t expect it from Capital One or Chase.

    • Steven,

      I see my job here as that of providing honest answers and advice, which I have done. I understand your rants but that does not change the fact that nobody put a gun to your head to take out the cards in the first place. The situation is what it is.

      In all my years I have been very critical of credit card companies but I do have to say they do an excellent job of spelling out the terms and conditions of the agreements. Now the problem is that not everyone reads those and that can lead to anger and frustration.

      It just seems to me that your anger is misdirected here. Isn’t the real issue that you, for whatever reason, are unable to earn a sufficient income to repay the debts as agreed? That fact does not require any victimization of indignation, it just is what it is. If you go back and read my answer I did lay out a plan on how you can address the debt situation.


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top