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Would you pay this back?

 9:13 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

In another thread there's some discussion of giving back overpayment from a cashier. I expect most of us would give that back if we noticed.

Here's a more intriguing question. If you were terminated or let go from a job and received an overpayment in your severence package, would you return any overpayment? If asked? If not asked?

My answer (despite that I will always give back an overpayment if I've bought something) is that no I would not if not asked, and only if I had to and against much resistance if asked.

I'm not even sure why. I just think if I was working for a reasonably large employer and their last action to me was to screw up, I'd tell them sorry, I've already invested their overpayment in coke and ho okers.



 9:44 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

A lot would depend on local law. If I was aware of the overpayment I would keep quiet and put it on deposit at the best interest rate I could find. After a couple of years it might go towards my next car.


 9:52 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

OMG this will certainly show my age.

I read your post and looked at the last line and wondered why you spelled ho ho's incorrectly (you know those cheap chocolate covered cakes with white air filling) and why you were eating them with with coke-cola instead of milk.

But, to answer you question, no I wouldn't give it back even if they asked and threatened. Agreed that if that was their last action with me perhaps it was the underlying reason I was let go - they couldn't afford me anymore because their accounting was so very bad.

Yes, I do see why it was spelled that way, but on first read ....


 10:04 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

It would depend on the status of the relationship upon being let go. If I was still on good terms, I would probably give the money back, if asked. If not asked, I doubt I would bring it up.

If on bad terms, I think it would depend on how they asked (if they don't ask, I certainly wouldn't volunteer), but I would probably fight it.

However, one thing to remember is that even if they screwed up, it's going to look bad to a future potential employer that you technically owe a past employer money.


 10:23 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I assume this thread is in response to a well known company that recently made over payments on their severance packages and are indeed asking for the overpayment to be returned.

I believe that at some point the US economy will recover. I'm also pretty confident that this large company will survive and at some point will be in hiring mode. I think I'd return the money and hope for a call back soon. In the mean time "Ho Ho's and a Coke" would not be in my budget.


 10:31 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd play dumb. It's easy for me to do. If nobody said anything I'd keep the money.

If they asked for it back I'd give it to them, although I'd probably take my time doing it just on general principals.


 11:11 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

It would depend on the amount. If they owed me a 5k severance and wrote me a check for 6, I'd keep it. But if they accidentally multiplied by 10, that might very well become a legal issue.

Edit: especially today, I think a laid-off person needs the money more than the company.

[edited by: mcavic at 11:30 pm (utc) on Feb. 23, 2009]


 11:17 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I assume this thread is in response to a well known company that recently made over payments on their severance packages and are indeed asking for the overpayment to be returned.

Well, I can't use names here, but the company starts with 'M' and sounds like 'icrosoft'.


 1:51 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would. I value good contacts/open doors more than a few bucks (I know it can be 1,000s or even 10,000s).

That being said I don't have a mortgage or kids to worry about.


 5:41 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Legally, this is not your money. It is similar to when a bank accidentally deposits money that is not yours in your account. It is not yours and they can legally get it back.

So why try to be deceptive? They are most likely going to find out eventually and ask you for it. If you refuse, you'll be hit with a lawsuit. Just give it back from the beginning and save yourself the hassle.


 8:02 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

In this case - unemployed, tanked economy, probably fired as a result of bad decisions by people who are high enough to still have their jobs - I would sit on the money.

If it came up and they wanted it back, I most likely would not make too much trouble about it. They would be due the money, could prove it, and who needs the fight. Maybe cut a deal. I don't have it (your firing me was kind of a problem), but can work something out and cut a payment deal where I could hold as much as possible as long as possible.

If it didn't come up I would keep it. The time before spending would depend upon the amount.

I know too many good people who have lost their jobs for no good reason, and too many other people that inexplicably are able to keep theirs, that it would be tough to just give it back.

If a bank dropped extra cash in one of my accounts I would get it cleaned up right away. Banks make tons of errors - tons. Is there a business that makes more mistakes? They will eventually find it and track it down. They have vast experience. Clean it up.


 12:33 pm on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

depend on the status of the relationship upon being let go -That I think hits the nail on the head.

There are firms where id call up and tell them, others, id just laugh in their face.


 5:41 pm on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Regardless of the economy, the circumstances of the severance, or other factors, the assumption given in the original post is that this is money the employer did not intend to give me. Therefore, it is not my money to keep. My moral obligation is to let them know about it, and they can decide whether or not I get to keep the extra.


 4:55 pm on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

My moral obligation is to let them know about it - There in lies teh crux of teh problem, ive worked for firms that treat you like dirt knowing theres noting you can do about. Sorry but I wouldnt help them one bit.


 5:50 am on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

In the other thread I would do the right thing. In this case though I would just sit on it.

The exact thing happened with my business partner. We both got a chuckle out of it, because sloppy paperwork/execution was part of the company we both worked at, and this was just icing on the cake.


 3:08 am on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

In the other thread I would do the right thing. In this case though I would just sit on it.

Same with me.

For all those people saying "it's not your money you must return it", I'm guessing you've never been made redundant. It's a lot different when you're there.

When some middle manager who's the son of someone high up the chain, and who does no work of his own at all, and takes credit for the work of others, and who is objectively speaking quite unintelligent and awkward with other people, and who is resented by pretty much the entire workforce, and whose only skill is being able to format a chart nicely in excel... when he puts your name on the "to go" list, well, you don't exactly feel like playing nice. Hypothetically speaking, of course.


 3:42 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Giving it back goes without saying. I'd also seriously consider a slight over(re)payment - 'as a mistake'. Sit back and see how fast they send their overpayment back.

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