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Publicly Shame a Deadbeat

This article was written by in Debt Reduction. 10 comments.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

That’s a well-known quotation from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Polonius was perhaps concerned about, among other things, the public shame that could come from being a deadbeat borrower. As he proferred this and other advice to his son, Polonius may have been thinking about the possibility of seeing Laërtes’ name listed on uradeadbeat.com (read: you are a deadbeat dot com).

Uradeadbeat.com lets anyone post messages and stories about a company or person who owes money. In addition to the public listing on the website, uradeadbeat.com provides a direct service. They will email the deadbeat to inform them of the listing. If you provide an address, the website will also send a postcard.

All deadbeats have a chance to respond to the accusation. According to the site owner, some deadbeats were inspired to pay back their debts as a result of this public shaming.

It’s free to post a complaint, but in the future it will not be a free service.

This probably isn’t the best way to get someone who owes you money to pay up, but it might be a good option as a last resort.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published December 24, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Chad Bordeaux

I am not sure how this can be legal. Sure, they can do it, but are there not fair credit reporting laws preventing many of the things that will be posted here? Aren’t they setting themselves up for a ton of lawsuits whenever false information is published? It seems like they would be liable if false information were published.

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avatar Greg

I can not see anything good coming from this…

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avatar Julie Seamon

Why what did you do ?

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avatar Luke Landes

Chad: It’s my understanding that there is a federal law that protects website operators from liability for content posted by visitors and users.

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avatar Amp

I hear the terms “libel”, “slander”, and “defamation” coming!

Even if the owner is not responsible, those who post there will be. Plus, any complaintant who asks for their name to be removed from a public website not controlled by the government who is not granted that respect can call up a site’s ISP, lodge a complaint, and have the site taken down.

This one won’t last, boys ;) The owner will be inundated with lawsuits, and even if he’s found to be “innocent” (how can one who facilitates be innocent?), the time and money he’ll spend off work and with lawyers will kill him.

Sometimes, the suit is not won by the facts, but by the lack of energy on one party’s part.

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avatar Green Panda

I can see how this can be abused y some people. How can they prove the debt is real?

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avatar mapgirl

Instead of this, why not re-institute debtor’s prison? Because suing someone for slander and libel on an anonymous website doesn’t really get a debt paid does it? Just look all those deadbeat dads who don’t pay child support. Their names go up on public websites, but does it really get all of them to pay? (I’m sure some do, but certainly not all. Many go on being deadbeats.)

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avatar Bill M

I agree with mapgirl. Sueing anonymous users will get you nothin, maybe another bill from your lawyer.

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avatar Kyle

I can see how a site like this might be effective, but I have moral problems with the premise. Damn you, morals!

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avatar wylerassociate

I also have issues with publicly shaming deadbeats because they deserve their say.

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