Couple's $48,000 debt listed on TradeMe
Posting a listing for a $48,000 debt on TradeMe might be a quirky way of drawing attention to their situation, but there is nothing funny about the dire financial predicament faced by a young Hamilton couple trapped under a mountain of bad credit.
And while Kirsten Eaton-Luster and Brad Sherratt's tactics might be tongue-in-cheek, they certainly aren't a pair of bludgers appealing for a handout. The couple are full-time workers who, like many poorer New Zealanders, had deliberately taken on debt in order to improve their living standards.
These included a $17,000 loan for a car, and a similar amount for a utility truck, through credit firms Finance Now and Instant Finance. Eaton-Luster also found herself facing an unexpected $7000 dental bill, which she paid for through her Q Card account.
As Eaton-Luster explained, taking out loans to cover these expenses seemed to be a smart tactic, as long as no unforseen disasters occurred.
But then a couple of unforseen disasters occurred.
"We were both in really good jobs and had knocked a fair bit off those loans," Eaton-Luster said. "But about a year ago I was diagnosed with severe anxiety, and I found I could no longer cope with that role. I had to leave."
In June Sherratt badly injured his back while at work. Although his main job is driving trucks he had also been digging trenches and had displaced some of the discs and torn a muscle - ailments that kept him out of work and on ACC for the next six months.
Although they are both now back at work, the income hiatus was all it took for the interest to grow on their debts, and submerge them deeper than ever.
Faced with the crippling commitments, the desperate pair have resorted to humour as an interim measure.
The cheeky TradeMe listing will be followed by many bona fide ones, as they attempt to sell as much of their possessions - including the car - as they can to reduce the mountain.
"You will be bidding on a better future for a young couple, who have made some silly financial decisions thus far in life," the listing states. "You will be helping to get them out of crippling debt ... If you win the auction the top bid will be used to pay towards the debt we currently have and we will send you a picture of us saying thanks."
"We both work full-time and still can't seem to make a dent in this. We are also behind on our mobile phone payments by two months totaling over $300. Our power bill is over $600 with nearly $400 overdue, this is being paid at $50 a week. Our internet is overdue by $200, also at $50 a week, and we are paying Sky at $50 per week.
"We barely have enough left over each week to spend $100 on food, and yes we are managing to put money on each of our debts above, but barely the minimum."
As of last night, the listing had attracted no bids.