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In-laws refuse to pay their share of Sparks Fury vacation rental

Think your in-laws are a nightmare? Think again. If a recent viral AIBU (Am I being unreasonable) post is anything to go by, a Mumsnet user may have it harder than you. The problem? His in-laws are refusing to pay for their share of the joint vacation that the Mumsnet user had arranged.

In an article titled “In-Laws and the Holiday Bill, Tell Me Who’s Wrong!” which garnered over 120 replies from other users, @spandauballet explained that she and her husband generally get along well with their mother and stepfather.

“They are adorable, generous, very active with our children, etc,” she wrote. “In January we agreed that we would all go on holiday together this year. We went to Mallorca together in 2017 which was lovely so we decided to go back in July and also include my dad who is get on well with them too.”

Image of a family of four by a swimming pool during summer vacation. The in-laws of a Mumsnet user refuse to pay their share of joint holidays.
travnikovstudio/travnikovstudio/Getty

@spandauballet writes that her MIL (mother-in-law) found a number of accommodation options and sent her the list, saying she and her husband should choose. They opted for a four-bedroom apartment, which everyone later agreed on. @spandauballet booked and paid the full cost of £2,400 (nearly $3,000), which was to be split into four.

Then the troubles started. While @spandauballet and her husband were going on a trip to see his parents, he and his stepdad got into a fight.

“Nothing to do with the holidays but it ended in a very heated discussion and MIL got angry. (None were right or wrong, just different opinions and they should have just agreed not to be d okay),” @spandauballet wrote. “Without consulting us, MIL booked separate accommodation for July, saying she needed ‘somewhere to go if things started while we were on vacation’. She also decided without discussion that what we had reserved was not big enough.”

@spandauballet added that his MIL “said they wouldn’t pay their share of the one I had already booked”, noting that this leaves them around £750 added to the cost of their holiday.

“I’m livid. Neither seem to think it’s bad since we’re going to ‘use an extra bedroom’. I don’t need an extra bedroom, our kids are 5 and 2 and share,” @spandauballet wrote. “AIBU to think that you can’t just decide not to go on an agreed vacation without paying your share? If I had already gotten their share, she wouldn’t have booked a new place! What do I do now? “

Other Mumsnet users had some ideas.

“It’s very cheeky and petulant, are you able to change?” wrote @Momicrone.

@Toponeniceone added “Damn that’s awful of her.”

Several users suggested he try to change the booking, including @FieldOverFence who suggested, “I would cancel as you wouldn’t be able to afford that extra cost…”

Similarly, @TiddleyWink wrote, “Cancel the vacation. It’s bound to be a disaster. She got involved and pulled out leaving you out of pocket. The consequences are not a vacation with her grandkids.”

The original poster experience is probably not uncommon, according to several studies and surveys on family vacation stress. A survey, conducted by lifestyle website Fatherly, used a cohort of 1,000 parents to explore their travel habits and attitudes towards vacations. Some 65% of respondents said the biggest stressor in vacation planning was the expense.

Along the same lines, a 2012 study published in the journal Tourism analysis focused on “the degree to which stress occurs during the holidays, including how and where it develops, [and] who is most likely. The researchers found that the vacation planning stage produced the highest levels of stress, and that this was especially true for those planning “an international vacation accompanied by a spouse or parent.” They noted that the biggest stressor during this period was “financial concerns”.

Either way, Mumsnet users were convinced that @spandauballet shouldn’t go along with his MIL’s actions.

@titchy wrote: “Two separate issues. Perfectly reasonable for them to book elsewhere in case of arguments. NOT correct to expect you to pay for it.”

@SolasAnla suggested that @spandauballet cancel the reservation and make a new plan.

“Yes, his parents should pay him (and you) but you can’t control or influence that”, @SolasAnla. “Note that you never have to spend your money on a joint agreement again. If you book it, you receive the money directly or transferred to your account first.”