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Freeloader Debt

Discussion in 'Leaving Scientology' started by olska, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. olska

    olska Silver Meritorious Patron

    This subject came up on another thread, and so I'm starting this one just for general info for anyone who has, or might be considering the consequences of having if they left, a "freeloader debt" with the Church of Scientology.

    Your freeloader debt is NOT a legal debt in the world outside scientology.

    In the world outside scientology, you are under no legal obligation to pay it, ever.

    The COS cannot use any US law to collect it. Don't know about other countries, but I would guess it's the same in those -- not a legal debt.

    If you choose NOT to pay the debt, it will not affect your life outside of scientology in any way at all. It will not show up on any credit report or affect your credit rating, or any aspect of your finances in any way.

    Of course, the CoS will harass you about it, and make every effort to get you to pay it, but they have no legal standing in doing so.

    The freeloader debt is ONLY "valid" within the world of the CoS -- that is, they use it as a way to make you conform to their rules by keeping you "disconnected" from family, friends, and unable to continue "up the Bridge" (as though you would want to...) until you've paid it.

    If you DO choose to pay it, or have paid any part of it, you can stop paying any time without legal consequences or without affect on your finances outside of CoS "rules."

    Through "scientology," Hubbard created a set of "rules" that are outside the law of the land, and attempted to make them supercede the real law of the land. Assigning "freeloader debt" to people who have worked for the "church" and then decide to leave before their contract is completed ...

    (oh, sorry, I didnt stay the full billion years -- I only made it for a paltry one hundred thousand)

    ... is one aspect of "Hubbard law" -- not valid outside his construct, outside "scientology."

    It's your personal choice to agree or not agree with Hubbard's rules, not a choice I'd make for anyone else; but you should have the facts at hand, and this fact about so-called "freeloader debt" is an important one.
  2. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Excellent post Olska. I wish I had known that many years ago when I did pay one. I managed to have it reduced way down, but it was very financially hard at the time.
  3. Cat's Squirrel

    Cat's Squirrel Gold Meritorious Patron

    Good thread olska. I remember one girl left staff in the UK and, when the CofS presented her with her freeloader bill, her mum did the same to them - for the discrepancy between all the hours she worked and what she'd been paid. No more was heard from the Church about that one.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  4. Neo

    Neo Silver Meritorious Patron

    It certainly has no legal standing in Australia, either.

    It's just a highly unethical money grab by the orgs. And they love it when someone pays their freeloader bill, as they don't have to provide any service for the money. It's already (apparently) been provided.

    Money for nothing, in other words.

  5. Voltaire's Child

    Voltaire's Child Fool on the Hill

    Of course it's not legal. And it's a disgusting thing, anyway. They work a person on staff half to death then if the person leaves, he owes them money. That's not unlike owing ones' soul to the company store.

    But the leverage they use is this: if one doesn't pay the Freeloader debt, one doesn't get to do services later. Some people want to be able to do that and/or have family or friends in CofS they'd like to see, and that's the hook, that's where they get trapped and pressured into paying.
  6. tookmeawhile

    tookmeawhile Patron with Honors

    I understand that is how they get most of the money; not allowed to take any more services. However, if someone just leaves with no intention to do services again, I thought I read an LRH policy stating something like if they don't attempt to pay it off to send them to a collection agency. I know, that's verbal data - so Declare me! Of course, just because LRH says that, doesn't mean its legal, anyways.

    So, Olska, how are you sure this isn't a legal debt? I haven't seen a staff contract for years so maybe it's just obvious - I don't know. This is an important datum to know for sure for many people. Of course, even if it was "legal" the worst they could do is put it on your credit report in the U.S. -they could never actually collect it. But who would want Church of Scientology stamped on their credit report?

    You know, I never had thought of it before, but the whole idea of a freeloader's bill being a legal debt sounds pretty ridiculous. Great thread, Olska!
  7. Rene Descartes

    Rene Descartes Gold Meritorious Patron

    A Piece of $#!^

    The freeloader debt is a piece of crap meant to impose guilt upon those who leave a job.

    I know of no other company or business or organization that imposes something as ludicrous as a freeloader debt.

    Once on Beliefnet a poster stated that she knew companies that also did this.

    She did not name any of these so called business and if she did then dollars to donuts that it was a business that is run by LRH policy.

    Inherent business risk is the training of personnel.

    If the Church of Scientology wants to be recouped for training expenses for "blown" staff they should seek out an insurance contract with AIG that will cover this the same as other business losses.

    Of course once it hits the AIG underwriters and a quote needs to be given to the Church, given their history, the price of the product would be prohibitive.

    Wait a second, did I say "business", holy freekin' cow, I meant to say "charitable church", no make that "churchly business", or is that "business-like church", who da frig knows?

  8. Pitbull

    Pitbull Patron with Honors

    The real purpose of the Freeloader debt seems to be to keep people in. Church members have all kinds of fear tactics heaped apon them to keep them IN IN IN.
    The idea that somehow, they will have a mountain of repayments is a major scare tactic.

    Especially for those who still want to be Scientologists, but don't want to be in the Sea Org any more. What option do they have? They can stay in and tough it out, or leave and have to agree to pay back thousands and thousands of dollars BEFORE they will ever be allowed to do any more services as a public member.
  9. Pixie

    Pixie Crusader

    I cringe at the amount of money I gave them for my freeloader, my whole gripe with them was that they threw me out, I did not leave, yet they sent me a bill for 37K twice a week for a year until I moved. They sent SO to my door which I wrote about before, constant phone calls and harrasement and using my 'eternity' as a button. I shouldn't have given them a single fucking penny, they couldn't say why I still owned them money even though I didn't leave volunterily, but I paid them back quite a bit of that before collapsing from overwork stress and exhaustion.
  10. Voltaire's Child

    Voltaire's Child Fool on the Hill

    People do a lot of things in CofS they wouldn't have done otherwise, due to the constant pressure and nagging and indoctrination and even threats. That stuff clouds a person's thinking, makes him or her anxious, keeps him or her off balance- and that's exactly what the cult wants.
  11. olska

    olska Silver Meritorious Patron

    sue for fraud?

    This thought just came to me as I was contemplating the whole notion of "freeloader debt."

    Could those who have already paid this debt sue for fraud, and thus a return of that money and perhaps punitive damages?

    If the debt is indeed not a "real" debt, on what grounds does the CoS send you a bill and demand payment? Is that not fraud? extortion?

    My debt was small and was paid long ago -- before 1980. Not money to bother about now, and I no longer have the records to substantiate that it ever existed and was paid.

    But those leaving NOW, particularly those who've been in the Sea Org for years and might have, or might have paid, very large debts might want to look into this.

    Without knowing the legal fine points, I would argue that:

    -- It's not a bill for services rendered, services received (such as paying up front for services)
    -- It's not a "donation" for buildings or other activities of one's "church" or charity
    -- It's not money you just freely chose to give, for anything at all -- it's money that was EXTORTED from you by threat -- something on the order of "protection" money -- you pay us this amount and we won't wreck your life.

    I'd only be a cheerleader, not a participant, but I'd love to see some EX's band together and sue the CoS on this matter.

    I'm not a lawyer or banker or credit specialist, so I'm not sure enough to put this out as legal advice to anyone, and you are right to point that out.

    Anyone affected by this matter, please do your own research -- talk to a lawyer, banker, credit specialist, someone at one of those credit report agencies, etc. Just don't make any payments until you get an opinion from a real expert, ok?

    And report back on what you find?
  12. Voltaire's Child

    Voltaire's Child Fool on the Hill

    Given what I know of contract law- I would think that if one could show that the "contract" was breached by the employer (CofS) then one could have a valid case, as long as one has checked the applicable statute of limitations (like I don't think I could sue on basis of my contract on staff- it was too long ago. But there are a LOT of people who probably could, though.) . And that's where the attorneys would come in, for starters.

    Since CofS constantly breaches their own written policies and reneges on promises made both verbal and written, I would think that in some cases a legal action might actually have a sound basis.

    It's just that not everyone's been willing to take a risk since the cult is litigious. But there's strength in numbers. I wonder what the ramifications of a class action suit would be like.
  13. Voltaire's Child

    Voltaire's Child Fool on the Hill

    Also, there are various statutes and case law that state that a contract that is illegally written, that asks people to do certain things that are against the state statutes, like work 20 hours a day or any number of other things, is not enforceable. That's why I don't think freeloader debts are enforceable through any legal means or collection agencies. But if they were, which I doubt, one would have an absolutely dandy counter claim given the many breaches of contract CofS commits and the just plain illegal stuff they have people do and the illegal omissions they perpetrate.
  14. Wisened One

    Wisened One Crusader

    Great post about FL Debts!

    We STILL get our FL bills in the mail (might scan it here one day).

    Unfortunately, years ago, in the several years after routing out, we DID pay 2 grand towards my debt..(since mine was much less then hubby's)...

    NOW I wish I could get that money back...(not to mention lost wages while working for them!)

  15. Iknowtoomuch

    Iknowtoomuch Gold Meritorious Patron

    How is a FL debt fair exchange? (Rhetorical)

    You work for them for a number of years (proving you really are in no way a "freeloader") and you end up having to pay them for being worked to the bone. HAR!!
  16. ThisIsIt

    ThisIsIt Patron with Honors

    The total bill for my kids' fl debts (more than one) is probably about $300,000.00. Thank goodness none of us take it seriously anymore. Much better than a few years ago when the mailed statements would send one or more people into a state of depression. :drowning: Now they go in the garbage.:whocares:
  17. byte301

    byte301 Crusader

    I always thought a FL was bullshit. Any wog company I worked for trained and "schooled" their employees. If they left the company, no matter what circumstances, they were never presented with a bill for training and education because it made them a better employee while they worked there and therefore benefitted the COMPANY.

    The co$ MAKES the staff get training (sometimes anyway) :) They also make you get auditing whether you want it or not. Then they turn around and bill you for that enforced training and auditing! Ha!

    If it was a legal debt don't you all think they would have sued the crap out of everyone who owed the so-called debt by now? They can't afford to have anything about this go to court because it would then all be on record how they make people work 16 hour days and all the labor laws they violate under their cloak of religion.
  18. Smitty

    Smitty Silver Meritorious Patron

    The "freeloader debt" is nothing but a scam. CofS staff should not wonder why many people think they are engaged in racketeering, because that is exactly what it is. Real nice "church". Corporate scientology is nothing more than a very coercive, crooked business. Send them to hell.
  19. thetanic

    thetanic Gold Meritorious Patron

    I wish I knew the answer to this one, and as someone who used to hassle people over their "freeloader" debts, but I don't. All I know is that they're unfair, they prey on people's guilt, and fear of them (especially when one wants to continue getting services) keeps people in jobs they shouldn't be in if they no longer want to be there.

    I finished my second contract, having broken my first one and been hassled about a freeloader debt, and staying that long was a mistake.

    I still feel guilty about leaving, and I haven't been a Churchie in more years than I was one.
  20. Wisened One

    Wisened One Crusader

    :welcome: thetanic! :)